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Cynical Optimism Links the Homes of Alain de Botton's Living Architecture Series

09:30 - 13 November, 2018
Dune House / JVA. Image © Nils Petter Dale
Dune House / JVA. Image © Nils Petter Dale

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.”

© Edmund Sumner. ImageBalancing Barn / MVRDV Life House / John Pawson . Image © Gilbert McCarragher A House for Essex / FAT & Grayson Perry. Image © Gilbert McCarragher Secular Retreat / Peter Zumthor. Image Courtesy of Peter Zumthor, Living Architecture + 31