Friday, August 17, 2007

The Architecture of Happiness by Alain de Botton

Philosopher Alain de Botton is a modern-day Montaigne, whose accessible and thought-provoking writings combine serious scholarship with anecdotal insights based on personal experience. Whether writing about love, travel, or literature his work consistently makes difficult philosophical themes accessible to a wide audience.

In his newest book, The Architecture of Happiness, de Botton trains his lively intellect and wit on the subject of architecture and its influence in our lives. He poses the question What is a beautiful building? and discusses the nature of beauty in architecture, and how it is related to the well-being and general contentment of the individual and society. We are reminded that architecture affects us every day, even though in the course of our daily lives it often goes unnoticed. Exploring how humans have related to architecture through the ages de Botton guides us from the 19th century through modernism, providing insights into the meaning of style. Numerous black-and-white photographs accompany the text.

With this entertaining and stimulating work, de Botton aims to change the way we think about our homes, streets, and ourselves. The great strength of his book is that it encourages us to open our eyes and really look at, and think about, the buildings in which we live and work.

If you enjoy this book, check out the many other titles in Brand Library’s collection that address the psychological aspects of architecture!

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