Bestselling author Alain de Botton considers how our private homes and public edifices influence how we feel, and how we could build dwellings in which we would stand a better chance of happiness. In this witty, erudite look at how we shape, and are shaped by, our surroundings, Alain de Botton applies Stendhal’s motto that “Beauty is the promise of happiness” to the spaces we inhabit daily. Why should we pay attention to what architecture has to say to us? de Botton asks provocatively. With his trademark lucidity and humour, de Botton traces how human needs and desires have been served by styles of architecture, from stately Classical to minimalist Modern, arguing that the stylistic choices of a society can represent both its cherished ideals and the qualities it desperately lacks. On an individual level, de Botton has deep sympathy for our need to see our selves reflected in our surroundings; he demonstrates with great wisdom how buildings — just like friends — can serve as guardians of our identity. Worrying about the shape of our sofa or the colour of our walls might seem self-indulgent, but de Botton considers the hopes and fears we have for our homes at a new level of depth and insight. When shopping for furniture or remodelling the kitchen, we don’t just consider functionality but also the major questions of aesthetics and the philosophy of art: What is beauty? Can beautiful surroundings make us good? Can beauty bring happiness? The buildings we find beautiful, de Botton concludes, are those that represent our ideas of a meaningful life. The Architecture of Happiness marks a return to what Alain does best — taking on a subject whose allure is at once tantalizing and a little forbidding and offering to readers a completely beguiling and original exploration of the subject. As he did with Proust, philosophy, and travel, now he does with architecture.
The Achitecture of Happiness is a dazzling and generously illustrated journey through the philosophy and psychology of architecture and the indelible connection between our identities and our locations.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 is too often described as frivolous, even self-indulgent. Alain de Botton starts from the idea that where we are heavily influences who we can be, and argues that it is architecture's task to stand as an eloquent reminder of our full potential. From the Trade Paperback edition.
The Achitecture of Happiness is a dazzling and generously illustrated journey through the philosophy and psychology of architecture and the indelible connection between our identities and our locations.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 is too often described as frivolous, even self-indulgent. Alain de Botton starts from the idea that where we are heavily influences who we can be, and argues that it is architecture's task to stand as an eloquent reminder of our full potential.
THE NUMBER ONE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER From one of our greatest voices in modern philosophy, author of The Course of Love, The Consolations of Philosophy, Religion for Atheists and The School of Life The Architecture of Happiness explores the fascinating hidden links between the buildings we live in and our long-term wellbeing 'Engaging and intelligent... Full of splendid ideas, happily and beautifully expressed' Independent 'Alain de Botton takes big, complex subjects and writes about them with thoughtful and deceptive innocence' Observer 'Clever, provocative and fresh as a daisy' Literary Review What makes a house truly beautiful? Why are many new houses so ugly? Why do we argue so bitterly about sofas and pictures - and can differences of taste ever be satisfactorily resolved? To answer these questions and many more, de Botton looks at buildings across the world, from medieval wooden huts to modern skyscrapers; he examines sofas and cathedrals, tea sets and office complexes, and teases out a host of often surprising philosophical insights. The Architecture of Happiness will take you on a beguiling tour through the history and psychology of architecture and interior design, and will change the way you look at your home.
Buildings have often been studies whole in space, but never before have they been studied whole in time. How Buildings Learn is a masterful new synthesis that proposes that buildings adapt best when constantly refined and reshaped by their occupants, and that architects can mature from being artists of space to becoming artists of time. From the connected farmhouses of New England to I.M. Pei's Media Lab, from "satisficing" to "form follows funding," from the evolution of bungalows to the invention of Santa Fe Style, from Low Road military surplus buildings to a High Road English classic like Chatsworth—this is a far-ranging survey of unexplored essential territory. More than any other human artifacts, buildings improve with time—if they're allowed to. How Buildings Learn shows how to work with time rather than against it.
Identifying four key themes in Chinese philosophy to promote health and happiness at home, this book links architecture with Chinese philosophy, social sciences, and the humanities, and in doing so, argues that Architectural Multiculturalism is a vital ideology to guide housing design in North America. Using both qualitative and quantitative evidence gathered from ethnic Chinese and non-Chinese living in the USA and Canada, the study proposes that the Courtyard is a central component to promote social and cultural health and happiness of residents.
From the author of The Architecture of Happiness, a thought-provoking look at the manic and peculiar position that news has achieved in our lives. What does the news do to our brains, our souls and our views of one another? We spend an inordinate amount of time checking on it. It molds how we view reality, we're increasingly addicted to it on our luminous gadgets, we check it every morning when we wake up and every evening before we sleep-and yet the news has rarely been the focus of an accessible, serious, saleable book-length study. Until now. Mixing snippets of current news with philosophical reflections, The News will blend the timeless with the contemporary, and bring the wisdom of thousands of years of culture to bear on our contemporary obsessions and neuroses. The News ranges across news categories-from politics to murders, from economics to celebrities, from the weather to paparazzi shows--in search of answers to the questions: "What do we want from this?" and "Is it doing us any good?" After The News, we'll never look at a celebrity story, the report on a tropical storm, or the sex scandal of a politician in quite the same way again.
Anyone who’s ever lost sleep over an unreturned phone call or the neighbor’s Lexus had better read Alain de Botton’s irresistibly clear-headed new book, immediately. For in its pages, a master explicator of our civilization and its discontents turns his attention to the insatiable quest for status, a quest that has less to do with material comfort than with love. To demonstrate his thesis, de Botton ranges through Western history and thought from St. Augustine to Andrew Carnegie and Machiavelli to Anthony Robbins. Whether it’s assessing the class-consciousness of Christianity or the convulsions of consumer capitalism, dueling or home-furnishing, Status Anxiety is infallibly entertaining. And when it examines the virtues of informed misanthropy, art appreciation, or walking a lobster on a leash, it is not only wise but helpful.
Modernism in architecture and urban design has failed the American city. This is the decisive conclusion that renowned public intellectual Nathan Glazer has drawn from two decades of writing and thinking about what this architectural movement will bequeath to future generations. In From a Cause to a Style, he proclaims his disappointment with modernism and its impact on the American city. Writing in the tradition of legendary American architectural critics Lewis Mumford and Jane Jacobs, Glazer contends that modernism, this new urban form that signaled not just a radical revolution in style but a social ambition to enhance the conditions under which ordinary people lived, has fallen short on all counts. The articles and essays collected here--some never published before, all updated--reflect his ideas on subjects ranging from the livable city and public housing to building design, public memorials, and the uses of public space. Glazer, an undisputed giant among public intellectuals, is perhaps best known for his writings on ethnicity and social policy, where the unflinching honesty and independence of thought that he brought to bear on tough social questions has earned him respect from both the Left and the Right. Here, he challenges us to face some difficult truths about the public places that, for better or worse, define who we are as a society. From a Cause to a Style is an exhilarating and thought-provoking book that raises important questions about modernist architecture and the larger social aims it was supposed to have addressed-and those it has abandoned.
Can good design truly make us happier? Given that we spend over 80% of our time in buildings, shouldn’t we have a better understanding of how they make us feel? This book explores the ways in which buildings, spaces and cities affect our moods. It reveals how architecture and design can make us happy and support mental health and explains how poor design can have the opposite effect. Presented through a series of easy-to-understand design tips and accompanied by beautiful diagrams and illustrations, Happy by Design is a fantastic resource for architects, designers and students, or for anybody who would like to better understand the relationship between buildings and happiness.