Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Longhouse

Excerpted from Wikipedia: "Longhouses were built by native peoples in various parts of North America, sometimes reaching over 100 meters long (330 ft) but generally around 5 to 7 meters wide (16-23 ft). The construction method was also different: the dominant theory is that walls were made of sharpened and fire-hardened poles (up to 1,000 saplings for a 50 meter house) driven into the ground with their tops bent over and tied to the poles of the opposite wall. Strips of bark were then woven horizontally through the lines of poles to form more or less weatherproof walls with doors usually in one end of the house, although doors also were built into sides of especially long longhouses. "The Iroquois who lived in New York and Ontario built and lived in longhouses. Longer than they were wide, these longhouses had openings at both ends that served as doors and were covered with animal skins during the winter to keep out the cold. On average a typical longhouse was about 80 feet long by 18 feet wide by 18 feet high (24 x 5.5 x 5.5 m) and was meant to house up to twenty or more families. Poles were set in the ground and supported by horizontal poles along the walls. The roof is made by bending a series of poles, resulting in an arc-shaped roof. The frame is covered by bark that is sewn in place and layered as shingles, and reinforced by light poles." With a few slight differences, this has served as the inspiration for our first home. No bark on the exterior, no 20 family minimum occupancy, you get the idea. We think we've found a suitable piece of the Maine wilderness to construct our longhouse, and we've been speaking with a builder in Bar Harbor to define the finances involved. We're excited by the promise of building and our design has been driven by economy which has historically produced some great buildings, refer to almost any of FLW's Usonian houses. We have some interesting ideas that this house will be exploring and it's our hope to use the blog to document our progress and share those ideas as they develop into our new home.

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