July 30 2013

“The Architecture of Happiness” by Alain de Botton

In recent years the process of studying architecture and planning has changed substantially. More and more architectural schools (including my own in Argentina) have shifted from a theoretical education, oriented towards the history, philosophy and mathematics of architecture, into a more practical studio-based style of education that, sadly enough, excludes this theoretical approach to the field, focusing on production and marketing and whatever else the computer can render.

In a clear observation of this phenomenon, author Alain de Botton makes us reconsider not only the state of this field, but the need for embracing the theory and criticism that arises from it, together with its philosophical basis. In his book, “The Architecture of Happiness”, de Botton explains architectural history with a kind of ‘crash course’ of its origins and significance, noting that the current production cannot separate itself from these beginnings. By focusing on the progression of the discipline, de Botton reminds us that it is for men and women like us, for humans, that the art of architecture is made for.

Author Alain de Botton

This book presents itself as a guide of the best (and worst) in architecture and the relationship that buildings should have with people. De Botton returns us to our homes, our schools, our churches and workplaces, and invites us to talk with them, to recognize them – and what is even more radical – to listen to what buildings have to say to and about us.

Balancing Barn project by Living Architecture

Richly illustrated, “The Architecture of Happiness” reintroduces us to the importance of architecture. It reminds us that everything that surrounds us can be designed and can transform itself and transform us into an ideal: the utopia that is the promise of the field and the infinite expansion that it has. Architecture, then, is the beautiful idea of bringing to earth those things located in the world of ideals.

Architecture of Happiness book

Happiness can be obtained when the world surrounding us smiles at us. For Alain de Botton, architecture is our way to smile back.

What do you think is the best approach to understanding architecture? Is it significant to talk about a philosophical background for our buildings?

Credits: Data and images linked to sources.

Luis Lozano-Paredes

Luis Lozano-Paredes is currently a student seeking a Diploma of Architecture and Urban Planning at Belgrano University in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Born in Colombia in 1987, he grew between the cities of Bogotá and Santiago de Cali, and then moved to Argentina in 2006. There, he finished the Common Basic Cycle of Architecture, Design, and Urbanism at the University of Buenos Aires before pursuing studies in Landscape Design at the same Institution. Inspired by the Urban Transformation of Bogotá in the past decades, his interests evolved from Landscape Architecture to his current passion; Urban Planning, Policy Making, and Sustainable Development. He plans to continue his studies in Urban Planning and Sustainability in Canada, Chile, or the U.S.; but for the moment he currently works as a Graduate Research Assistant at the Center of Metropolitan Transport Studies of the University of Buenos Aires and is a Member of the Observatory of Urban Sustainability at Belgrano University. Luis’ main interests lay within the study of Smart Cities, Urban Sustainable Development, and Social Architecture in Latin America.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 30th, 2013 at 9:16 am and is filed under Architecture, Education and Careers. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


One Response to ““The Architecture of Happiness” by Alain de Botton”

  1. BryanAbrams | Studio City real Estate Says:

    I find myself looking at art and buildings differently after reading The Architecture of Happiness, so I cannot deny the power of the text on an architectural neophyte.

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