Quiet Influence of Architecture

The structure surrounding you can lift you up or lead you to do things in a better way. That structure can be nature itself. You sit on a large granite rock and take in the sky the land and become one with the simplicity before you. At that moment, you are one with life itself and for a few minutes or a few hours, you understand everything. Everything that is important anyway. Relationships, conservation, harmony, and transcendent love.

You move away from your place of observation. Back into the flow of modern existence and once again know you must learn again what you have forgotten.

You are now surrounded by other structures. Highways converging into streets that connect together places to shop for food, be entertained, exchange funds, or take rest. In the places of rest you may have conversations or experiences that range from serious matters to spontaneous acts of comedy. Unplanned skits for which the best comedians or authors of dramatic plays could never have imagined or construed.

The structures in which we live, whether from nature or of our own creation, influence us. Something as simple as the level of ambient light in a restaurant or as significant as the number of trees decorating the roadside. The total structure, organic and inanimate, technical or purely mechanical, in which we operate does not determine how we will be but does set the probability of certain inclinations in a given direction.

These are ideas greatly reinforced in my 2009 reading of the Nature of Order by Christopher Alexander, who is also the author of A Timeless Way of Building. Though I would say you could find no better spokesperson for these ideas than Frank Lloyd Wright. Ideas brought to my attention again when I viewed Luke Shepard’s Nightvision. It is a film available on Vimeo that presents a montage of different living structures. Whether or not anyone agrees specifically with the styles showcased, I think the video presents a good case for considering the structures in which we live. Structures with the potential to add quality to living.

By Michael Gautier


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