the architecture of happiness – alain de botton

“the man’s sadness points us to a subsidiary claim. it is perhaps when our lives are at their most problematic that we are likely to be most receptive to beautiful things.” (p.150)

alain de botton has a way with words and technicality and weaving them together such that they provide a vague yet informative essay on the aspects of architecture – from its (architecture’s) significance, style, ‘language’, ideals, virtues, and beyond, he explores the various definitions of beauty and how best man and buildings have a relationship that is mutually beneficial. to what end should practicality be pursued over beauty, or vice versa? what forms our perception of beauty? these are questions that he explores in this book, not with answers but perspectives.

what stood out to me the most was when he mentioned that perhaps our desire, be it an inclination towards grand designs or minimalist appearances, is associated with what we feel is lacking in our lives. the desire for stability may be superimposed onto my personal preference towards solid and dark colours simply because stability may be lacking in my life.

he also references others’ works (whose essays i’ve been trying to procure to no avail) such as schiller and this of course gives an even more holistic and sound analysis on this introduction to architecture – non-esoteric and greatly insightful, worth a read.

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