What is the Architecture of Happiness?

Can the look of your home improve your mood?  Or doesn’t it matter a jot, since the owner looks out, not in, and more important things determine true happiness?  Alain de Botton’s discussion in The Architecture of Happiness, about the influence of architecture on your state of mind, was brought to mind on a recent drive down a suburban street on a grey, rainy day when I spied these houses;

“One of the great, but often unmentioned, causes of both happiness and misery is the quality of our environment: the kind of walls, chairs, buildings and streets we’re surrounded by. And yet a concern for architecture and design is too often described as frivolous, even self-indulgent.”

These houses seem to be a super-sized architectural grab bag of styles: a pinch of Classical with a few Corinthian columns, a kilo of brick veneer and aluminium windows for economy, a cup of Spanish Mission with curved arches,  the icing in Federation style with ornate iron railings.  All they really need now is the cherry on top – plaster lions at the gate.

So can architecture and design influence how you feel?


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Julian on April 20, 2010 at 11:52 pm

    Hi Soph
    I had a similar reaction in Putney: worker fibro on double block, cutesie redundant corner store, meets subdivided macro mcmonstrosity. My heart sank. Its a whole topic, but I think part of the prob are the symmetry (asymmetry?) of styles forced into close association – a bit like personal space invasion for architecture. Its the battle between individual vs collective – I think true on sooo many levels. See ya!


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