October Book Club Pick
Perhaps not your typical “architecture” book, Alain de Botton’s The Architecture of Happiness is nonetheless a thought-provoking look at the significant role architecture can play in an individual’s life.
The premise is that the architecture that surrounds us contributes to our overall happiness (or, conversely, unhappiness) and well-being, and can affect how we behave and live our lives.
The author paints a verbal picture of a house as a living, breathing entity…a vital part of its occupants’ lives via its role as a shelter, refuge, and place of social interaction. Throughout the book, he drives home the point that architecture communicates with us…indeed, speaks to us…as it triggers memories, inspires and restores, emotionally moves us, and (if successful) stands “as an eloquent reminder of our full potential.”
The reader is taken on a journey through historical periods and architectural styles as the essential elements for the creation of “beautiful” buildings are explored.
Certainly, de Botton encourages his audience to ponder, and perhaps reconsider, what makes a good or beautiful building.
In the end, he explains simply but profoundly that it is the “rare architects” who are able to create these “beautiful” spaces which “satisfy needs we never consciously knew we even had.”
The author clearly endeavors to dig deeper into the psychology of architecture in the hope of changing “the way we think about our homes, our streets, and ourselves.”
For those who embark on this journey with an open mind, The Architecture of Happiness may just provide an intriguing and fascinating way of looking at architecture and the impact it has on those it touches.
Pick up a copy and enjoy! And be sure to share your thoughts on our Facebook page.
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