The Architecture of Happiness by Alain de Botton follows up on the constitutional declaration that each and every person enjoys life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness by asserting in no uncertain terms that our happiness results directly from our architectural surroundings, which have a direct influence on our happiness and thus, our lives.
Of the many fulsome reviews which have accrued to this most excellent tome reads, one author weighs in as follows:
“One of the great, but often unmentioned, causes of both happiness and misery is the quality of our environment: the kind of walls, chairs, buildings and streets we’re surrounded by. And yet a concern for architecture and design is too often described as frivolous, even self-indulgent. The Architecture of Happiness starts from the idea that where we are heavily influences who we can be – and argues that it is architecture’s task to stand as an eloquent reminder of our full potential. Whereas many architects are wary of openly discussing the word beauty, the book has at its centre the large and naïve question: ‘What is a beautiful building?’ It amounts to a tour through the philosophy and psychology of architecture, which aims to change the way we think about our homes, streets and ourselves.”
The importance of living within beautiful surroundings is universal to all cultures, it inspires each individual to seek their own best living environment, inspires groups to collectively create better living environments. Those built environments, in turn, reward each individual’s psyche and the collective consciousness at large with a heightened sense of well-being, purpose, and of meaning.
This is the point of the Architecture of Happiness.