One of my interests is architecture and urban design, so allow me to introduce you to two little books by Witold Rybczynski…
Between Home: A Short History of an Idea and City Life, you can’t go wrong.
If you’re like me and love older homes and former streetcar neighborhoods, Home will explain much about why we value the elements in our homes.
City Life is a particular favorite — it stemmed from his daughter asking him, in essence, “Why are European cities so cool and American cities so lame?” There’s great evidence here that the original design of Savannah, Ga is perhaps the best original American city, and a pity that it didn’t spread.
Whenever we’ve looked to buy a house, one of our prime questions has always been “Has someone done something stupid to it?” What that really means is: “How have they ignored the intentions of the architect who designed it many years ago?”
We’ve seen tons of places where stupid happened:
- access to the game room/home theatre is through a former closet
- an indoor firepit fit for a caveman, in back of an early 1920s home
or other heresies.
When I’ve described our midtown home (for sale now), I’ve always said: “It’s a solid home, and no one has yet messed it up.”
To learn more, visit: Witold Rybczynski On Culture and Architecture.