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The Achitecture of Happiness is a dazzling and generously illustrated journey through the philosophy and psychology of architecture and the indelible connection between our identities and our locations. One of the great but often unmentioned causes of both happiness and misery is the quality of our environment: And yet a concern for architecture is too often described as frivolous, even self-indulgent.
Alain de Botton starts from the idea that where we are heavily influences who we can be, and argues that it is architecture’s task to stand as an eloquent reminder of our full potential. Leia mais Leia menos.
Minha caminhada para uma vida com mais significado. Detalhes do produto Capa comum: Reprint 8 de abril de Idioma: He lives in London. The Significance of Architecture 1.
A terraced house on a tree-lined street. Earlier today, the house rang with the arquitetua of children’s cries and adult voices, but since the last occupant took off with her satchel a few hours ago, it has been left to sample the morning by itself.
Within shafts of sunlight, platelets of dust move as if in obedience to the rhythms of a silent waltz. From the hallway, felicidad low murmur of alajn traffic can be detected aoain few blocks away. Occasionally, the letter-box opens with a rasp to admit a plaintive leaflet.
The house gives signs of enjoying the emptiness. It felicidafe rearranging relicidade after the night, clearing its pipes and cracking its joints. This dignified and seasoned creature, with its coppery veins and wooden feet nestled in a bed of clay, has endured much: A family of four shelters in it, joined by a colony of ants around the foundations and, in spring time, by broods of robins in the chimney stack.
It also lends a shoulder to a frail or just indolent sweet-pea which leans against the garden wall, indulging the peripatetic courtship of a circle of bees.
The house has grown into a knowledgeable witness. It has been party to early seductions, agquitetura has watched homework d written, it has observed swaddled babies freshly arrived from hospital, it has been surprised in the middle of the night by whispered conferences in the kitchen. It has experienced winter evenings when its windows were as cold as bags of frozen peas and midsummer dusks when its brick walls held the warmth of newly baked bread.
It has provided not only physical but also psychological sanctuary. It has been a guardian of identity. Over the years, its owners have returned from periods away and, on looking around them, remembered who they were. The flagstones on the ground floor speak of serenity and aged grace, while the regularity of the kitchen cabinets offers a model of unintimidating order and discipline. The dining table, with its waxy tablecloth printed with large buttercups, suggests a burst of playfulness which is thrown into relief by a sterner concrete wall nearby.
Along the stairs, small still-lives of eggs and lemons draw attention to the intricacy and beauty of everyday things.
On a ledge beneath a window, a glass jar of cornflowers helps to resist the pull towards dejection. On the upper floor, a narrow empty room allows space for restorative thoughts to hatch, its skylight giving out onto impatient clouds migrating rapidly over cranes and chimney pots.
Although this house may atquitetura solutions to a great many of its ds ills, its rooms nevertheless give evidence of a happiness to which architecture has made its distinctive contribution. Yet a concern for architecture has never been free from a degree of suspicion. Doubts have been raised about the subject’s seriousness, its moral worth and its cost.
A thought-provoking number of the world’s most intelligent people have disdained any interest in decoration and design, equating contentment with discarnate and invisible matters instead. The Ancient Greek Stoic philosopher Epictetus is said to have demanded arquiteturz a heart-broken friend whose house had burnt to the ground, ‘If you really understand what governs the universe, how can you yearn for bits of stone and pretty rock?
How space and architecture influence happiness
Legend recounts that after hearing the voice of God, the Christian hermit Alexandra sold her house, shut herself in a tomb and never looked at the outside world again, while felicdade fellow hermit Paul of Scete slept on a blanket on the floor of a windowless mud hut and recited prayers every day, suffering only when he heard felixidade another holy man who had managed and slept in a coffin.
Such austerity has been a historical constant. In the spring of the Cistercian monk St Bernard of Qrquitetura travelled all the way around Lake Geneva without noticing it was even there. Likewise, after four years in his monastery, St Bernard could not report whether the dining area had a vaulted ceiling it does or how many windows there were in the sanctuary of his church three.
Nevertheless, such determined efforts to scorn visual experience have always been matched by equally persistent attempts to mould the material world to graceful ends. People have strained their backs carving flowers into their roof beams and their eyesight embroidering animals dr their tablecloths.
They have given up weekends to hide unsightly cables behind ledges. They have thought carefully about appropriate kitchen work-surfaces. They have imagined living in unattainably expensive houses pictured in magazines and then felt sad, as one does on passing an attractive stranger in a crowded street.
We seem divided between an urge to override our senses and numb ourselves to our settings and a contradictory impulse to acknowledge the extent to which our identities are indelibly connected to, and will shift along with, our locations.
An ugly room can coagulate any loose suspicions as to the incompleteness of life, while a sun-lit one set with honey-coloured limestone tiles can lend support to whatever is most hopeful within us. Belief in the significance of architecture is premised on the notion that we are, for better or for worse, different people in different places – and on the conviction that it is architecture’s task to render vivid to us who we might ideally be.
We are sometimes eager to celebrate the influence of our surroundings. In the living room of a house in the Czech Republic, we see an example of how walls, chairs and floors can combine to create an atmosphere in which the best sides of us are offered the opportunity to flourish. We accept with gratitude the power that a single room can possess. But sensitivity to architecture also has its more problematic aspects. If one room can alter how we feel, if our happiness can hang on the colour of the walls or the shape of a door, what will happen to us in most of the places we are forced to look at and inhabit?
What will we experience in a house with prison-like windows, stained carpet tiles and plastic curtains? It is to prevent the possibility of permanent anguish that we can be led to shut our eyes to most of what is around us, for we are never far from damp stains and cracked ceilings, shattered cities and rusting dockyards.
We can’t remain sensitive indefinitely to environments which we don’t have the means to alter for the good – and end up as conscious as we can afford to be. Echoing the attitude of Stoic arquiteturx or St Eflicidade around Lake Geneva, we may find ourselves arguing that, ultimately, it doesn’t much matter what buildings look like, what is on the ceiling or how the wall is treated – professions of detachment that stem not so much from an insensitivity to beauty as from a desire to deflect the sadness we would face if we left felicdiade open to all of beauty’s many absences.
There is no shortage of reasons to be suspicious of the ambition to create great architecture. Buildings rarely make palpable the efforts that their construction demands. They are coyly silent about the bankruptcies, the delays, the fear and the dust that they impose. A nonchalant appearance is a frequent alaib of their charm.
It is only when we try our own hand at construction that we are initiated into the torments associated with persuading materials and other humans to cooperate with our designs, with ensuring that two pieces of glass will be joined in a neat line, that a lamp will hang symmetrically over the stairs, that a boiler will light botfon when it should or that concrete pillars will marry a roof without complaint.
Even when we have attained our goals, arqkitetura buildings have a grievous tendency to fall apart again with precipitate speed. It can be hard to walk into a freshly decorated house without feeling preemptively sad at the decay impatiently waiting to begin: The ruins of the Ancient World offer a mocking lesson for anyone waiting for builders to finish their work.
How proud the householders of Pompeii must have been. It was an exquisite summer’s day; the flowers were in bloom arquitegura brightly coloured butterflies danced above the meadows.
A arquitetura da felicidade — Reader Q&A
The psychoanalyst was glad to be outdoors it had been raining all weekbut his companion walked with his head bowed, his eyes fixed on the ground, and remained taciturn throughout the excursion. It wasn’t that Rilke was oblivious to the beauty around him; he simply could not overlook how impermanent everything was. In Freud’s words, he was unable to forget ‘that all this beauty was fated to extinction, that it would vanish when winter came, like all human beauty and all the beauty that men have created or may create’.
Freud was unsympathetic; for him, the capacity to love anything attractive, however fragile it might be, was a hallmark of psychological health. But Rilke’s stance, though inconvenient, helpfully emphasises how it feicidade be those most in thrall to beauty who will be especially aware of, and saddened by, its ephemeral character. Such melancholic enthusiasts will see the moth hole beneath the curtain swatch and the ruin beneath the plan. They may at the last moment cancel an appointment with an estate agent, having realised that the house under offer, as well as the city and even civilisation itself, will soon enough be reduced to fragments of shattered brick over which cockroaches will triumphantly crawl.
They may prefer to rent a room or live in a barrel out of a reluctance to contemplate the slow disintegration of the objects of their love. At its apex, a passion for architecture may turn us into aesthetes, eccentric figures who must watch over their houses with the vigilance of museum guards, patrolling their rooms in search of stains, a damp cloth or sponge in hand.
Aesthetes will have no choice but to forgo the company of small children and, during dinner with friends, will have to ignore the conversation in order to focus on whether someone might lean back and inadvertently leave a head-shaped imprint on the wall. It would be pleasant to refuse in a muscular spirit to lend felicidae blemishes genuine significance. However, aesthetes force us to consider whether happiness may not sometimes turn on the presence or absence of a fingerprint, whether in certain situations beauty and ugliness bottonn not lie only a few millimetres apart, whether a single mark might not wreck a wall or an errant brush stroke undo a landscape painting.
We should thank these sensitive spirits for pointing us with theatrical honesty towards the possibility of a genuine antithesis between competing values: How wise were the ancient philosophers in suggesting that we exclude from our vision of contentment anything that might one day be covered by lava or blow down in a hurricane, succumb to a chocolate smear or absorb a wine stain.
Architecture is perplexing, too, in how inconsistent is its capacity to generate the happiness on which arquitetuta claim to our attention is founded. While alin attractive building may on occasion flatter an ascending mood, there will be times when the most congenial of locations will be unable to dislodge our sadness or misanthropy.
We can feel anxious and envious even though the floor we’re standing on has been imported from a remote quarry, and finely sculpted window frames have been painted a soothing grey. Our inner metronome can be unimpressed bothon the efforts of workmen to create a fountain or nurture a symmetrical line of oak trees. We can fall into a petty argument which ends in threats of divorce in a building by Geoffrey Bawa or Louis Kahn. Houses can invite us to join them in a mood which we find ourselves incapable of summoning.
The noblest architecture can sometimes do less for us than a siesta or an aspirin. Those who have made architectural beauty their life’s work know only too well how futile their efforts can prove. After an exhaustive study of the buildings of Venice, in a moment of depressive lucidity, John Ruskin acknowledged that few Venetians in fact seemed elevated by their city, perhaps the most beautiful urban tapestry in the world.
How hard it is to make a case for the cost of tearing down and rebuilding a mean but serviceable street.
felicidzde How awkward to have to defend, in the face of more tangible needs, the benefits of realigning a crooked lamppost or replacing an ill-matched window frame. Beautiful architecture has none of the unambiguous advantages of a vaccine or a bowl of rice. Its construction will hence never be raised to a dominant political priority, for even if the whole of the man-made world could, through relentless effort and sacrifice, be modelled to rival Alaun Mark’s Square, even if we could spend the rest of our lives in the Villa Rotonda or the Glass House, we would still often be in a bad mood.
Not only do beautiful houses falter as guarantors of happiness, they can also be accused arquitetkra failing to improve the characters of those who live in them.
It seems reasonable to suppose that people will possess some of the qualities of the buildings they are drawn to: From the Hardcover edition. O Curso do Amor. Compartilhe seus pensamentos com outros clientes.