Roots of Architecture

Building Traditions in Non-European Cultures

Architecture is a product of the interaction between form, function, construction and symbolism. The relationships between the various elements are independent of the size or complexity of a construction project: they are as essential for simple structures as they are for complex ones. At the same time, these basic principles, which are of fundamental importance to any architect, are not always clearly recognizable in the complex construction projects of more advanced stages of architectural development. This is where an exploration of the root forms of architecture – which fulfil the fundamental demands of construction in the most basic way – opens up new perspectives for a better and more immediate understanding of the relationship between form, construction, function and symbolism. This book considers the development of the basic building types and construction methods of the indigenous architectural traditions of Asia, Africa, America and Oceania within their respective technological and socio-cultural environments, to illustrate the essential principles of building from a holistic perspective. About the author: Ao. Univ. Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr. techn. Erich Lehner gained his PhD in European history of architecture in 1985, and has since 1996 held a venia docendi (higher lecturing qualification) in Non- European Architecture. A member of staff of the Institute of History of Art, Building Archaeology and Restoration at the Vienna University of Technology, his research and teaching activities focus on the indigenous architecture of Asia, America, Africa, and Oceania. The evolution of elementary forms of architecture, contextualized within their technological and socio-cultural environment, is one of the main subjects of his research.