Sunday, July 9, 2017

Book Review #22 -The Architecture of Happiness by Alain de Bolton

Florence, Italy
Its been a while, a lot has happened since my last post (it will be almost a year, I think..). Currently, I'm in Florence, Italy getting my further study for my bachelor course back in the Philippines. Also this is the reason why I didn't post much last year, because I was to busy preparing for this trip that it took all my energy and emotions just to be able to make this work and be here in Italy and living my dream to be able to experience even just once in my life to study abroad. Now that I'm here it felt so surreal.

Anyway back to my come back book review after a year! A little personal story about this book, This is actually the only physical book that I was able to bring from the Philippines. Because I needed to bring other things needed for my 1 year stay here in Italy, that is why there weren't any pace left for my other books *emotional* but anyway its a good thing also for me. So that I can discover more books here in Italy's bookstores and be able to be forced to read and learn Italian books and language.

Every building/structure has its own story to be told...
Beauty is our own interpretation...

Book: The Architecture of Happiness
Author: Alain de Bolton
Publisher:Vintage International, New York
Date Published: 2006
Reading Chair Rating: 4 out of 5

Plot/ Summary:
The book tells about the philosophy and psychology behind architecture. In which our identities and locations have a profound inedible connection to it.

Alain de Bolton mention that one of the great but often mentioned causes of both happiness and misery is the quality of our environment; seemingly how the kinds of walls, chairs, buildings, and streets that surrounds us. Yet the usual concern of architecture is often described as frivolous, and even self-indulgent. The author starts from the idea that where we are heavily influenced as to who we can be, and argues that it is architecture’s task to stand as an eloquent reminder of our full potential.

In short, Alain de Bolton wanted to discuss how different people and opinion about architecture from person to person and how they perceive a beauty in architecture.

"To call a work of architecture or design beautiful is to recognize it as a rendition of values critical to our flourishing, a transubstantiation of our individual ideal in a material medium." (9 end, p.100)

Blogger Review:
When I started reading the book at first, it was quite a slow pace for me. It was as if I didn't grasped the idea of what the author wanted to say at first. Maybe because this is a first book for me in a way more philosophical in a sense.

But after reaching the 2nd and 3rd chapter, I cannot stop myself from reading it. The reason maybe the succeeding chapters are more about architecture in a sense that I'm more familiar with and in addition to it some bits of stories of known architects, engineers and designers in the field. How they struggle and succeed in interpreting their client's perception of beauty in architecture.

Some known personalities and their projects discussed in the book are Le Corbusier for Villa Savoye and for his book "Towards a New Architecture" (1923); Marcel Bruer for B3 Chair, Andrea Palladio for Villa Rotonda, Louis Khan and many more.The more interesting part about it is that the stories that the author had written in the book about those personalities are the not known stories about them like for example how the owner of Villa Savoye deemed their house uninhabitable for their taste and that they disliked how Le Corbusier had made it into. In which not many people knows about it, even me (though I have been studying him for the past month being an interior designer myself, I didn't know that fact).

"We need a home in a psychological sense as much as we need one in the physical: to compensate for a vulnerability." (2, p.107) 

"We need a refuge to shore up our mind, because so much of the world opposed to our allegiances." (2, p.107)

"We need our rooms to align us to desirable versions of ourselves and to keep alive the important, evanescent sides of us." (2 end, p.107)

Also the book made me realized that architects mostly create a what they call their masterpiece in architecture, but leaving the fact that they didn't understand what the client or the users wanted. And it would just leave them feeling disappointed in the end.

In my opinion, what is the point of creating an original and unique architecture/ building/ design if it is not utilized or used by the people who requested for it.

"The architects who benefit us most may be those generous enough to lay aside their claims to genius in order to devote themselves to assembling graceful but predominantly unoriginal boxes." (4, p. 183)

"Architecture should have the confidence and the kindness to be a little boring." (4, p.183)

Blogger Art:
This is actually a postcard that I personally sketch for my best friend. A view of the buildings/ houses beside the Arno River- Florence, Italy

Looking for a copy of this book:

Book depository (free shipping worldwide) $20.95 paperback
Wordery (free shipping worldwide) for $20.69 paperback

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