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Thanksgiving – Architecture

As an exercise in almsgiving over the next 40 days, this webpage will joyfully give up its praise and thanks for one aspect of life, and not always necessarily a religious one.

If we were ever inclined to think of buildings and workspaces as inanimate, unfeeling objects then sick building syndrome and concrete cancer should put paid to it. That structures can be laid low by their design, materials and construction is a harsh lesson from nature that humans need to be more thoughtful and aware of how we approach our “built environment”.

Guggenheim Museum

Thankfully the profession of architecture has been open to new ideas and ways of thinking from its inception. When the fruit of your labours is so openly displayed it would be rather embarrassing to keep trotting out cookie-cutter style buildings and never excelling the art form. To this end there are a number of famous architects who have stood head and shoulders above their peers because of the creative genius they displayed and the cues they took from nature in crafting buildings both functional and pleasing to the eye (of the beholder!).

The reference above is to big names like Frank Lloyd Wright, whose designs will go on being sought after residences for decades to come, despite being dreamed into existence in the 1920s and 30s; or Charles Rennie Mackintosh whose Japanese-influenced interest in fine detail and sparseness led to the uniqueness of his houses; Le Corbusier, who broke all the rules and then some in his churches and other buildings; and finally Mies van der Rohe, whose outsize ego was a fine balance for the simplicity and modernity of his skyscrapers.

In more recent years the Asian architect I M Pei and the American Frank Gehry have been synonymous with designs in France and Spain respectively which have invited criticism and praise in equal measure, but usually won over the majority for their brilliance.

To all those architects who strive to design a built environment in which we as humans can not only comfortably function but flourish and dream alike ourselves, we say thank you.

Farnsworth House

Previous thanksgiving article: The desert

The season of Lent asks of us for sacrifice and the foregoing of many things, but an attitude of joy and gratitude should not be amongst them.

As an exercise in almsgiving over the next 40 days, this webpage will joyfully give up its praise and thanks for one aspect of life, and not always necessarily a religious one.

At the outset it should be made clear the viewpoints expressed here are a matter of individual opinion. If any one item doesn’t coincide with your own personal tastes then why not seek to better it with some thanksgiving of your own rather than a critique? You are always welcome to do so at the Archdiocesan website feedback mechanism.

So we invite you to come, walk with us awhile, and be thankful as we journey together to Calvary and beyond to Easter.

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