- Audio CD: 3 Seiten
- Verlag: Penguin Audio; Auflage: Unabridged (20. April 2006)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 0141806753
- ISBN-13: 978-0141806754
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 14,4 x 2,4 x 12,5 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 4 Kundenrezensionen
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 2.401.900 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
Architecture of Happiness (Englisch) Audio-CD – Audiobook, Ungekürzte Ausgabe
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Clever, provocative and fresh as a daisy (Literary Review)
Full of splendid ideas, often happily and beautifully expressed . . . an engaging and intelligent book (Independent)
Genuinely thought-provoking (Time Out) -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Taschenbuch.
In his extraordinary new book, Alain de Botton considers the hopes and fears we have for our homes at a new level of depth and insight, considering such questions as: why do people disagree about taste? can beautiful surroundings make us good? not to mention: what makes a window frame attractive? Rooted in the idea that architecture has the power to influence how we feel and that we are different people in different buildings, "The Beauty of Houses" suggests how we might learn to build better, more attractive dwellings, in which we would stand a higher chance of happiness.Alle Produktbeschreibungen
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Interestingly enough what we search for in a work of architecture is not so far from what we search for in a friend because the objects we describe as beautiful art versions of the people we love. The buildings we admire are those which extol values we think are worthwhile: through their materials, shapes and colours they express qualities such as friendliness, kindness, subtlety, strength and intelligence. As Stendhal wrote, "Beauty is the promise of happiness."
We are vulnerable to what the spaces we inhabit are saying. In a drab hotel room our optimism and sense of purpose are liable to drain away. We look to our buildings to hold us, like a kind of psychological mould, to a helpful vision of ourselves. We need a home in the psychological sense as much as we need a home in the physical sense: to compensate for vulnerability, we need a refuge.Lesen Sie weiter... ›
Alain de Botton hat einen sehr eigenen Humor: Unter einem Foto mit Göring beim französischen Botschafter "The moral ineffectiveness of a beautiful home". Im Hintergrund Lucas Cranach.
Noch ein Zitat: "The noblest of architecture can sometimes do less for us than a siesta or an aspirin"
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In contrast to "The Art of Travel" and "The Consolations of Philosophy", Botton's new book does not rely on quotations from ancient and modern philosphers and theorists to make its points. Quotations are few, but apt. In compensation, though, I feel Botton is exposing the reader more directly to his own thoughts, observations, and assessments. He is less melancholic than in his earlier works; also, less clever and cute. He's as interesting as ever; just more authentic, exposed, and confident in his own voice. As I was reading I found that the sentences I wanted to underline were mostly Botton's own, not those of someone he was quoting. One of these should give you a good idea of where this book will take you: "We arrange around us material forms which communicate to us what we need--but are at constant risk of forgetting we need--within. We turn to wallpaper, benches, paintings and streets to staunch the disappearance of our true selves." (p. 107)
It's hard to remain a sleepwalker after reading one of Alain de Botton's books. An they always bear re-reading. (A sticker on the cover of the book identifies "The Architecture of Happiness" as the inspiration of the TV series "The Perfect Home." I hope it's a show that gets picked up in the US or comes out on DVD.)
This is what is happening to me, here at Starbucks, having just finished reading Alain de Botton's The Architecture of Happiness.
Oh, such an amazing book.
Recently, I met a group of friends at [no surpirise] a Starbucks and because I arrived early, I brought my book in and read for a while. Soon they showed up and I set the book aside. My pal picked it up and read the title, flipped through it a bit, and promptly looked at me as though I had three heads, and all of them were Martian!
"What the hell are you reading this for?" he asked.
"I am totally immersed in the topic," I said. And went on to explain....
It's not about architecture, as in, how to build things. It's about the appreciation of the art that surrounds the process of all creative effort, architecture included.
The author discusses the development of so many things, from teacups to chairs to vending machines. Windows, bridges, water faucets, theatres, entire plans of cities, tables, factories, empty fields... the way we think [or don't think] about all of these things. Of course, buildings, from homes to skyscrapers, being perhaps the most prominent aesthetic consideration in our day-to-day field of vision, these get the most attention.
Why do we build as we do?
What is the history, the genesis and evolution of what we have now come to consider as architectural norms?
Architecturally speaking, in what ways have we progressed? In what ways have we regressed? Or, [most intererestingly] have we done both things?
Having defended myself thus, I looked back at my friend as though he had three heads, all of them very architecturally interesting!
I cannot help it. I must offer the following excerpt. Here, de Botton was discussing the topic of beauty in strength, or the "elegance" with which so many of our magnificent structures and machines are constructed...
"It follows from this that the impression of beauty we derive from an architectural work may be proportionally related to the intensity of the forces against which it is pitted. The emotional power of a bridge over a swollen river, for example, is concentrated at the point where the piers meet but resist the waters which rise threateningly around them. We shudder to think of sinking our own feet into such turbulent depths and venerate the bridge's reinforced concrete for the sanguine way it deflects the currents which tyrannise it. Likewise, the heavy stone walls of a lighthouse acquire the character of a forbearing and kindly giant during a spiteful gale which does its best to pant them down, just as in a plane passing through an electrical storm, we can feel something approaching love for the aeronautical engineers who, in quiet offices in Bristol or Toulouse, designed dark grey aluminum wings that could flex through tempests with all the grace of a swan's feathered ones. We feel as safe as we did when we were children being driven home in the early hours by our parents, lying curled up on the backseat under a blanket in our pyjamas, sensing the darkness and cold of the night through the window against which we rested our cheek. There is beauty in that which is stronger than we are." [p.205]
Every page of this book is magnificent like that.
Throughout, the author is critical of the non-critical acceptance of architectural norms. Especially toward the latter sections of the book he continues to remind the reader of the importance of being wary of unquestioningly adopting societal dictates, regarding architecture. He cautions [and I wildly paraphrase] that in order to appreciate architecture as we ought, we need to cultivate and maintain a similar ability to appreciate the beauty of an empty field. "We owe it to the fields," he says, "that our houses will not be inferiors of the virgin land they have replaced. We owe it to the worms and the trees that the buildings we cover them with will stand as promises of the highest and most intelligent kinds of happiness." [p.267].
Because our own culture will tend to dictate the aesthetic style we should adhere to, we ought to be diligent in expanding our horizons beyond that which we have always seen, and always known. We should beware the veneration of the regular. [? My summation].
So much of our sense of artistic appreciation is either innate or injected into our being as a result of our cultural conditioning. But there is this other thing to consider..... that it is possible to train ourselves "to appreciate a beauty that we were not born seeing. And, in the process, we will puncture the simplistic notion, heavily promoted by purveyors of plastic mansions, that what a person currently finds beautiful should be taken as the limit of all that he or she can ever love." [p.261]
To train ourselves to appreciate beauty.
Reading this book is, in itself, a great step in the direction of such an accomplisment.
Obviously we cannot live the modern life stuck out in a meadow, no matter how beautiful the scenery--but our author argues that is equally difficult (or pointless) to live in a community of soulless boxes, that architecture which fails to honor aesthetic ideals is a failure even if it keeps the weather out. Good architecture is the result not of adherence to classical ideals, budget measures or engineering goals but of a balance achieved among the almost infinite range of available architectural choices.
The author understands that in order to bring his reader to an appreciation for balance in architecture that he must provide a context--he has to demonstrate when things are out of balance. De Botton excels in providing just the right amount of history, pictorial evidence, contemporary example and discussion--in fact, his presentation is itself artfully balanced and perfectly suits his theme. There may be disagreements about the thesis; however, I think that the quality of the writing is worthy of any superlatives. Anyone familiar with Michael Palin's travelogues knows that they can't be missed regardless of the destination--Mr. Palin is unfailingly respectful of tradition but never misses an opportunity for a witty remark. So likewise are Mr. De Botton's books. Regardless of his chosen subject, he has earned my trust--I'll read whatever he chooses to print.
This book is - to my eyes - a pure little gem of often seemingly simple and evident (so often a sign of greatness), but at the same time deep insights into the ways in which architecture reflects (and influences) all of our grandest - and at the same time all of our smallest - aspirations, ideas, hopes, wishes and pleasures. Reading 'The Architecture of Happiness' is ever so often (like his 'The Art of Travel') an 'Aha-Erlebnis': to your feelings and experiences, when reading his book, Alain de Botton's insights and observations could only be so, as it were :-)
For example, one of the author's most important observations comes about a quarter on the way, at the end of the second chapter. Forming the basis for the rest of his discourse, is his central statement (in fact his main conclusion) that [NB: following is my own, probably not very accurate translation from the Dutch translation!] "every designed object will give an impression of the psychological and moral standards it upholds", going on to say that "designed objects and architecture essentially tell us about the way of life that would be most appropriate in their vicinity. They tell us about the moods they would like to encourage and strengthen in their users. Except that they keep us warm and that they offer us practical support, they also stimulate us to be a certain kind of people. They speak of certain ideas of happiness." In other words, de Botton stresses the 'values' that buildings propagate, and it is his belief that discussions about 'fitting' architecture should center more around this issue of values (the ways that architecture speaks to us, stimulating and encouraging us), than about any "strictly visual aspects", making the goals of our discussions about what is 'fitting' architecture much clearer.
To understand why we love a certain architectural style more than another, we need to understand the psychology behind taste (which is based on psychological needs), thus de Botton. He furthermore stresses the need for a deeper understanding of the many different 'esthetical virtues' (a direct consequence of those psychological needs), to help us in our discussions about 'fitting' architecture.
Anyhow, in this book the author displays his enormous gift of relating - in colorful, sometimes almost poetic, prose - all kinds of economical, political, social and artistic developments to architecture, connecting them - interlaced with delightful humorous observations here and there - with philosophical thoughts and associations about the ways architecture taps into our values and emotions (what do we 'feel' or 'need' when experiencing specific forms of architecture?), thereby opening up new and delightful insights into the deep relevance and connection of architecture to ALL of us ...
Well, all of this doesn't help any would-be buyer or reader much concerning the actual 'contents' of this book from 'chapter to chapter, paragraph to paragraph', but anyhow, that would only spoil all the fun for any future reader of this delightful book. I would like to say: please, do yourself a favour and buy this book from Alain de Botton, and let him take you on an interesting, wonderful journey, a sort of 'philosophically inspired architectural travelogue', from the comforts of your own home, and enjoy it when you also enjoyed, like I did, his 'The Art of Travel'. Anyhow, you will simply be delighted and surprised!