Beauty and our homes part. 1

author: Mieczysław Sowiński, MA


Chapter I The concept of a single-family house, beauty and architecture 
1.1 The concept of beauty
1.1.1 Objective attitude
1.1.2 Subjective attitude
1.1.3 Mixed, Kantian attitude
1.2 The concept of architecture
1.3 The concept of a single-family house

Chapter II Aesthetic and functional aspect of single-family houses.
2.1 Functional aspect
2.2 Aesthetic aspect

Chapter III Straight line, circle and wavy line in nature and architecture
3.1 What lines do we have and where do they occur
3.2 Waviness of matter
3.3 Bushy or wavy spirit
3.4 Lines in architecture

Chapter IV The emotional value of the line.
4.1 Impressions when considering a straight line
4.2 Impressions when considering the wavy line

Chapter V Is it possible to compromise between straight and wavy lines in architecture? Is beauty in the architecture of single-family houses just an ornament or something else?

Chapter VI Practical solutions. Gaudí and others.



In my long-term work closely related to the secondary or primary real estate market, I very often had contact with projects of residential houses, recreational houses, garages, outbuildings, workplaces, etc. Among all the real estate traded in my company, residential houses attracted the most attention, and especially single-family houses. The selected topic is related to your profession and interests. Through my work, I have witnessed many decisions during which I heard: "I want to buy this house" and different decisions with justifications. A lot of people came to the company to hear opinions about their house: what might be its market value, what should be done to speed up its sale, etc. This type of experience provided me with information about what kind of aesthetic qualities they were looking for in residential houses people I met.

In my work, I want to find and point to aesthetic qualities in today's architecture of single-family houses. I deliberately made such a narrowing down, choosing from all the buildings only those that are the most in our surroundings and we stay in them most often. This choice was made not only because of their popularity, but because I have lived in many such houses myself and experienced the impact they can have on our daily lives. I believed that we should look for aesthetic qualities in them, because for many of us only they are the driving force for action and, like air, necessary for life:

Why is beauty a necessity for man? Because when the beauty in us fades, we wither. And when we shine with radiance, joy and beauty, life in us blooms and rejoices in itself. Beauty is not an artificial flower embroidered on a sheepskin coat. It is part of the rhythm of our heart. It is part of the essence of our soul. Therefore, it shapes the quality of our existence. Beauty is not just psychic oxygen that nourishes our heart and soul. It controls our mind and reason in equal measure. Without beauty, when our mind is cluttered with triviality and ugliness, it can only create an ugly life and an ugly environment. Beauty is an important source of energy for our life system. It is invisible like the oxygen we breathe. And just as important. Without oxygen, we suffocate and die. Deprived of beauty, we also suffocate and may die, albeit much more slowly and with a different kind of death. […] The eternal dilemma - why more beautiful things exist more intensively than less beautiful ones - has just been solved. Because there is more evolutionary life in them. Beauty means life. The more intense the beauty, the more layers of life it contains. When beauty disappears, human life disappears. The crisis of beauty is a crisis of man. Beauty is not a luxury but a human need.”[1] H. Skolimowski, Beauty as a human need, "Aesthetics and Criticism", Krakow 2003 No. 5(2), pp. 76, 87.

I must admit that this quote, out of many I have read so far, inspired me the most, which is why I thought it should be included in my work. By the way, I would like to thank Professor Skolimowski for the above words.

I will try to show that the more widespread use of the wavy line in architecture will lead to a fuller emanation of its beauty, and as a result, our life will be more pleasant and in line with nature. At the beginning, I will try to unify the concepts appearing in the title of the work, advocating the definitions I have chosen. Thesis of my work:

single-family houses more fully expose their aesthetic value, as long as the wavy and straight lines used in them remain in relation to each other in such a relationship as aesthetics to the functionality of the same house

I will try to prove it by comparing and constantly referring to the state and appearance of the current architecture of single-family houses and to the nature that commonly surrounds us.

I feel personally unsatisfied with the research I have done on the definition of beauty. Most of the definitions were accurate, though somewhat incomplete. I decided to choose the one that approached the problem from many angles and was authored by an unquestionable philosophical authority. A more comprehensive elaboration of the evolution of the definition of beauty - with the awareness of its commonly recognized lack - was pointless from the point of view of this work. I have limited my research to the area of Europe, although I know that research on the architecture of the Far East could be very fruitful to support my theses. I chose Europe in order to highlight the raised problem of the angularity of our architecture, which is most visible here in Central Europe.

The first chapter deals with defining the definitions of beauty, architecture, work of art and a single-family home. I adopted this order because I decided that it is worth starting with the most difficult definitions and ending with the simplest ones, which resulted in yet another hierarchy: from the most general to the most detailed. I tried to advocate a specific definition of house, architecture, etc., so that, based on its content, I could consciously and accurately use these concepts later on. In the next chapter, I will try to critically look at two functions of architecture: usability and aesthetic, which I extracted from the definition of architecture I adopted. The next three chapters are reflections on lines. First, I will pay attention to their number, the place of their most frequent occurrence, and finally indicate the one that we like the most from the aesthetic point of view. The penultimate chapter is a theoretical reflection on the compromise between lines in architecture and what is the role of decoration in architecture. I decided that theoretical considerations without real examples would deprive my work of its practical dimension, hence I did not fail to mention Antoni Gaudi in the last chapter. I decided that among all modern and contemporary architects he alone deserves to be called the uncrowned king among his kind.

Due to great problems with finding Polish-language literature dealing with the topic of corrugation in contemporary architecture, I was forced to seek help from English-language authors where I found several interesting books. Although I know the language, it significantly lengthened the process of gathering information, mainly, as before, due to the small number of publications. When exploring the problem of beauty and architecture, I did not avoid information found on the Internet or thoughts of people close to me - especially my beloved grandmother, Stefania Sowińska, whom I would like to thank for her reflections on the beauty of flowers.

This work has greatly contributed to the exploration of topics related to aesthetics, but also to the work I do, during which I try to satisfy desires, guess and meet people's preferences related mainly to having single-family houses.

Chapter I
The concept of a single-family house, beauty and architecture

1.1 Concepts of beauty
            Next to goodness and truth, beauty is one of the three most important human values. It is, like the others, the subject of our constant search:

“There have been and are three most important types of values: goodness, beauty and truth. They were already mentioned together by Plato (Phaedrus, 246 E) and since then they have been present in European thought […] Let us remember: beauty has long been considered one of the three highest values in Western culture.” W. Tatarkiewicz, The history of six concepts, Warsaw 1975, p. 9.

There are three basic positions that interpret beauty due to its subjective, objective or objective-subjective character.

1.1.1 Objective attitude

First, I would like to look for the definition of beauty that is closest to my beliefs among the representatives of its objective theories. These include the Pythagoreans, Plato, Plotinus, almost all medieval and Renaissance philosophers, Hegel and Schopenhauer. In the final stage of the development of the objectivist position, beauty was seen in the idea that is hidden in our mind or in the nature that surrounds us. Our job is to bring it out. Beauty is also perfection, appropriateness, as well as appropriateness, unity in multiplicity. Idealistic concepts of great theories are not convincing, so it's hard for me to favor any of them, except one that recognizes the beauty in ourselves, in our mind. This happens, according to Arthur Schopenhauer, in the mind of a man of genius when contemplating an idea. His mind is completely freed from will to see ideas clearly and to be inspired. In the case of beauty, however, it is in a temporary suspension:

“[...] the joy of beauty consists to a large extent in the fact that entering a state of pure contemplation, deprived of all desire for a moment, i.e. all desires and worries, we somehow get rid of ourselves, that we are no longer an individual who knows for the needs of of his constant willing, the correlate of a single thing, for which objects become the motive, but free from will, the eternal subject of cognition, the correlate of ideas; and we know that the moments when, liberated from the cruel pressure of the will, we get out of the heavy earth's atmosphere, as it were, are the happiest we have. We can deduce from this how happy must be the life of a man whose will is soothed not for a moment, as in the enjoyment of beauty, but is forever soothed, nay, completely extinguished, leaving only that last smoldering spark that keeps the body alive and dies with him. Such a man, who, after many hard struggles with his own nature, has finally completely overcome it, exists only as a pure knowing being, as an undisturbed mirror of light. Schopenhauer, The world as will and representation1, PWN, Warsaw 1994, pp. 589-590.

Schopenhauer's theory was the culmination of the aesthetic theories of his predecessors and referred to the moderate theory of Kant by adopting the motives of disinterestedness and the formality of aesthetic experience.

1.1.2 Subjective attitude

The modern precursor of the distinction between what is subjectively experienced (free beauty) and objectively recognized as aesthetically valuable (convincing beauty) was Claude Perrault. In the 17th century, he initiated an innovative, for those times, perspective on the process of creating beauty in architecture. He was a classic in the practical use of his beliefs, but he brought a lot of new things to the theory of aesthetics. Contrary to the centuries-old tradition, he ennobled to the rank of "first aesthetics", the one that has its source in the subjective experiences of an individual man:

“It must be assumed that there are two kinds of beauty in architecture, namely that which is based on persuasive principles and that which depends only on prejudice. We call beauty based on persuasive principles that which in works must please everyone, because it is easy to recognize their advantages and value, such as excellent building material, such as the grandeur and magnificence of the building, as well as accuracy and precision of execution, and "symmetry", that is, in French, that proportion that produces beauty that is obvious and striking.

And to that positive and persuasive beauty I oppose that which I call arbitrary, because it is the result of the will to give a certain proportion, shape, and outline to things which might have a different proportion without being ugly, and which are pleasing not to accord with principles understood by all. but only out of habit, and because there has been a combination of two completely different things in the mind. By this connection it happens that the mind's appreciation of certain things of which it knows the value is transferred to others of which it knows nothing of value, and imperceptibly comes to value them as much as those. Tatarkiewicz, The history of aesthetics. modern aesthetics, Vol. 3, Arkady, Warsaw 1991, p. 390.

Thus, arbitrary beauty was a subjective evaluation by imposing objective values of beauty on newly perceived things, i.e. arbitrary beauty could be perceived, but only when someone had minimal knowledge of convincing beauty.

Perrault had many critics who criticized his position very extensively and fiercely. With his theory, he underpinned and inspired many contemporary thinkers and theoreticians of art and stimulated a subjective, or rather mixed - subjective-objective - theory of perceiving beauty. Here is how Władysław Tatarkiewicz interprets its role in the history of aesthetics:

“And at the same time, with his theory of 'freedom' in art, he (Claude Perrault) contributed to something opposite: to freedom, freedom, Rococo irregularity, which after the period of classicism prevailed in the 17th century. So he acted in a special, two-fold way. The subjective understanding of beauty was not alien to modern aesthetic thought, at least from Bruno and Descartes. However, it was a side issue, considered only in passing, now it was in the foreground. What's more, it was characteristic only of philosophers, and now, thanks to Perrault, it has entered the theory of art, it has entered the milieu of artists.” Ibid., pp. 388-389.

In my search for the most appropriate, in my opinion, definition of beauty, Perrault's position is all the more valuable as he was an architect, so when talking about beauty, he spoke mainly about contemporary architecture, i.e. about the part of art that interests me the most in this work.

The most famous representatives of the subjectivist theory of beauty include the proposal of David Hume, who explained this highest value in the following way:

“[…] beauty is not a property of objects in themselves; it exists only in the mind that sees it, and each mind sees a different beauty. Some even see ugliness where others see beauty." D. Hume, Essays on Morals and Literature, PWN, Warsaw 1955, p. 194.

The feeling and watching mind is the premise of Hume's theory of beauty, only that this ability to look within ourselves, and thus evaluate our thoughts in terms of aesthetic values, does not come from within ourselves. We feel and perceive because the society in which we grew up shaped us that way, if not for it, we would not be sure that what we see has any value, especially aesthetic. The inner voice or inner conviction is a skill that we acquire along with the experience of being in the presence of things generally considered beautiful or ugly.

I don't think any of the extreme positions stand a chance against criticism, and there is certainly no sense in an extremely subjective position, often supported by the Latin maxim de gustibus non est disputandum. One of the contemporary thinkers, Roger Scruton, wrote about it, calling it a very popular saying, a shield guarding quirks and distortions. Here is what he writes about it:

“It is important, first, to reject a popular thought concerning aesthetic taste, which has been encapsulated in the popular maxim 'de gustibus non est disputandum'. It is said that "it's all a matter of taste" intending to end the argument while also providing credibility to their quirkiness. Surely no one believes in the Latin maxim: it is purely a matter of taste, about which people most often tend to argue. Reasons are given, relationships are established; what is good and bad, right and wrong has been reinterpreted without suspicion of misinterpretation.” R. Scruton, The Aesthetics of Architecture, Princeton New, Jersey 1979, p. 104. It is important, first, to dismiss a certain popular idea of aesthetic taste, the idea enshrined in the familiar maxim that “de gustibus non est disputandum”. “It's all matter of taste”, men say, thinking in this way to bring argument to an end and at the same time to secure whatever validity they can for their own idiosyncracies. Clearly no one really believes in the Latin maxim: it is precisely over matters of taste that men are most prone to argue. Reasons are given, relations established; the ideas of right and wrong, correct and incorrect, are bandied about with no suspicion that here they might be inappropriate.

A little further justifying his thesis, Scruton describes the situation of widespread indignation that often accompanies the construction of, for example, a hypermarket in a quiet district or a skyscraper in Paris. Admittedly, these are not arguments in favor of an objective theory of beauty, because many other things could have caused the outrage. Since many people feel more or less the same aesthetically when evaluating the same thing, one should consider the objective nature of their judgments. Scruton criticizes the subjective attitude, not only in the field of aesthetics, but also in science.

1.1.3 Mixed, Kantian attitude

I cannot endorse any of the above definitions. However, I would like to analyze Kant's point of view of aesthetic values a little more broadly, as it is the most convincing to me, and belongs neither to subjective nor objective theories of beauty.

Immanuel Kant's analysis of beauty can be found in his work entitled Critique of Judgment. He conducted this analysis not in isolation, but in comparison with other values: pleasure and good. Not wanting to lose anything from the meaning of his statements, and artificially extract from his thoughts only those concerning beauty, I decided to leave his comparisons, which do not take away, but on the contrary, add more clarity to his statements.

In the first part of Kant's aesthetic analysis of the power of judgment, we can find some very important definitions that shed light on his later considerations. The ability to evaluate what is beautiful is called taste, intellectual examination of an object for the purpose of cognition, a logical judgment. He deals with the analysis of the aesthetic judgment quite extensively, which he considers to be a conscious image combined with the subject's feeling of pleasure or pain. In the next part, he deals with the subject of the disinterestedness of the judgments of this subject, who is not interested in the existence of a given thing, because it is indifferent to it. But not so indifferent. Such a person - called an arbiter - has taste and makes aesthetic judgments not entirely disinterestedly, because under the influence of feelings, e.g. pleasure, i.e. first there is a feeling, and then a judgment. Because of the experience of pleasure, the arbiter begins to develop a kind of inclination, deprived of judgments about the properties of the object, he begins to savor their existence.

Good is an object indirectly (for something, as a means) or directly (it pleases in itself). It is otherwise with pleasure and beauty, here the thing is always directly pleasing. An object is good when we know what it is, when we have some idea about it. However, this scheme does not work for beauty and pleasure, which are based entirely on feeling.

The power of desire is connected with the liking for: pleasure - pathologically conditioned, good - practically conditioned by the image of the object and the relationship of the subject with the existence of the object. The situation is different with the judgment of taste, which is always contemplative, non-cognitive, not based on concepts or referring to them, referring indifferently to the existence of the object, but only a certain property of it associating with the feeling of pleasure and pain. Of all three tastes, only the judgment of taste about what is beautiful, referring to our favor, gives the subject the most freedom and is disinterested. The object of such a liking is called beautiful.

The requirement of freedom and disinterestedness of the aesthetic judgment leads to the acceptance of this judgment as valid for every human being, who will talk about beauty as if it were a property of the object, and the judgment about it will be similar to a logical judgment. The aforementioned importance for every man is nothing more than the subjective universality of the judgment of taste.

In experiencing pleasure, the principle of subjectivity of sensations applies: everyone has their own taste of the senses. On the other hand, the thing about beauty is that when something pleases only one person, it cannot be called beautiful. It's the same with aesthetic taste, if someone has their own, it means that they don't have any. Pleasure is based on the taste of the senses, beauty on the taste of reflection. Reflection, not based on concepts, is not logical (this is only reflection about what is good, having logical universality; valid in relation to an object as knowledge of this object, and therefore important for every human being) but aesthetic, it is a subjective judgment having "common validity" for each subject, the relation of a certain idea to the feeling of pleasure and pain.

In order to find a certain garment, a certain house, or a certain flower beautiful, we must see it with our own eyes. Despite the fact that we base our judgment on feelings of pleasure and pain, we assume that we have behind us some universal voice, usurping that everyone agrees with it. So the popular vote is just an idea.

Thanks to the imagination, there is a cognition that unifies the diversity of the visual data and the intellect. This process has the property of universally disseminating a certain state of mind leading the free play of imagination and intellect. This universality brings with it the pleasure of being able to communicate one's state of mind. Summarizing the above, it can be said that what is beautiful is what is commonly liked without the mediation of the concept - because this is only the case with good.

Purpose, according to Kant, is the object of the concept, and finality is the causality of the concept in relation to its object. The will is the power of desire, in so far as it can be determined only by means of concepts, in order to act in accordance with the idea of an end. Purposeful is also a state of mind, object or activity when their possibility does not imply some purpose, but causality guided by goals, in other words, the will that created the object, state of mind or activity in accordance with the idea of some rule. Only a subjective finality in the representation of an object can constitute a taste, of which we judge without conception that it is capable of being universally transmitted.

A state of mind determined by acts of the will is itself a feeling of pleasure, which is the cause of the state, not the effect. It is also a delight to be aware of the purely formal purposefulness in the game of human cognitive powers related to some representation of an object. This pleasure determines man and stimulates his cognitive powers, is contemplative and intensifies and reproduces itself. But basing the judgment of taste on the sense of pleasure deprives it of impartiality, especially when it does not elevate the finality of form before pleasure.

Objective finality can be either external (the usefulness of the object) or internal (the perfection of the object), identical to beauty. The subjective one, on the other hand, indicates a certain purposefulness of the state of representations in the subject, and within this state, a certain satisfaction of the subject with capturing a certain form by the imagination, but does not indicate the perfection of the object. It is beauty that is the formal subjective finality of the object.

The aesthetic judgment (of beauty) provides no knowledge of the object at all, relates the representation only to the subject, and shows a purposeful form in determining the imaginative powers that deal with it. Its determining reason is the feeling - through the internal sense - of agreement in the game of mental faculties. The power to create concepts is the intellect, which in the aesthetic judgment appears as the power to determine the judgment and the representation contained in it.

According to Kant, there are two kinds of beauty: free and dependent. The second related to the concept, the first not. At the basis of the judgment about free beauty, no perfection is assumed, no intrinsic purpose to which the combination of diversity into a single whole would refer. The author of the Critique of Judgment attributes to flowers, birds, crustaceans and fantasies in music the name of free beauty, in which the judgment of taste is pure. On the other hand, a man, a horse, a building presuppose the notion of a goal, and thus perfection, therefore when making an aesthetic judgment about the above, we talk about dependent beauty.

Thanks to the combination of aesthetic and intellectual taste, the taste is fixed and certain rules can be dictated to it for reconciling taste with reason, i.e. beauty with goodness. When we compare a representation with an object by means of a concept, it is inevitable that at the same time we do not compare the representation with feeling in the subject. When both of these states agree, the power of imagination becomes fuller.

The prototype of taste, which is based on an indeterminate idea of reason with a certain maximum, may be called the ideal of beauty that we try to create in ourselves. The beauty for which we seek an ideal must be a dependent beauty, established by the concept of objective finality, partly based on reason. The ideal of beautiful flowers, beautiful furniture, a beautiful view - it is impossible to think. Only that which in itself has the purpose of its existence, i.e. man, is suitable among all objects of the world for the ideal of beauty, just as only humanity in his person, as intelligence, is suitable for the ideal of perfection.

Beauty is a form of purposefulness of an object, in so far as it is perceived in it without any idea of purpose.

Beauty is necessarily related to taste. This necessity can be called exemplary, i.e. the necessity of expressing approval by all for a certain judgment, regarded as an example of some universally valid rule.

The taste court imposes on everyone the consent not only to find something beautiful for themselves, but also to believe that others should do the same. This obligation is stated conditionally, it assumes that the subject has a common basis that determines in a universally important way what someone likes or dislikes, it does so only on the basis of feeling. Such a principle Kant calls sensus communis and only with its participation can a judgment of taste be issued. A disposition capable of universal communication of feeling presupposes the sensus communis as a necessary condition for the possibility of universal communication of our knowledge.

From the foregoing considerations it follows that what is beautiful is that which, without the help of the concept, and with the participation of the feeling, is recognized as an object of necessary liking.  TABLE OF CONTENTS


1.2 The concept of architecture

Architecture is a part of art, and more precisely, it belongs to the group of visual arts, where, among others, you can find areas such as painting, sculpture, drawing, etc. According to Wittgenstein's proposal, art belongs to the group of open concepts, i.e. those whose definition we are constantly building and expanding with more and more these are her new shots. Many different theories about art were presented by Bogdan Dziemidok in the second part of his book entitled Contemporary controversies of contemporary aesthetics, while Władysław Stróżewski attempted to present his own definition, where he tries to look at art from the ontic, semiotic and axiological point of view. However, looking for a simple and short definition, I decided to consider Władysław Tatarkiewicz's definition as the most accurate: "a work of art is a reproduction of things, or a construction of forms, or an expression of experiences, but only such a reconstruction, such a construction, such an expression that is capable of delighting, or moving, or shake". W. Tatarkiewicz, The history of six concepts, PWN, Warsaw 1975, p. 52.

In this work, I would like to focus mainly on the issue of our contact with a work of art, or more precisely, understanding it, the ability to read a work of art. Having such an ability, we are able to experience the feelings that Tatarkiewicz indicates in his definition. As Theodor W. Adorno says, art presupposes our mental effort in search of the truth hidden in it. It demands a different kind of reasoning from us, not cause and effect, but a concentric circumambulation of the leading problem. But for now, let's focus only on the leading paradigms related to its reception, as described by Adorno:

“Every work of art, to be experienced in its entirety, requires thought, and therefore philosophy, which is nothing but uninhibited thought. Understanding is the same as criticism, the ability to understand is the ability to realize the spiritual character of what is understood, different from the ability to distinguish truth from falsehood, even if this distinction must be very different from ordinary logic. Art is, to put it emphatically, cognition, but not cognition of objects. A work of art is understood only by one who sees in it the complex form of truth." T. Adorno, Aesthetic theory, PWN, Warsaw 1994, p. 480.

The term "architecture" is one of those that, like "art", is difficult to define. It appears in many areas of our lives. For example, we talk about small architecture, about the architecture of more complex computer programs, or about computer architecture, architects of changes in the field of social or economic life.

Among all these meanings of the word architecture there is one, in my opinion the most important, and which can be best presented only by means of photos, illustrations, etc. Because how else to present something that is visually so different. There have been many attempts to deal with this topic, but as I said, none of them exhausted this topic. Here is one of them:

"What is architecture. As the German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe said, architecture began "when two bricks fit together". It may sound cliché, but Mies was right. By this he meant that architecture is a fully conscious act of building, and this process satisfies not only practical but also artistic needs. Glancey, Architecture, Hachette, Warsaw 2007, p. 17.

Where does the belief of the author of the above definition come from, that attention to the artistic values of buildings began with the appearance of bricks. I believe that people cared about the artistic dimension of their buildings long before bricks were invented. What so significant happened with the invention of bricks. The moment when people came out of the caves was certainly significant, the moment when they started to take their first steps in building, somewhere on top of some mountain, building a temple. However, Glancey's commentary and his interpretation of Roh's thought is much more accurate than what this great German architect said. Similar attempts to define architecture have been made many times.

Recently, architects and representatives of the art world have been trying to define it. Between March 2000 and May 2002, the Gallery of Fine Arts BUNKIER SZTUKI in Krakow asked them to take a stand on the topic: "What is architecture?". However, even this group was unable to agree on one or even several similar definitions of architecture.

Due to the lack of a short and concise definition of architecture, I am forced, as is the case with the definition of art, to limit myself to Glancey's definition of architecture quoted above:

“[…] architecture is a fully conscious act of building, and this process satisfies not only practical but also artistic needs.”J. Glancey, Architecture, op. cit., p. 17.

Let us notice how similar it is to part of the definition of a single-family house, where I also point out the bipolarity of the needs it meets. There we talked about housing and aesthetic needs, here about practical and artistic needs. Therefore, artistic needs should be understood as all our desires related to satisfying aesthetic needs, i.e. those in which, as arbiters of beauty, we evaluate, referring mainly to the feelings of pleasure and pain.

1.3 The concept of a single-family house

The concept of a single-family house is not a philosophical concept, so this part of my work, although thematically related to the rest of it - because single-family houses are part of architecture - will not refer to philosophical sources. I also decided that due to the somewhat practical dimension of this work, I am forced to adopt the most popular definition of a single-family building, so I took it from the currently applicable Construction Law, where in Art. 3 we read that:

"a free-standing building or a semi-detached, terraced or group building, serving housing needs, constituting a structurally independent whole, in which it is allowed to separate no more than two dwellings or one dwelling and commercial premises with a total area not exceeding 30% of the total area of the building .” OJ 1994 No. 89 item 414, art. 3, pt. 2a, – date of access: September 07, 2009.

What mainly distinguishes such a building from a number of others are its two basic features: it must fulfill a residential function and be structurally independent. Is today's building only structural independence, independence? The structure of the building is mainly its walls, ceilings, roof, all based on foundations. If a building is to be considered independent, it should also be equipped with all utilities, i.e. electrical, sewage, water, heating, smoke, ventilation and possibly lightning protection systems. Today, many other installations are added to this list, which depend mainly on the investor's decision. There may also be an alarm, telephone, computer, central vacuum cleaner and many others. Of course, they do not determine its so-called "to be or not to be" single-family building, but if the first part of the definition refers to its residential function, and the next part to residential premises, then one should also mention those features of the building that should to have so that you can live in it. The definition of a single-family house does not necessarily have to be broad enough to include, for example, a building from the last century or from prehistoric times. The development of our thought and the recognition of human needs are so significant that, in my opinion, we should take advantage of their achievements. Man needs to satisfy not only his physiological, but also spiritual needs, i.e. all those that distinguish us from the fauna and flora of the organic world. If a house is a place where a person fulfills his life functions, such as rest, food, sexual needs, etc., then one should not forget about spiritual needs, such as: love, self-realization, prayer, cognition, etc. around the most basic human needs, those which in Abraham Maslow's pyramid of needs are at its base, and at the same time are common to all living matter. In the definition of a building, however, we would like to pay special attention to the needs of man, i.e. to his desires that distinguish him from the rest of the organic world. At this point, I would like to support the duality of the reality that surrounds us and point out that apart from our physicality, i.e. the material sphere of feelings and desires, there is also a world of spiritual feelings and desires that are in the highest part of the above-mentioned pyramid. How can a single-family home meet our spiritual needs? Certainly, it can significantly contribute to their satisfaction by creating favorable conditions for learning, reading, talking with family, talking with friends and, more importantly, positively affecting our well-being. I will write about the influence of geometric figures and other shapes on ourselves a little later, in the fourth chapter of my work.

Due to the spiritual dimension of human life, the definition of a single-family house cannot omit this fact. Therefore, it should read, in its first part, as follows:

"a free-standing building or a semi-detached, terraced or group building, serving to meet the housing and aesthetic needs of man, constituting a structurally independent whole[...]"

Houses, and in this case single-family houses, are also architecture, which in turn is a work of art. A work of art assumes the emergence of aesthetic values in our buildings, and here we can certainly talk about satisfying our spiritual needs.

The house is also a symbolic vision of the house perceived in the aspect of a family asylum of peace, to which the main character of Homer's Odyssey would return, or earlier the subject of sacrifices to the goddess Hestia by the ancient Greeks. For Adam Mickiewicz in Pan Tadeusz, Soplicowo is a symbol of a home that is the mainstay of patriotism and the cultivation of tradition. However, despite the rich content behind such considerations, in this work I would like to focus mainly on what is external, empirically verifiable and what can be described in the context of aesthetic values.

Chapter II.

Aesthetic and functional aspect of single-family buildings

The houses we inhabit can be viewed from several perspectives. One of them, quite important, is functionality, and the other, equally important, is their aesthetic value. In the case of works of architecture, can one say that one aspect is more important and the other less important? What kind of architecture would it be if it only cared about one of them. Let's imagine a work that would be beautiful and admired by many, but would lack ventilation shafts or an internal staircase, which in this case would be outside, bedrooms on the first floor, and a bathroom on the ground floor. You rarely see such cases, but very often we meet houses that can hardly be faulted in terms of their functionality, while in terms of aesthetics they are construction bungles, they breathe coldness and lack any taste. For example, the houses of Varsovians who disfigured our suburbs in the 1980s.

So if the place of our residence is to aspire to the rank of a work of architecture, we must not forget about either of the above-mentioned aspects. However, the question remains open: how to keep the proportions? Should a building be more beautiful than functional, or can it be a little ugly but functional? Finding the golden mean seems to be almost impossible. First of all, we cannot clearly define the concept of beauty, we cannot define what architecture is, and finally, we are not unanimous as to what needs should be satisfied in the first place by a single-family building, and what can be optional or additional.

It all starts with the architect's concept. He is the most important arbiter and builder. It is he who imposes on the project a balance or not between the above-mentioned aspects. An architect, thanks to many years of study and practice in his profession, using computer tools, will easily design for us functional single-family house. However, when a building needs to be given aesthetic value, then it does not have any computer tools at its disposal that would quickly transform the building into a work of art. To do this, an architect must have a taste, or in other words, be an arbiter of aesthetic values, even if only those related to his profession. According to Kant's analytics of beauty, the aesthetic judgment is based on a feeling that usurps the right of universality:

“If objects are judged only in terms of concepts, all notion of beauty vanishes. Therefore, there can be no rule by which someone can be forced to find something beautiful. The judgment as to whether a certain garment, a certain house, or a certain flower is beautiful, cannot be imposed by any talk of reasons and principles. Everyone wants to see an object with his own eyes, as if his liking depended on his feeling, and yet if he calls an object beautiful, he thinks he has some universal voice behind him, and makes the claim that everyone agrees with him. agreed, for otherwise the personal impression would be authoritative only to himself and his taste." I. Edge, Criticism of the power of judgment, PWN, Warsaw 2004, p. 83.

What evokes similar impressions in the architect and the recipients of his work, the feelings of pleasure can be considered aesthetically valuable.

Just as, for example, a computer comes to the aid of an architect when struggling with functionality, so in the case of the aesthetics of a building, the feeling of pleasure and pain would be used by the architect as a tool in struggling with the aesthetic aspect of the works commissioned from him. How to become proficient and skilled in using such a tool based mainly on impressions? Only the frequent stimulation of these sensations and standing in the presence of objects or representations of these objects that are considered aesthetically valuable can develop in an architect this professionally required ability.

Herbert Read, On the Origin of Form in Art, explains the process as follows:

“There are two possible hypotheses that can lead to an explanation of the origins of aesthetic form. The former may be called naturalistic or mimetic, the latter idealistic. According to the first hypothesis, all deviations of form from the requirements of functionality arise as a result of conscious or unconscious imitation of forms found in nature; according to the second hypothesis, the form has its own meaning, that is, it corresponds to and expresses some internal, psychic necessity. read, On the Origin of Form in Art, PWN, Warsaw 1973, p. 69.

Is the building supposed to be the result of the architect's inspiration with nature, or perhaps the result of his individual reflections on the aesthetic values of beauty and ugliness? Or maybe it is supposed to be the result of affirmations that are the result of fascination with the world around him or the virtual world of his imagination? These and many other questions must be answered by the architect before proceeding with the development of the design concept.

Immanuel Kant, pointing to two types of beauty: free and dependent, at the same time gave the theoreticians of the topic discussed here justification for the diversity of their positions. In the work cited above, The Critique of Judgment, he writes:

By this distinction it is possible to put an end to many disputes between the arbiters of taste about beauty, by showing them that one of them speaks of free beauty and the other of dependent beauty, that the former gives a pure and the latter an applied judgment of taste. Edge, Criticism…, op. cit., p. 109.

Those who strive for the functional side of architecture can, on the basis of the above quote, be called the arbiters of dependent beauty. They look for some special purpose in the perceived objects, some function they fulfill. On the other hand, those who look for beauty itself, regardless of any purpose served by a given object, can be called arbiters of free, pure beauty, uncontaminated by a rational analysis of the object's purposefulness.

2.1 Functional aspect

From the definition of a single-family house quoted above, one can deduce its basic function: housing. By this I mean that it should be arranged in such a way that you can feel safe, relax, eat a meal, etc. Therefore, a building should meet many standards in order to fulfill the above functions. In order to rest properly, it must be ventilated, isolated from the influence of external factors and have an appropriate cubic capacity. Preparing meals involves bringing a lot of media to it, and here it is full of norms, regulations and rules. All these norms have their source in the knowledge of man. We know from observation and research that a person needs about 500 liters of oxygen, 7 liters of water, etc., on average per day, so there is something to refer to when creating a number of construction standards and rules. The reference point is always the human body, or more precisely, our physicality. Single-family buildings from ancient times breathed functionality, they were supposed to be comfortable and serve their users well. At that time, attention was paid mainly to the beauty of public buildings:

“The efforts of the early Greek architects were solely in the direction of the temple; the residential buildings of those times were utilitarian and devoid of artistic aspirations. [...] They had little personal requirements; only public buildings were great, not private ones. They did not show off their wealth and did not hide their poverty. W. Tatarkiewicz, The history of aesthetics. Ancient aesthetics vol.1, Arkady, Warsaw 1988, p. 35.

You can quickly find the most popular websites by searching the web House designs single-family homes that can be purchased at a very affordable price. An original project costs twenty or even forty thousand zlotys, so it is not so easy to achieve, because few can afford to overcome such a financial barrier. Below I present computer drawings of the most frequently ordered designs of single-family houses, which we decide on because they are within our financial capabilities.

photo. No. 1: The "Seweryna" project, a single-family house made available on – date of access: September 07, 2009. From left to right: the front of the building and the ground floor plan

Is the house design presented above the beginning of a work of art, a show of the architect's artistry? From the point of view of dependent beauty, looking for purpose, i.e. function, yes, it is a work of art. However, if you want to find aesthetic values in this project and focus only on them, the above-presented project is a combination of rectangles and triangles, only the balcony, roof windows, stairs at the main entrance, with their arched shape stand out and catch our eye. Let us notice how many positive changes the wavy line and round windows at the entrance have made to this project. But do we experience, even in the slightest degree, the pleasure that accompanies us while admiring, for example, flowers, people, generally speaking: shapes that we have been looking at for almost 4 million years? What makes us feel positive when we look at this or that house project? We are able to agree to the above project due to its functionality, due to its dependent beauty, which I wrote about earlier, but if we wanted to fulfill our desires to live in a functionally and aesthetically refined house, we would first have to overcome the financial barrier, which would make us face ten or even fifty times the price of such a single-family house project. Free, independent beauty comes at a price, not everyone can afford it.

However, in order not to stop at just one single-family house design, below I present two others that are very popular:

photo. No. 2: The project "House in firlets" single-family house - source: - date of access: 07 September 2009. From left to right: the front of the building and the ground floor plan

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