The Architecture of Happiness

The architecture of Happiness was written by Alain de Botton, a renowned author, and philosopher who also wrote ” The Art of Travel” or “How Proust can change your life”.

With this book, he gives an introduction to Architecture and its history while analyzing what constitutes Beauty through the ages.

Extract of the book:

The places we call beautiful are the work of those rare architects with the humility to interrogate themselves adequately about their desires and tenacity to translate their fleeting apprehensions of joy into logical plans – a combination that enables them to create environments that satisfy needs we never consciously knew we even had.

Why architects built monuments, buildings, and homes the way they did? Why certain designs were popular at a certain period of time and why these very same ones became obsolete a few decades after? What is the proportion between practicability and beauty in building design?

The author tries to answer these questions.

Extract of the book:

It is easy enough to recognize when a room is properly lit and a staircase easy to navigate, but so much harder to convert this intuitive sense of well-being into a logical understanding of the reasons for it. To design means forcing ourselves to unlearn what we believe we already know, patiently to take apart the mechanisms behind our reflexes and to acknowledge the mystery and stupefying complexity of everyday gestures like switching off a light and turning on a tap.

From Ancient Greek architecture to Le Corbusier and the Huis Ten Bisch Dutch Village in Nagasaki, Japan, this is a throughout analysis and reflection about Architecture that I recommend to anyone interested in the subject.

Fun fact: this is the book Tom (an architect) offers Summer in the great Marc Webb’s rom-com “500 days of Summer”

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