Rhi's Reviews > The Architecture of Happiness

The Architecture of Happiness by Alain de Botton
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's review
Jan 08, 2009

really liked it
Read in November, 2009

This book is essentially one long essay about why architecture matters. It's clearly written by a philosopher, both in terms of the logical way he presents some of his arguments, and his tendency to talk about the human condition. His descriptions of architecture are not very technical or particularly complete - he chooses a few themes (symmetry, balance, etc) and talks about them and the buildings or objects which illustrate his points. It was easy for me to like the book because I fundamentally agree with his basic premise, namely that the space you are in can profoundly affect the person you are, and thus you should occupy spaces that make you the best person you can be. I thought a lot about various elements of style that I'd like in my own dream house and some of the reasons why I prefer those certain styles. I also thought a bit about the Salk Institute (where I work), designed by Louis Kahn, and whether or not it is more than just a beautiful building - if it is actually enhancing the science that it houses. Not sure I reached a conclusion about that one, though.

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