As someone was saying, the beat goes on but now at Terry Teachout's.
Wronged by Wright
A reader writes:Regarding living in a work of art, the idea of living in a Frank Lloyd Wright house is indeed attractive, but as one who was recently privileged (and despite my remarks, it was a privilege) to spend a week in one, I have to tell you it was in many ways damnably uncomfortable.
...The ongoing blogosphere debate over Wright has had a certain abstract quality, precisely because none of us has ever lived in a Wright house—which is, after all, the heart of the matter. Right?
Teachout is correct, though I would extend his "heart of the matter" beyond domestic architecture to all buildings. The ultimate test of a structure --- even, or maybe especially, as a "work of art" if one insists on that distinction --- is how the user and the structure interact, how they both behave and how the structure encourages the human to feel.
This is how we square the circle and reconcile "architecture as art" with common-sense: a work of art --- by any definition I would think --- must call forth human emotion and while those human emotions may involve the mind, they primarily start from the seat-of-one's-pants.
In fact the idea that we should ignore our feelings ---of any kind: comfort, delight, exhilaration, awe, fear --- when we consider a piece of architecture totally denies the only sensible purpose for art in the first place: to make us feel. So then to turn around and say that in considering a work of art we shall only consider this certain kind of feeling...well that is preposterous. One certain individual can deny that this or that feeing is germane for him; but to set it out as a universal and say that it's important how a building hits one in the eye but feelings of discomfort because the ceiling is too low are not allowed...well, that makes no sense to me. Buildings are design to create sensations. Period.