We make them, then inhabit them. They embody countless choices affecting our well being. And yet our buildings, although suceeding in many respects, far too often fall short in one: their capacity to awaken the senses, engage the mind, lift the spirit, and feed the soul. Since we live much of our lives under their influence, why then not aim for more by reaching deeper into their possibilities? When making them, why not try harder to awaken the flower that sleeps in each, thereby increasing the pleasure of being alive in their presence?
Within a building's seed sleeps a flower...
A synaptic spark at first, emerging eventually as a constellation of thoughts, needs, wants, and most importantly, decisions, it finally arrives, here on earth, the real thing - a built reality that someone will live in and with over the course of their lives.
Made by us, they affect us in ways determined to a great extent by the countless decisions made in the early stages of their life. Collectively, each of those decisions to some extent helps define our built world and ultimately has an affect on our well-being. To guide all these decisions in a life-serving direction, a reliable compass is needed.
For me, a simple metaphor serves that purpose: In its origins as an idea, each building contains a seed, its potential. And somewhere within that seed sleeps a flower awaiting the decision to let it blossom. That fundamental decision, in turn, guides all the others.
A building's flower in this context signifies the fulfilment of a building's potential to resonate with those experiencing it, producing moments of pleasure and a deep sense of connection.
As humans we tend to feel connected to - more alive with - living things, to things that, when thriving, are in harmony with themselves, with us, and with their natural surroundings.
So, as a compass, a north star, why not strive to make these environments that we live in, that we're in the presence of day after day, be places we can feel emotionally connected to? Why not give them life, make them integrated, attune them to who we are, and to their natural surroundings?
Since our well being is tied, in large part, to how we respond to our surroundings, why not make our built environments such that they resonate with us in a way that signals a yes to the moments of life - that awaken us, that evoke feelings of pleasure, even joy? When a building reaches us in that way, its flower has blossomed.
WARREN LAWSON ARCHITECT