Functional Living

Tuesdays, I have my Japanese class in the morning and a meeting in the afternoon with a two-hour break in between. Usually, I try to get something done in that break, and I have written a lot of letters, emails, and blog posts over lunch. But today was such nice and sunny weather, that I decided to go down to the river and have my lunch box there.

And there I sat musing… I looked at the houses nearby, some old wooden buildings, many apartment blocks, some new, and some older. And, looking at them, I thought how easy it was to distinguish them: It seems to me that the older a house is, the more pretty it is, or at least, the more time and thought appears to have gone into building something that is pleasing to the eye – and probably to the people living there.

Modern buildings today are not like that anymore, especially individual houses look like shoe boxes. To begin with, there are no gardens that need daily care and attention and pruning. Instead, we get parking lots in front of main entrances, in concrete slabs that be hosed down quickly if ever the need arises. This is not only striking when comparing family homes, but also clearly visible at the apartment blocks. To me, modern buildings look cold, mass-produced, and rejecting. A current architect would probably rather call them “functional”.

HoneycombBut, we are not machines that need to “function”. We are humans, we are only living. And living is messy and dirty sometimes and it has no straight lines and right angles as far as the eyes can see. It is rough and random and unpolished. It would be nicer, I think, if people’s homes would represent that again, somehow. Meanwhile, I’ll keep dreaming of my house with garden…