Architecture the Essential Art
Architecture is the essential art, the craft of building civilization. Alike air, architecture is something that surrounds us, that gives us life, and architecture, alike air is, for the most part, unnoticed, unappreciated. Tell me: what is the style of architecture of the house next door, the house to the other side, the house across the street? What is the style of your house? Is it a good example, a poor example, or no example? And tell me: how often do you employ the word, “home”. Many times each day, I would guess, and I would guess that “home” is among the most important of your words, after “God”, “family”, “love”, et cetera, words themselves coterminous with “home”. Yes, architecture is the essential art, the craft of building civilization. Architecture the essential art.
Not all houses are alike, not all homes are alike, birds live in nests, as do squirrels, when they are not in your attic, and when not in your attic or in nests, squirrels will live in a hole in tree or log, as do raccoons, and bears, upon occasion. You might not think so, but each animal will build a house or choose a house suitable to its nature, and will make itself at home, comfy, “commodious”, you might say, as suits its body and its tastes. Man too suits its body at home, suits its taste in choice, and lives according to its nature. The choices we make in taste tell us much about our nature.
You will notice that we recognize in each house a connection between the house and its inhabitant: the tight, tall-walled nest of the warbler, the high, sprawling nests of the raptors, the warm-wood house of Goethe, the half-timber house of Shakespeare, the stone-solid stucco house of Michelangelo. We seem to think that there is a relation between, a connection between the house and the creature that is at home in the house. Most often, there is.
The house will tell us of habits, customs, faith. Yes, “faith”. See the boxy-glassy electronic do-daddie houses of those who have faith in technology, in gimmickry; see the house in fealty faithful to Western traditions, to Classive civilization, The White House; very different houses for very different creatures, The White House, the glass house, the warbler house, each suited to a creature of a particular type. Not judging, just saying. Architecture the Essential Art.
The warbler has little choice, little liberty of expression, little say in its nature, apart from the pretty song which offers some personal tincture. We creatures, creatures alike you and I, have monstrous variation in taste, habit, custom, faith, we creatures who can know not only everything beneath the sun, but all that is beyond the sun. No wonder that we house ourselves in great variation upon the simple theme of floor, walls, roof, windows, and door. The choices we make of house and home tell more than anyone has guessed.
This month, The Beautiful Home [TBH] initiates its style-zines with the first four styles considered in these pages: Jeffersonian, Mid-Century Modern, Greek Revival, Georgian, essential styles of our American experience. In time, each style-zine will fill all TBH topic features and subject categories, and there will be a miscellany of what might occur to regular contributors and guest authors. In each zine you will find history, advice, curiosities, tattle, and wisdom. Too, sometime this year, by subscribed notification you might learn of additions to each style-zine, of articles, essays, pictures, plans, how-tos, et cetera.
This month, new material will augment the style-zine’s existing material. Next months, Regency, Spanish Eclectic, Deco or Italianate (we’ve yet to decide) will receive the first articles of their zines. Soon, each American regional and period style shall have its own zine, a place where you might learn of the habits, customs, histories, and concerns of persons who choose homes alike, persons who are alike in feather, and in essential cultural features.
The Beautiful Home is a place to house all that is at home in America, the apex of civilization. The Beautiful Home is in the business of building civilization, architecture, the essential art. We welcome you to build with us by subscribing to the style-zines … details of subscription to appear in these pages, this Spring.
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Featured image: Tischbein, Goethe in the Roman Campagna, 1786.
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