The Architecture of Life: Truehome on "Luminous Ground"

The Architecture of Life - Christopher K. Travis

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Truehome on "Luminous Ground"

Our Luminous Ground, a blog that explores the ideas of Christopher Alexander included a well-informed article recently about our Truehome approach to architecture - and my architecture firm - Sentient Architecture.

Here are a few excerpts:

"'Sentient' obviously refers to our senses. But it’s a word with deeper meaning. It also means being consciously aware of how we feel. How do you design a home with feeling? With emotion?

"Christopher Travis, an architect from Texas who also has a philosophy degree*1, has crafted a psychological and aesthetic compatibility tool for his clients who believe - as he does - that a home does not have to be just a building. It can be an emotional experience.

"At least 70 happy customers are living in homes that truly belong to them. They are “suites of emotional responses” emerging from the brains of the folks who live there.

It’s why the New York Times called an article about Travis’s work, “Home is Where the Head Is” (July 17, 2008)

By referring to clients’ carefully answered questionnaires, Travis designs a home reminiscent of their happy childhood memories and avoids design elements that brought stress.

By learning about the home-owner’s parents, siblings, relationships, childhood issues, life experiences, he tries to avoid what he calls “design dysfunction.”

"He read Christopher Alexander’s A Pattern Language and...has a blog Alexander, himself, would no doubt approve... Travis writes about “Transforming Responsibility.”

"'It may seem impossible to make any real difference. It may seem too overwhelming to even contemplate, but truthfully you do not have to know what to do or how to do it to make a powerful commitment.

"'All you have to do is pick yourself up, realize you have the power to control your words...and change the conversation'”

'Reflective of his own design process, Travis adds, 'People must first see the possibility of a positive change before they can strive towards it. Human beings are profoundly emotional. They are profoundly social and collaborate instinctively. These facts mean we must give up the ‘one size fits all’ stereotypes we use to fix blame without ignoring the realities of human nature.'”

"We are now in the midst of changing many conversations. Travis, Alexander and others are changing the conversation about how we construct the spaces in which we live, the powerful places we call home."

Thanks to Karen Speerstra and her partners at Luminous Ground for their kind words.

*1 Just to set the record straight, I do NOT have a degree in philosophy. I did study philosophy when I was young at the University of Texas, but obtained no degree. I still study philosophy now, but I am a mere lay theorist without formal training. Karen got this inaccurate fact from the N. Y. Times article. Penelope asked me what I studied in school - then assumed I completed my study. The error was mine as I missed it when I fact checked.