The Architecture of Life: A Language of Living Architecture

The Architecture of Life - Christopher K. Travis

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Language of Living Architecture

(Last of three related posts - Start at the beginning here.)

If you think about it, it is easy to see a strong relationship between the words we speak - the symbols, spoken language, gestures, and body language through which we communicate with others - and the environment human beings have built.

In one sense, nothing can exist for us as individuals or societies until we have a word to describe that object or event to others around us.

As Marshall McLuhan told us forty years ago, "the medium is the message."

For human beings, language not only describes, but in some ways, creates every social relationship.

It is no surprise that in many religious traditions, the universe was created by the "word" of God.

Each individual culture - each society - organizes around a unique descriptive language of shared experience and value, and that language creates the "architecture" of that unique social organism.

This is true for countries, ethnic groups, corporations, professions, towns and cities, political parties, religions, ideologies and even neighborhoods.

To further complicate matters, we live in a time - due to the emergence of mass media and the Internet - in which all of us are learning to "speak" many different dialects within these greater societal "languages."

If you think about it, you will see that your own family and friends sometimes use words and gestures that are unique to that group. We all use such social cues and special language to reinforce our social bonds. We know our "own" by how they talk.

Consider the possibility that all man-made artifacts in each unique environment - the buildings, furnishings, fashions, tools, technologies, art and architecture of our world - are also a form of language.

Seeing the world in this way provides an opportunity not only understand your family's unique "tongue," but to add words, expressions and phrases to that language.

Through this process, I believe it is possible to "create" new associations between your mind and your immediate environment.

By associating a particular object, room, symbol or condition within your home with a positive outcome in your life, you can focus more effectively on that result, and therefore make that part of your dream more likely to come true.

The positive results we achieve in life are most often the result of focusing our attention on something we desire, and then applying our wills towards that goal. In this manner, we achieve success.

Though our plans are always at risk in an uncertain world, life's failures are most often the result of inauthentic or unexamined goals; inaccurate assumptions about the nature of ourselves or our environment, or of a failure to apply sufficient attention to the objectives that are sought.

In the Far East, the ancient folk practice of Feng Shui has utilized similar methods for thousands of years. In Feng Shui, rooms, objects and architectural relationships are associated with aspects of life.

Prosperity, family, and health become external goals, out of the mind and into objective reality where they can be more effectively managed.

The process I am developing is not related to Feng Shui in any other significant way.

Feng Shui is rooted in mysticism, and my work is influenced by emerging science, but both systems use the "language" spoken by your home to support your ability to focus on aspects of life and the outcomes you desire.

Both methodologies use both the conscious and the automatic and unconscious functioning of your mind to enhance the living of your life.

I believe designing with this view in mind can bring warmth, vitality, diversity and relevance to residential architecture.

I believe the living architecture that we seek exists in each individual. It is embedded in the images, shadings, colors, syntax and content of each person's unique inner language.

It can be felt intuitively. We do not have to think about expressing it any more than we have to think to speak.