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Can A Building Change Me?


How does the built environment affect who I am? That seems like an odd question to me. Has a building ever changed who I am? Have I ever walked out of a building and literally come out a different person? I don’t think so.

Buildings have, however changed my feelings, my actions and my thoughts while I was in them.

For example, when I was at the top of the Saint Louis Gateway Arch, I felt unsafe and frozen by the height, all the time wondering how the framework of the building was holding up. The opposition that I was faced with was gravity and the construction of the building that I was in. I couldn’t think beyond the fears that the building was oppressing me with.

Chartres 1.jpg

I have also been fortunate to visit the Chartres Cathedral in France. That building is amazing. When I was inside of it, it inspired a sense of awe in me. I felt a reverence for the ability of mankind to build such a creation, so long ago. The Cathedral is overflowing with Frameworks, Clockworks and Phenomenon. The multiple arches that support the ceiling seem to be too much of an engineering feat for people to have accomplished so long ago. Simply the height of the building made me feel weak in the knees and wonder how it was put together.

The work of this cathedral crushes the oppositions of entropy, gravity, climate and materials. It is the combination of all these conquered oppositions that induces the Phenomenon that one feels upon entering this great building.

Walking through this building perhaps made we wonder about the possibilities of man. If man could build something like this so long ago, imagine what I could do today!