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Old Posted Oct 2, 2018, 9:07 AM
glennbartels glennbartels is offline
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What Makes Architecture Stunning

We all have experienced the feeling of being absolutely, entirely stunned by a beautiful piece of architecture. Granted, many of us see great buildings every day and get overly used to them; but I'll never forget the first time I stepped off of a bus downtown in Seattle and looked up for the first time. I will always remember the first time that I wandered around under the huge pillars of the Legislative building in the State Capitol.

What is the science of architectural amazement? It takes more than just a tall building to impress me. It takes a special combination of lots of different factors, but of them all I believe the greatest is what I call the possible impossibility paradox. Things that we naturally consider to be possible are viewed as mundane, while things that we naturally consider to be impossible we dismiss as rediculous. It is the very special "fringe" where our perception of the possible overlaps with our perception of the impossible, and both become equally believable.

I personally find the scene very impressive, and view it as a strong example of how in terms of architecture, design, height, and even form are all unimportant when compared to the power of context.

In essence, I think that architecture is the most amazing form of politics and philosophy, because it compels the viewer and the architect alike to contemplate ideas in a visual way. Buildings are often allegories of something that isn't said, but implied; and as a result, they often speak far louder, more concisely, and more deeply than words.

When we look at a building, or at an urban landscape, what do we actually see? How much of our architectural taste is based in mental philosophy or preconceptions?
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