Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Architecture of Happiness

I've been reading Alain de Botton's The Architecture of Happiness, and in addition to the pure joy I feel over the brilliance of his prose (I'll treat you to an example in a moment), I'm basking in the pleasure self-recognition brings. Through his explanations of why architecture affects our mood and what our preferred style reveals about us, I've at last come to understand why the lack of beautiful architecture and design here in Turkey bothers me so much. He's also helped me view my surrounds less harshly.

I'll write a separate post about the local architecture here in Adana/Tarsus soon; for now, let me give you a glimpse:

And to make up for that, let me treat you to the following, in which de Botton describes the geometrically perfect rue de Castiglione in Paris:

"The street speaks of the sacrifice demanded by all works of architecture. The stones might have preferred to continue sleeping where they had lain down to rest at their geological bedtime 200 million years before, just as the iron ore of the balustrades might have opted to remain lodged in the Massif Central under forests of pine trees, before they were coaxed from their somnolence along with a symphony of other raw materials" (The Architecture of Happiness 176-7).
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