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Download The Architecture of Happiness epub

by Alain De Botton

One of the great but often unmentioned causes of both happiness and misery is the quality of our environment: the kinds of walls, chairs, buildings and streets that surround us.And yet a concern for architecture and design is too often described as frivolous, even self-indulgent. The Architecture of Happiness starts from the idea that where we are heavily influences who we can be, and it argues that it is architecture’s task to stand as an eloquent reminder of our full potential.Whereas many architects are wary of openly discussing the word beauty, this book has at its center the large and naïve question: What is a beautiful building? It is a tour through the philosophy and psychology of architecture that aims to change the way we think about our homes, our streets and ourselves.
Download The Architecture of Happiness epub
ISBN: 0375424431
ISBN13: 978-0375424434
Category: Photography
Subcategory: Architecture
Author: Alain De Botton
Language: English
Publisher: Pantheon; 1st edition (October 3, 2006)
Pages: 288 pages
ePUB size: 1571 kb
FB2 size: 1209 kb
Rating: 4.4
Votes: 569
Other Formats: txt lrf mbr rtf

Mr Freeman
The title is misleading, suggesting the book is about the structure of happiness. Familiar with some of De Botton's other works, though, I was eager to read this one too, and to learn why I am so viscerally impacted by my surroundings. I found the answer in this elegant phrase: "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." I understand myself better through this book, and am consoled.
An enthusiast is, I think, the perfect guide to an interesting subject of which we know little. Alain de Botton is one such docent and The Architecture of Happiness is a delightful overview of the eponymous subject. This is not a history of architecture but rather a meditation upon why it matters: how it impacts our lives and affects our moods; what are the component parts that make it a success or failure? There are general observations about the classical tradition and Gothic styles and the radical break of modernism. So radical was it that even professionals had difficulty, for a time, distinguishing between engineering and architecture. The author considers all styles worthwhile and seeks out the best within them.

De Botton writes beautifully and passionately with helpful photographs or renderings that compare and contrast what he is extolling or criticizing. The final two chapters ("The Virtues of Buildings" and "The Promise of a Field") are particularly fine. In them, he discusses (among other things) order, elegance, balance, and coherence. The promise of a field is a paean to the spaces we occupy that were once either uncluttered or naturally beautiful in their own right. De Botton argues that if we are going to plop down a structure in the midst of nature (which already contains natural order, elegance, and balance) let us at least make it a 'best effort'. Put thought and consideration into the process rather than just utilitarian or worse, adding another scar on the landscape. Let's make cities like Edinburgh or Bath--conceived, planned and executed with purpose, not the awful sprawl of London or Los Angeles. I couldn't agree more.

Very worthwhile.
I had never read anything by Botton before picking up this one, so it was not only an architectural journey, but a stylistic one in terms of writing, as well. It starts off with pessimistic, albeit realistic views of architecture and its limits. It sounds so pessimistic in tone at first that you wonder where the book's title comes from, which draws you into it more. The ideas presented in this book are substantiated with plenty of real life proof, from Le Corbusier's mishaps to Frank Gehry's playful escapes. I wish the author would have been more direct in his language, as his ideas are not in need of pompous language to get across. I also would have liked to see at least one allusion to a work of Frank Lloyd Wright.

None of the arguments in the book are earth-shattering, and they shouldn't be. De Botton's ultimate purpose of the book is to convert the "non-believers" of architecture who believe that the profession is nothing more than fanciful, unnecessary ornament. It successfully proves why we need architecture in a very gradual way: first, if you believe that who you are depends on external forces (not a very demanding concept for even the most cynical), then you can come to believe that who you are depends on where you are, followed by who you are depends on the built environment around you as much as the people in your life. After he adds this concluding link in his chain of persuasion, de Botton provides a list of five virtues that any happy structure should reflect: order, balance, elegance, coherence, and self-knowledge.
This book approaches architecture from outside the field and begins to answer questions that architects have recently forgotten to ask. (What is beauty in architecture? What is style and in which should one build?)

Required reading for architects and anyone considering buying or constructing a building.
I bump into way too many people when in Manhattan. This happens because my head it tilted too far up, in awe of all the beautiful buildings, instead of head down, trying to finding the gaps in people's steps to get where I'm going faster. If you have done the same thing, or are looking to bump into more people on your next trip, you'll really enjoy this book.
de Botton always writes dense thought provoking reviews often on things we know about but don't ruminate about. So it was with his Proust book. Of course since Lehrer has told us that Proust was a neuroscientist Proust is now more widely mentioned, though probably not read. One would need to take to his bed.... The architecture of happiness in a like manner encourages one to think about how design works on us and throughout time has influenced us. It encourages us to ruminate about the things we make and see. I have given a copy to a young girl who wants to go into architecture as I believe it will widen her horizon. I highly encourage reading of this short tome and studying the pictures for any who can sit in a comfortable chair.