Architecture, the built environments are esthetic and poetic experiences, as well as potential meeting grounds between the foundations of a society, and each one of us, individually and collectively.
Architecture is like a concentrate of designs, of search for meaning and of the possible meaning of the environment in which we live, that can awaken our reflection towards this individual and collective thinking.
Thirty years or more of deconstruction of the built environment, the product of an organization dominated by a one dimensional political and economic thinking, that translates itself through the anarchic extensions cities, of suburbs and villages, which are literally cut off from the older neighborhoods and inhabitants, just as are the shopping centers that are nothing more than a string of windowless boxes, the shiny, "vulgar" and self sufficient office buildings...
This incoherent hodge-podge has participated in lulling to sleep and conquer a public opinion that does not see anything wrong with these constructions, with these neighborhoods that completely wipe out traditional urban and rural fabrics, landscapes and the specific nature of environments, thus leaving but little room for an architecture and city planning which are in a search for meaning...
They ask us: why do you give yourself so much trouble?
Feeling well in a place
Is the ability to create and design places that participate in and express the beauty of the world, environments in which one feels well, and that allow those living in them to express and contribute to this wellbeing.
These are places that, like the rays of the sun, glow with a presence and incite us to reveal the best of ourselves, and this at every scale, from the large landscapes to regional and city projects, network and public spaces, neighborhood and building projects, to the smallest everyday design detail.
“Small is beautiful” (E.F. Schumacher) and “God is in the details” (L. Mies van der Rohe).
It is not necessary to be a professional or to ask for someone else’s opinion : we all feel the difference between a good, a less good and a really bad space.
Feeling well in a place. It is a little like feeling good inside, it could be the wish of all the inhabitants, and of all the architects that feel responsible, and who respects those to who are the recipients of the projects.
Feeling well in a place, this can start, inversely, from one's home, from the most intimate, flowing from inside to outside, crossing the threshold, journeying up the streets and reaching the public square and then to the open fields.
It is a way of learning of seeing, listening, walking, talking, going about, inscribing one’s body in the space, and meeting others.
There are many who don’t know what to do with themselves, how to live in their bodies, their own being, the city, and how to approach another.
Being haunted by this question of well-being, of creating, of giving, of sharing, is a question of method and ethics.
There’s a human logic to all of this, a coherence, life and what we create inextricably woven together with the going back to the beginning spark, as with the first meeting the other.
Feeling good in a place is another way of asking oneself what is the purpose of an architect, a planner.
There are places that seem to have been like carved out as if they have always been there, as they participate in man's history, and whose harmony and beauty continue to live and enchant those that live there or who pass by.
On refers to this as the genius loci.
There is the city that builds and undoes itself, that is continuously reconstructing itself upon itself. There is the earth, the rivers, air and the trees, loved and mistreated, who continue to call out for help and respect. There are all of these environments to consider.
Learning to live in the world, to make it habitable.
From where to begin ?
Bernard Kohn et Françoise Séloron