Spaces mold us and our actions so extensively that often the built environment recedes from view, integrating so thoroughly with our daily lives that we forget to give it a second thought. Similarly, our lives and culture inform design, suggesting everything from which direction a stairway should spiral to the proximity of different living spaces.
What truly builds a building? Architecture is much more than a desire or a fashion. It is a product of the technology, values, and laws of its time. It is defined, in part, by its assigned use (we will get to Mies van der Rohe another day!). Only then is it also a manifestation of past and present aesthetics. As a result, designed spaces are woven with many stories that have not yet been written; they tell of the constraints and creativity that drove their construction, and they tell of the daily comings and goings that wear their floors smooth in places of heavy traffic, use their windows until the latches are replaced and replaced again, and create livable spaces within that only life truly can.
The built environment is endlessly intriguing and enlightening. Standing in spaces and looking around is the beginning, for as Frank Lloyd Wright said, “spaces are the breath of art.” The exploring, digging, and studying adds the context that begins to shine a light on the full story. Notable architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable said that, “criticism shows us the world we build as art, culture, policy and practice. It is a combination of intellectual and aesthetic response, it is the way we put art into context.” This is the foundation on which I hope to build this blog. I look to discover and share. As I explore places, new and old, I endeavor to provide the perfect cocktail of the intellectual and aesthetic as I write of my findings. I do hope you will follow along!