Monday, February 28, 2011

BP7: An Architecture of Happiness

According to Alain de Bottom there is an architecture of happiness. I agree with this, and think that happiness can be achieved through architecture, in certain situations. People like to feel uplifted and one’s surroundings can enhance that feeling. I know from personal experience, that one day I will refuse to walk in the front door of my house because I just don’t want to; I will take a longer path just to avoid walking through or near certain places.

For architecture to achieve a sense of happiness it must appeal to peoples senses. I have looked at many classrooms, artworks, and restaurants and thought that it gave off a bad vibe, or I didn’t like the atmosphere. I also believe that to create “movement” in architecture can be very pleasing to people.
Sunlight seems to always lighten the spirit of a place literally and emotionally, and I personally thing that the liveliness of plants and grass and water create a sense of happiness. I believe we humans force our emotions and feelings on our surroundings, one day ill stride right into my classrooms with a smile on my face, and the next day I feel as if I have to pick up my own feet to get in the room. Architecture can seem less “happy” on rainy days when the atmosphere is gloomy and ominous, or on days when you got a bad grade and you just want to do nothing. So is it the architecture that is happy or is our feelings that make us believe that?

I chose to capture the music building as a happy space; however, it is the bridged entrance that I think pulses happiness. Surrounded by tall vertical trees, the bountiful bridge makes me want to skip straight into that building. The arched and horizontal poles that make up the railings of the bridge resemble a dance or a chase to get to the building. At the end of the bridge is a small pond to the right and the large circular entrance lies right in the path. The bridge gives a sense of direction; most people do not like the feeling of being lost so this is an excellent way to achieve happiness because it tells people where they are to go.

The Aumni Garden
Taken beside one of the benches, the fountain is visible in the distance.
For my happy place I took a picture of the small garden/sitting area that rests outside of the alumni building. This is one of my most favorite places on campus. Last semester was my first semester here at UNCG; I would take the same path to my classes everyday in fear I would get lost among the large buildings. One day I took a detour and stumbles across this little path, I remember I smiled as soon as I saw it. There is a fountain that is visible and that topped it off for me; I love how it is set lower in the ground then the main sidewalk and the sound of the small fountain is very calming. I think this place has a happy feeling because of the natural surroundings if acquires. It is also slightly enclosed by the brick wall and the side of the build, giving a more private feel. 

So is there an architecture of happiness? I believe it is all in the eye of the beholder.