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Alain de Botton’s Living Architecture project - a joyful, democratically-minded concept to share quality architecture in the UK - was borne out of personal crisis. The Swiss-born philosopher and author gained fame in both popular and architectural circles following the release of his book, "The Architecture of Happiness."  The book was immediately successful (movie buffs may recall its brief cameo in the 2009 film 500 Days of Summer), but the response unsettled Botton. “...However pleasing it is two write a book about an issue one feels passionately about," he explained to Assemble Papers, "the truth is that - a few exceptions aside - books don’t change anything. I realized that if I cared so much about architecture, writing was a coward’s way out; the real challenge was to build.” More specifically, the real challenge was to build well and build openly. So much of architecture (particularly at the domestic scale) is held privately and exists only in staged photos to the general public. Even in this typology photos focus more on the interplay of light, form, and material, rather than on domestic scenes. People are an afterthought, used more to indicate scale than to suggest animation. It's no wonder "architecture" seems out of reach.  View more View full description
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