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Tents - The Beginning of Architecture

Tom Dyckhoff looks at the history of the tent and asks if it could be the answer to an overcrowded world faced with a housing crisis and dwindling natural resources.

All architecture begins with the tent. Tents are what humans lived in before we put down roots and began our love affair with bricks and mortar.

And no-one is more obsessed with solid, heavy, permanent buildings than the British. To us, the tent is something flimsy and temporary that we will only endure bedding down in on rare occasions.

But has civilisation - and architects in particular - unfairly overlooked the brilliant, efficient design of the tent? In an overcrowded world faced with a housing crisis and dwindling natural resources, could the tent be the answer? Tom Dyckhoff thinks it could well be.

As festival season begins, Tom's freewheeling journey into the secret life of the tent takes him back to the origins of human habitat: the yurts and tipis of our nomadic past, to the German mecca of high-tech, cutting-edge tensile architecture and to the spiritual home of the modern peace camp where the tent became a symbol of political resistance.

Along the way he discovers that our acceptance of the tent and our openness to alternatives to traditional stone and brick buildings is all a state of mind. The homes of the future could be fabric for all of us.

30 minutes


Role Contributor
Presenter Tom Dyckhoff
Director Andy Dunn
Series Editor Janet Lee


  • Mon 23 Jun 2014 22:00
  • Mon 23 Jun 2014 23:50
  • Thu 24 Jul 2014 08:45

BBC Arts

BBC Arts

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