Published in North Hills Monthly Magazine, this collection of editorial features is from the third year in an ongoing series addressing architectural issues of the home.
List of essays included: significance, thresholds, grounding, circularity, creativity, measure, resonance, invisibility, entropy, symbiosis, armatures, tensiles.
In my twenty plus years of designing homes, I have come across only one homeowner that did not like stone as a building material. Stone is as close to a universal preference if any such thing exists. It is no surprise, as it has been used as a building material ever since humans started building.
Architects think about materials in many different ways. Their structural qualities, durability over time, thermal capacity to moderate temperature, porous nature to absorb and filter water, not to mention the aesthetic beauty of materials visually, tactilely, and acoustically. An architect must consider characteristics like these in the construction of a house, however I believe it is the emotional aspect of a material that is at the heart of architecture.
All of the physical qualities of a material converge together into a perception of that material, subconsciously. This perception is simply a feeling we have, that takes into account all of its physical characteristics like texture, color, warmth, but also metaphorical references such as a romantic ideal or past memory. For example, the stone steps in a backyard might remind of stepping stones in a secret garden from one’s childhood home, creating a sense of playful magic and mystery to their current home. All of this happens in an instant – the materials that define the spaces we inhabit, create emotional impressions influencing what we think and feel.