We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.―
For Amy’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #35, it’s all about architecture. Instead of focusing on famous architectural sites, I am sharing my thoughts about architecture.
When we travel, we often stay in rental apartments, so we can get a sense of how people live in other countries. There are differences in the size of kitchens and bathrooms, in the height of ceilings and the width of doors. Even doorknobs are placed higher and sometimes lower than we are used to.
These experiences are helping me refine my own architectural aesthetic. What’s important in a building? How does the building make the occupant feel? Significant or insignificant? What’s the personality of the building? Is it grand or humble? Do you think it’s ironic that in many industrialized parts of the world, people “get away” to these simple wooden cabins which give them valuable moments of peace and relaxation?
Architecture is the will of an epoch translated into space. – Mies van der Rohe
Buildings also tell a story of a time and place…as well as power and domination. Some of them are meant to awe and intimidate for centuries.
Sometimes they reveal stories of the people who lived there.
Architecture should speak of its time and place, but yearn for timelessness. – Frank Gehry
But at their best, buildings are timeless.
Sometimes they transcend our expectations of what is possible. When the Danish architect Jørn Utzon designed the world-famous Sydney Opera House, no one knew how it could be built. It took over a decade to solve the technical problems, resulting in a final cost of over 100 million AUD. But the result is breath-taking.
Less is more. – Mies van der Rohe
Today, architects are creating slender, super-tall skyscrapers, which seem to defy the laws of gravity and engineering. These narrow vertical structures are now soaring high above cities like New York, Vancouver, and Melbourne. Despite their height, they have a smaller footprint at the base, which appeals to real estate developers. But I wonder about the personalities of these superstructures which tower above all the surrounding buildings and gobble up their airspace.
It was the spirit animating the mass and flowing from it, and it expressed the individuality of the building. – Louis Sullivan
The buildings that speak to me the most are on a human scale. They are filled with light and open spaces, like the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. Inside them, my spirits soar.
The same is true for my favorite homes. I’ve lived in skyscrapers, in townhouses, a crooked two-family house, and in a New England brick colonial with a yard and a garden. But my favorite homes were cozy places that were filled with light and had expansive views. How about you?
I hope you join us this week for Amy’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #35–Architecture.
And in the meantime, we’re continuing our travels….weather permitting!