There are two words that I use WAY too much (just ask my wife, she’ll tell you…probably without asking) and they are “sexy” and “awesome”. I’ve been looking for new words to describe things that excite me, but…honestly nothing seems to “do it” for me. And, as an aside, we’re talking about architecture here people, so get your minds out of the gutter…jeez.
“Architecture”, to put it mildly, is sexy when designed and constructed well. I like to touch it, smell it, gaze at it, allow myself to be embraced by corridors and vestibules and interstitial spaces. This is obviously a subjective statement, because what I find sexy or awesome (see? I just can’t stop) someone else might think is the most hideous and offensive building ever conceived by man.
So what makes a building awesome? What makes a building sexy? Better yet, what makes a building “archisexy”? That’s my own word – patent pending, thank you very much. 🙂
For me the “it” formula starts not with any particular style, or period, or material, or even a particular architect – though I do have some favorites that I follow. It’s really about a holistic view of the building itself. You have to be willing, sometimes, to take architecture as it’s presented and not compare/contrast it to something else. Let it stand alone and look at it and appreciate it for what it is and what it brings to it’s surroundings. Sometimes what it brings is something you might want to scrape off your shoe, but it can be appreciated nonetheless. 😛
This being said, a building or singular piece of architecture, in order to make my archisexy-ness list, must have a clarity to it. There needs to be a defined hierarchy of form and at least an expression of function. Materials and color, in whatever expression they are being used, should have a harmony and cohesiveness between them. It should be apparent that the materials were put together purposefully. For this reason I tend to favor historic residential architecture like Craftsman, or Queen Anne, or Federal, or English Cottage because there is a very honest and beautiful expression of material, color, form and function. A great deal of modern architecture, also, is imbued with these same principles and I do enjoy clean, true lines and the tactile qualities of modern materials like concrete or stone tile or timber.
Ok, I think I’ve gone on long enough about what excites me. I want to hear what excites you. What is it about architecture and design that gets your juices flowing? Is it a well executed detail? Or a clearly thought out plan? Or is it something more ethereal, something that you just “know” when you see it? Please comment below and lets get a conversation started!