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Architecture Enables Lifestyle

Most people probably think that architecture is partly civil engineering and partly artistic design and beauty. How important is the subject of beauty to architecture? For the moment let's interpret 'beauty' the way that most would: a combination of shapes, colors, and textures that are somehow pleasing to the eye.

Shapes?  A rectangle is a rectangle, an arch is an arch. There are only so many building materials and most of them are flat, so you can build with only so many shapes. Even when you see a structure as radical as a geodesic dome, you have to eventually say, "So, I now know what an equilateral triangle is."

Colors? How many colors can a building have?  White, earth tones, metallic grey, rust. Anything else would look ridiculous or age in an unseemly way.

Texture? Rough or smooth.

Of course, reductionism like this is unfair. Couldn't we also say, "How many notes are in the musical scale? So when you've heard a few minutes of any music, you…

What is Architecture?

Perhaps a recent commenter was correct in thinking I wouldn't learn much about being an architect just from re-reading Ayn Rand's "The Fountainhead."  But at least the book has me thinking in terms of architecture, a different perspective for me. But let's resist rushing off to build philosophical skyscrapers...


1. My host in Patagonia took me on a walk to the ruins of a stucco hunting-cabin. It was used as recently as 15 years ago, but now Mother Nature is rapidly reclaiming it. The main room was about 50% bigger than my converted cargo trailer.


Spartan? Not compared to the Outdoors where the hunters spent much of their day. 

Beautiful? Not really. The appliances and materials are not significantly different than modern ones. There are no exotic shapes, structures, or colors.

So then why did I feel a small lump in my throat when inspecting this little cabin and the neglected cemetery outside it?
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2. Down the street from me there is a h…