Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Monday, 22 September 2008

Inside is what counts

Diafani diary 2. Other than the sea, the arid surrounding mountains and (by far the most important) the people, Diafani lacks facilities. It is definitely not a resort. Yet visitors return.

One welcome returner was Dr Ljiljana Blagojević, associate professor with Belgrade University’s architecture faculty, who lived in London for eight years. This year I asked her for examples of good modern architecture I might be familiar with.

Her first – and immediate – choice was the Festival Hall. What a pity RFH is so close to the ugly National Theatre, I said. Oh no, the NT is also well-designed.

Then I realised that unlike most architects Dr Blagojević was talking internals rather than externals and evoking Le Corbusier’s “machine for living” or its variant “machine for enjoying leisure activities”. This recalled my Wisteria Paradox - the disparity between time spent looking at and (we hope!) admiring the outside of our houses compared with the time spent using and appreciating their inner features.

A disparity born out of a visit to a friend’s 400-year-old Wiltshire cottage: beautiful to look at outside but a nightmare of electrical compromises from installing wiring systems on and around impenetrable walls a metre thick.

Our present house is ten years old and its appearance is functional (see inset). Yet it is the most comfortable and practical home we have occupied. It could look nicer but I feel sure we’d pay a price for this inside. Not something we’d willingly accept.

3 comments:

Avus said...

Just called by to return your visit and I agree about the modern house thing - ours, too, was bought new some 11 years ago. It is practical, warm, comfortable and economical - the complete antithesis of the large, old, three-storied-and-a-cellar town house in which we brought up the family.
I see that you are a motorcycle nut, too. I enjoyed your posts on them.
Glad I called by. Keep the kettle on - I shall visit often!

Barrett Bonden said...

Having read the above post Dr Blagojević points out that the initial two letters of her first name are in fact just one letter, the cyrillic л. Yet her visiting card renders this as jl, no doubt to simplify things for the monoglots of the world. Yet another reminder of how easy we anglophones have it.
PS: More diacriticals to follow later this week.

Julia said...

I'm a fan of late 19th century buildings myself - the proportions and materials are often more generous than modern and the walls and windows are so much easier to live with than older buildings. I had an office in a building from the 14th century once, and after a year we moved because we so missed the light and the clear height!