am 13. Januar 2008
Considering the significance of architecture, the author remarks that beautiful houses falter as guarantors of happiness and can also be accused of failing to improve the characters of those who live in them and proceeds by explaining why this is so. Karl Friedrich Schinkel for example stated that to turn something useful, practical, and functional into something beautiful is the architect's duty. Architecture should thus be the decoration of construction as distinguished from mere building. The architects of the Modernist movement, like all their predecessors, wanted their houses to speak and express emotions. Indeed buildings speak. They speak of democracy or aristocracy, openness or arrogance, welcome or threat, sympathy for the future or a hankering for the past.
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.
We may feel joy at the architectural perfection we see before us and at the same time melancholy at an awareness of how seldom we are sufficiently blessed to encounter anything of its kind. And sadness is conducive to receptivity: our downhearted moments provide architecture and art with their best openings because it is at such times that our hunger for their ideal qualities is at its height.
Such thoughts and many other are contained in this study of architecture and make for a valuable and interesting read.
am 11. Mai 2009
Über den Inhalt dieses Buches kann ich noch nicht viel sagen, aber die Bindung (Hardcover von Hamilton) ist furchtbar! Auch wenn man es vielleicht für eine gute Idee halten kann, ein Buch über Architektur mit Schwarzweißfotografien von niedrigem Kontrast zu illustrieren - es ist definitiv keine gute Idee, für dieses Buch übelriechendes Papier zu benutzen und es so zu binden, dass die Mitte der zweiseitigen Bilder nicht sichtbar ist und man keine Chance hat, das Buch so aufzuschlagen, dass die Seiten geöffnet bleiben. Ich werde nun doch mal einen Blick in die deutsche Version werfen, hoffentlich ist die besser.