Longhouse 2.5

Longhouse 2.5 came about during a long conversation with Ron Williamson from ASI.  Ron had been very generous with his time to discuss some of the issues of longhouse archaeology, the theories and methodologies for data acquisition as well as some of the personal experiences in building longhouse reconstructions.  As is his supportive nature, Ron provided me with a set of architectural drafts he had commissioned a few years back.  It had been a modern architectural interpretation of how a longhouse might have been built using modern tools but with a mix of current and traditional building materials.

Plan 1sm

The drawing represented an excellent interpretation of the archaeological data from a structural perspective.  It also blended at that time, more simplistic building code requirements which has now become the bane of current attempted longhouse reconstruction projects (see Crawford Lake Longhouse Village – personal communication with Conservation Halton Staff).

Plan 2sm

I wanted to get an understanding of 3D building techniques from an architecturally trained specialist.  Jamie Kwan, a recent Architecture graduate from Ryerson University and a current Master in Digital Media student agreed to take on the challenge. Using the plans provided, Jamie reinterpreted the material within Rhino3D, a robust but very simple to use modeling package.


As in real-life construction, the 3D material also has a nature of its own. Jamie encountered some of the same questions we had been chewing over since starting with Longhouse 1.0.  Placement of the inner and outer support posts, spacing, bench attachments and smoke hole positioning to name a few.


The difficulty in modeling the curvature in the roof has also been discussed in length by Wright, Kapches and Snow, which is also apparent in how we interpret in 3D virtual space as well. Immediately when the 2D plans were visualized in 3D, questions began popping up with regards to how our final longhouse project would be interpreted.


However, the low resolution shaded rendering does allow the viewer to experience the potential expansiveness of this modern interpretation of a traditional longhouse.  One can also start to envision populating the space with potential cultural material, textures, surfaces, atmospherics and light.

The interpretation of an “h” framing methodology also has given rise to look for support posts in the archaeological record, immediately along the outer walls when excavating longhouses and/or reviewing existing data sets.  Overall, Jamie and Ron’s original plans provided a unique opportunity to start to tackle longhouses construction methodologies from an modern architectural design perspective.

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