Architecture - An Obsession

I'm obsessed with architecture. I think it's one of the most fascinating subjects there is.

It influences us constantly, the interiors and exteriors we're surrounded by. It reveals history too. The gothic churches in France remind us of the Capetian kings and how they allied themselves with the powerful bishops to defeat rebellious feudal lords. Even if you don't know that history when you see the tall, elaborate features of these churches you sense the power, the symbolism of what they represent.

If I ever become wealthy or an influential politician I'd like to take on large architectural projects. I'd build social housing that had elements of classical design like columns, pilasters and lintels. I believe if we gave people better homes to live in they would have greater aspirations. The concrete tower blocks that were hastily built around the '60s were awful, in my opinion, because they had very little design at all. I'd call them anti-architecture. However brutalism, the style of architecture that uses steel and concrete in massive blocks and which aims to be more functional than anything else, isn't universally bad. The National Theatre in the South Bank in London is an interesting and thought provoking example.

I also think the few large building companies that dominate house building in the UK should be reined in and made to improve their standards. It's not good enough building identikit cookie-cutter houses that have barely any character. The vast majority of housing recently built here and still being built lacks almost any inspiring feature. I'd like to see more sliding-sash Georgian windows, arched doors, mansard roofs, walls decorated with reliefs, louvre window shutters, fake (decorative) horizontal wooden planks like New England houses, art nouveau balconies with tall French doors.

Okay, I've got it out of my system now. Anyone else have a similar obsession?