“Love is in the Air” as Valentine’s Day approaches – lovebirds making romantic plans together and some committed couples planning their wedding. So what is the venue of popular choice? Old, pre-1950’s, historical buildings.
The Biltmore, Deering Estate, and Gables Museum are all Valentine’s Day favorites; just as Vizcaya, Miami Beach Community Church, Cruz Building, Venetian Pool, Spanish Monastery, and more are sought-after for weddings. I, as well, had my wedding in the beautiful lobby of a historic bank, now the KC Public Library.
But what exactly is it that instinctively attracts people to these older buildings? Surely we were not more romantic before the 1950’s; nor was the architecture littered with hearts, roses, and other symbols of love. On the contrary, they were simple, balanced, and detailed:
- Human Proportions: The basic structure of older buildings is simple: verticality. Responding to the building/human relationship, a sub-conscious correlation to the human body is deliberate in upright openings, massing, and other elements. Just as a slender person is often synonymous with beauty, a vertical opening is more appealing than a squat, horizontal one.
- Intimate Interiors: Bigger is not always better – especially in architecture. Older buildings gracefully accommodate both small and large groups. From the compact courtyard of the Coral Gables City Hall to the grand Gusman Theatre, these historic facilities use spectacular volume ratios to make each space comfortable.
- Delicate Details: The intricate and handcrafted details are a romantic language of their own. Though not embellishments of love or passion specifically, they have a natural appeal due to the human scale and soft materials. As for weddings, a historic interior may only need a little decoration or none at all.
Though most of today’s architecture is drifting towards a more sleek, modern design, it is apparent that people are still attracted to the traditional look and feel of older buildings. These principles may seem forgotten in contemporary construction, but the traditional architecture movement prevails to restore and evolve the age-old relationship between building and human. What do you appreciate about historic buildings?
Credits: Images by Jennifer Garcia. Data linked to sources.