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Published on May 29th, 2010 | by Yellow Magpie


Great Architecture: Buildings That Can Make You Instantly Happy

Buildings are iconic symbols of mankind. They provide one of the essential needs for survival, shelter. However, buildings also do much more than that. Upon first sight, they can stir deep emotions within us. We can love them with every fibre of our being or we can despise them with what seems like illogical zeal.

Great architecture can transform our mood. It can elevate us beyond our normal, everyday existence and transport us to a higher emotional reality.

The link between mood and architecture has been well-documented. Every designer is aware of the relationship between aesthetics and human emotion. In fact, this relationship has been known for thousands of years.

The Pyramids: Monuments To Great Architecture

One of the most famous and oldest examples of aspiring architecture and probably the first off many people’s tongues is the pyramids of Egypt. These great monuments of stone have not only withstood the tests of history but also have remained undeniably beautiful and awe-inspiring at the same time.

Temples for the Pharaoh’s and the gods, the pyramids point towards the highest-minded of ideals. The reality that the ideals of those responsible for the pyramids’ creation were less than saintly does not cast a shadow on the ethics being aspired to.

The pyramids are not besmirched by the slave-labour employed by the Pharaohs because the buildings themselves still act as noble ambassadors for ethics something that is above the level of the individual.

The Aesthetic Legacy Of Stonehenge

But in another part of the world, perhaps even before the creation of the pyramids, people recognised the role buildings and architecture played in guiding human emotions. The huge stone slaps of Stonehenge are one of the most potent symbols of past history.

These towering monuments still have an enormous ability to transfix the gaze of onlookers and cause us to dwell on their history, their meaning, and the way they emotionally affect us.

Newgrange: Beautiful Chamber

Even older and larger than Stonehenge is the neolithic burial chamber of Newgrange in Ireland. A gigantic earth-covered mound and astrological feat of engineering, this monument of a past civilisation has stood for nearly five thousand years. Its exact function is still a mystery that stubbornly will not reveal itself.

Churches Of Colour And Light

Religions have known for millenia of the powerful relationship between buildings and the human spirit. Catholicism and Islamism have paid homage to the fact that beautiful architecture can transform the thoughts and mindsets of the individual. Not only making them feel happier but bringing them closer to God.

With corridors sweeping with colour and light-filled rooms in a myriad of shades and hues steeped in architectural merit, churches and mosques are some of the most aesthetically beautiful of all building to bring grace to our lives.

Recommended Amazon Reading

The philosopher Alain de Botton’s book The Architecture Of Happiness explores the theme of architecture and mood  in an enjoyable and well-written manner.

For those who are interested in learning about the significance and culture of places such as Newgrange, John Waddell’s The Prehistoric Archaeology of Ireland is an excellent and comprehensive guide.
For people living in Ireland or the United Kingdom you can access The Architecture Of Happiness and The Prehistoric Archaeology of Ireland here.
For those living in Canada you can obtain The Architecture Of Happiness and The Prehistoric Archaeology of Ireland from here.
For Germany: The Architecture Of Happiness and The Prehistoric Archaeology of Ireland.
For France: The Architecture Of Happiness and The Prehistoric Archaeology of Ireland.

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