Why Architecture Matters

Why Architecture Matters

by Paul Goldberger
Yale University Press, September 30th, 2009

Paul Goldberger’s long-awaited Why Architecture Matters, published in late 2009, is not a work of architectural history or a guide to the styles or an architectural dictionary, though it contains elements of all three. The purpose of Why Architecture Matters is to “come to grips with how things feel to us when we stand before them, with how architecture affects us emotionally as well as intellectually”—to show us how architecture affects our lives and to teach us how to understand the architecture that surrounds us every day. “Architecture begins to matter,” Paul Goldberger writes, “when it brings delight and sadness and perplexity and awe along with a roof over our heads.” He shows us how that works in examples ranging from a small Cape Cod cottage to the “vast, flowing” Prairie style houses of Frank Lloyd Wright, from the Lincoln Memorial to the highly sculptural Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and the Church of Sant’Ivo in Rome, where “simple geometries…create a work of architecture that embraces the deepest complexities of human imagination.”

Alain de Botton, author of The Architecture of Happiness, called Why Architecture Matters “a succinct, lyrical and heartfelt essay that celebrates the best works of architecture and points the way to being able to build more of it in the world today. There are so many guides to the world of art, so few to the world of architecture. This is among the very best.”   Witold Rybczynski called Why Architecture Matters “a beautifully written and generous meditation on the art of building that every aspiring architect should read.”

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