Good Architecture Arrests the Soul

Updated: Jan 2, 2019



Most of the time, I don't realize that I see the world with different eyes than those around me. I usually just assume this is the way everyone thinks. It is not until I hear the words “what on earth are you talking about” that I notice I might be a little different. It has taken me years, but finally I have learned not just to be OK with being different, but actually to prefer it. Standing here I think I am having a thought most would not. If you learn to look beyond that which is simply “there,” you might too.

This is one of those places in Paris that Frank Lloyd Wright and his cult would have hated. Much too much meaningless ornament. Art for art's sake. That is to say, this beautiful gilded swag serves no purpose to the architecture from which it hangs, so it should not exist. But architecture is not the only purpose of architecture. Good architecture arrests the soul. There was a day when the heraldic imagery of winged creatures descending to crown victors and buildings festooned for the occasion resonated as not just pictorially beautiful, but as actually transcendental. Seen through the right eyes, why can't it do the same today. Are we too advanced even to hope for heroes and saviors?

The popularity of Marvel movies would suggest that our souls still yearn despite the best efforts of our culture leaders. Perhaps, progress has not delivered on its promises. Standing here, I can't help but think that we may have done away with too much. Why do we continue to search for more among fighting chaos? Don't we know that just makes more chaos.

There is peace right here. If you let your mind see a different world you might have hope too. The world I see is not a world of things, but of ideas that have been, and that are yet to be. It is a very exciting place to live.


(I also see a woman staring at her phone between the columns. Pay no attention to that.)