nomad architectures    At the start of the 21st century, the nomadism issue has arisen in the traditional countries of the west, –it hasn’t arrived to countries which have recently started their own capitalist development–. The sedentary model is under question and various articles and studies have addressed the issue of nomadism. Different articles and studies about nomadism are about to be published. Vilem Flusser mentioned nomadism as a way to deal with the new century back in 1990. In an article called Zelt (“tent”), Flusser mentions the concept of nomadism, which we return to now, in an article which the media have made available throughout the developed world. And he's not wrong, above all bearing in mind the distances most of us travel everyday to go to work or to enjoy ourselves. Today’s nomadism, or “nomadology”, has direct links with reflections, discussions and actions related to the ecology and the environment.

Living in nature vs. dominating nature

In different developed civilisations, power has been demonstrated by large scale architectural building since ancient times. Whether political or religious, architecture has always been used to give institutions substance. This large- scale architectural construction has a direct link with the development of sedentary society. Adolf Loos uses the theory of horizontal and vertical diagrams to explain the relationship between architecture and nomadism: horizontalness is connected with nature and femininity; verticality, traditionally, is connected with artificiality and power. Landscapes always tend towards horizontality and mankind's buildings are always vertical. Itinerant societies have always shown more respect for and knowledge about the environment with their architecture. Bedouin tents, Tuareg tents, Tibetan tents, Mongolian yurts, north American Indian tents ... were all developed to fit into their environment and are highly specialised.

The basis of nomadic architecture: the tent

There are many types of nomadic architecture today. Technological development and western society have led to an examination of this itinerant architecture because of leisure activities in the last century. Until the 19th century, however, there were no more than two types of itinerant architecture. Godfrey Rhodes studied the history and development of itinerant buildings in his book “Tents and Tent Life from the Earliest Ages to the "Present Time” (1858). Architecture used for living in, the tent, was his main subject of study. But he also makes special mention of another type of itinerant architecture: Military itinerant architecture. It’s easy to see the importance of wars in the development of this type of itinerant architecture: siege towers, catapults, the mechanical building general Vitruvius invented for getting into palaces, the “turtle” ... the rapid mobility of armies from one place to another was often the main reason for winning or losing a war.

However, the tent is the root and base of itinerant architecture. And it’s a type of architecture that has changed little with time. It owes its success to its simplicity. Mobility and space optimisation are the tent's main distinguishing features. Sedentary construction ties humans to a piece of land whereas they choose a piece of land for itinerary construction. Sedentary societies see tents as over mobile, unsafe buildings and, with this way of thinking built up over years, see consequences even beyond that: itinerary people who live in tents are not to be trusted. They are opposed to the itinerary system. You only have to look at the Gypsys’ story to see this. There are two options: adapt to the sedentary way of life or become an outcast. The same thing is true for itinerary architecture. Nowadays there is almost nowhere you can put up a tent. Places for putting tents up have been created –camping sites– in order to make itinerary architecture sedentary.