Beauty and our home part. 1

author: Mieczysław Sowiński, MA


Chapter I. The concept of a single-family home, 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 Concepts of a single-family house

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

Chapter III Straight line, circle and wavy line in nature and architecture
3.1 What are the lines and where do they appear
3.2 Waviness of matter
3.3 Bushiness or wave of 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 while considering the wavy line

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

Chapter VI Practical solutions. Gaudi and others.



In my many years of work closely related to the secondary or primary real estate market, I have often dealt with projects of residential and recreational houses, garages, farm buildings, workplaces, etc. Of all the properties traded in my company, the most interesting especially single-family. The chosen topic is related to your profession and interests. Thanks to my work, I have witnessed many decisions in which I heard: "I want to buy this house" and various decisions with justifications. A lot of people came to the company to hear opinions about their home: what could its market value be, 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 indicate aesthetic qualities in today's architecture of single-family houses. I have made such a narrowing down on purpose, selecting only those that are the most in our surroundings and that we most often stay in among all the buildings. Such a choice was made not only because of their popularity, but also because I have already lived in many such houses and experienced how they can affect our daily life. I thought that one should look for aesthetic qualities in them, because for many of us they are the only forces that stimulate action and, like air, necessary for life:

Why is beauty a necessity for humans? Because when the beauty fades within us, we ourselves 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. That is why it shapes the quality of our existence. Beauty isn't just mental oxygen that nourishes our heart and soul. It rules our mind and reason equally. 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. Deprived of oxygen, we suffocate and die. Deprived of beauty, we also suffocate and may die, albeit much slower and with a different kind of death. […] The eternal dilemma - why more beautiful things exist more intensely than less beautiful - has just been resolved. Because there is more evolutionary life in them. Beauty means life. The more intense the beauty, the more life it contains. When beauty fades away, human life fades away. 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, "Estetyka i Krytyka", Krakow 2003 No. 5 (2), pp. 76, 87.

I must admit that this quote, out of many readings so far, inspired me the most, so I thought that 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 a wavy line in architecture will lead to a fuller emanation of its beauty and, as a result, a more pleasant and more compatible with the nature of our life. At the beginning, I will try to standardize the concepts appearing in the title of the work, opting for the definitions of my choice. Thesis of my work:

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

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 surrounds us.

I feel personally unsatisfied with the research I have done on the definition of beauty. Most of the definitions were accurate, though incomplete to some extent. I decided to choose the one that dealt with the problem from many sides and was authored by unquestionable philosophical authority. A more extensive elaboration of the evolution of the definition of beauty - aware of its generally recognized lack - from the point of view of this work was pointless. I narrowed my research to the area of Europe, although I know that the research on the architecture of the Far East could be very fruitful in supporting my theses. I chose Europe to highlight more the problem of angularity of our architecture, which is the most visible here in Central Europe.

The first chapter deals with the definition of beauty, architecture, work of art, and a single-family home. I took this order because I decided that it is worth starting with the most difficult definitions and ending with the simplest ones, which have formed a different hierarchy: from the most general to the most detailed. I tried to opt for a specific definition of a house, architecture, etc., so that, based on its content, I could then consciously and accurately use these concepts. In the next chapter, I will try to critically look at two functions of architecture: utility and aesthetic, which I have distinguished from the definition of architecture I have adopted. The next three chapters are considerations on the lineage. First, I will pay attention to their number, the place of the most frequent occurrence, and finally to indicate the one that, from the aesthetic point of view, we like the most. The penultimate chapter is a theoretical reflection on the compromise between lines in architecture and the role of decoration in architecture. I decided that mere theoretical considerations without live examples would make my work somewhat practical, therefore I did not fail to mention Antonio Gaudi in the last chapter. Of all the modern and contemporary architects, I have concluded, he is the only one who deserves to be called the uncrowned king among others like him.

Due to big problems with finding Polish-language literature dealing with the subject of waviness in contemporary architecture, I was forced to seek help from English-speaking authors, where I found some interesting books. Although I know this language, it significantly lengthened the process of gathering information, mainly, as before, due to the small number of publications. In exploring the problem of beauty and architecture, I did not avoid the information found on the Internet or the 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 significantly contributed to the exploration of topics related to aesthetics, but also to the work I do, during which I try to satisfy the desires, guess and meet people's preferences related mainly to having single-family houses.

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

1.1 Concepts of beauty
            Apart from good and truth, beauty is one of the three most important values for a human being. It is, like the others, the subject of our constant search:

“There have been and are distinguished three most important types of values: good, beauty and truth. They were already mentioned together by Plato (Phaedrus, 246 E) and have remained in European thought ever since […] 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 essential positions that interpret beauty in terms of its subjective, objective, or objective-subjective nature.

1.1.1 Objective attitude

First, I would like to look for the definition of beauty closest to my beliefs among the representatives of its objective theories. These include the Pythagoreans, Plato, Plotinus, almost all the philosophers of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, Hegel and Schopenhauer. In the final stage of the development of an objectivist position, people saw the beauty of an idea that is hidden in our mind or in the nature that surrounds us. Our task is to get it out. Beauty is also perfection, appropriateness, as well as appropriateness, unity in multiplicity. The idealistic concepts of great theories are not convincing, hence it is hard for me to argue for any of them other than one that recognizes the beauty in ourselves, in our mind. It happens, according to Arthur Schopenhauer, in the mind of a genius when contemplating an idea. His mind is completely free from the will to see ideas clearly and to be inspired. In the case of beauty, however, it is temporarily suspended:

"[...] the joy of beauty consists largely in the fact that when we enter a state of pure contemplation, deprived for a moment of all wanting, i.e. all desires and cares, we are, as it were, giving up ourselves, that we are no longer an individual who knows for the needs of his incessant wanting, 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, freed from the cruel urge of will, we emerge from the heavy atmosphere of the earth, are the happiest we have. We can conclude from this how happy the life of a man must be, whose will has been soothed not for a moment, as in enjoying the beauty, but is soothed forever, indeed, it has completely died out, leaving only the last smoldering spark that keeps the body alive and alive. goes out with it. A man who, after many hard fights with his own nature, has finally overcome it completely, exists only as a purely knowing being, as an undisturbed mirror of light ”A. Schopenhauer, The world as a will and a show, vol. 1, PWN, Warsaw 1994, pp. 589-590.

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

1.1.2 Subjective attitude

The modern precursor of the distinction between what is subjectively experienced (arbitrary beauty) and objectively regarded as aesthetically valuable (convincing beauty) was Claude Perrault. In the 17th century, it initiated an innovative, for those times, approach to the process of creating beauty in architecture. He was a classic in the practical use of his beliefs, while he brought a lot of new to the theory of aesthetics. Contrary to centuries of tradition, he ennobled him to the rank of "first aesthetics", the one which 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 convincing principles and that which depends only on prejudices. We call beauty based on convincing principles that everyone must like in works of art, because it is easy to recognize their advantages and value, such as perfect building material, the size and magnificence of the building, accuracy and precision of workmanship, and >> symmetry <<, that is, in French, such a proportion which produces an obvious and striking beauty.

And to that positive and persuasive beauty I contrast the one I call any, because it is the result of my will to give a certain proportion, shape and outline to things that could have a different proportion without thereby being ugly, and which pleases not in accordance with the principles understood by all but only out of habit and because two completely different things have been combined in the mind. Thanks to this connection, it takes the appreciation of the mind for certain things of which it knows value to others of which it knows nothing of value, and imperceptibly begins to value them as much as the others. ”W. Tatarkiewicz, History of aesthetics. Modern aesthetics, vol. 3, Arkady, Warsaw 1991, p. 390.

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

Perrault had many critics who criticized his position extensively and vehemently. With his theory, he supported and inspired many contemporary thinkers and art theorists, and stimulated a subjective, or rather a mixed - subjective-objective - theory of perception of beauty to life. Here is how Władysław Tatarkiewicz interprets his role in the history of aesthetics:

“At the same time, with his theory of 'arbitrariness' in art, he (Claude Perrault) contributed to the opposite: to the rococo latitude, liberty, and irregularity that prevailed in the 17th century after the Classicist period. So he had a special, twofold effect. The subjective understanding of beauty was no stranger 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 is more, it was peculiar only to philosophers, and now, thanks to Perrault, it entered the theory of art, it got into 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 because he was an architect, so when talking about beauty, he mainly spoke about contemporary architecture, so 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 views it, and each mind perceives 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 seeing mind is an assumption of Hum's theory of beauty, only that this ability to look inside oneself and thus evaluate one's 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 so, if not for it, we would not be completely sure that what we perceive has any value, especially aesthetic. Inner voice, or inner conviction, is a skill that we acquire with the experience of being in the presence of things generally considered beautiful or ugly.

I do not believe that any of the extreme positions will stand a chance against criticism, and it certainly does not make sense to be extremely subjective, 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 as a shield that guards quirks and perversions.

"It is important, first of all, to dismiss a certain popular thought about aesthetic taste, which has been encapsulated in the popular maxim" de gustibus non est disputandum ". It is said that "everything is a matter of taste", thus intending to end the argument and at the same time provide credibility for their quirks. Certainly no one believes the Latin maxim: it is only a matter of taste about which most people tend to argue. Reasons are given, relationships are established; what is good and bad, right and wrong has been re-interpreted without suspicion of misinterpretation. " R. Scruton, The Aesthetics of ArchitecturePrinceton 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 neighborhood, or a skyscraper in Paris. These are not arguments for supporting the objective theory of beauty, because many other things could have been the source of the outrage. Since many people feel more or less the same aesthetically when judging the same thing, it is necessary to reflect on the objective nature of their judgments. Scruton criticizes the subjective attitude, not only in the field of aesthetics, but also science.

1.1.3 Mixed Kantian attitude

I cannot support any of the above-mentioned definitions. However, I would like to analyze a bit more the Kantian point of view of aesthetic values, as it is the most convincing for me, and does not belong to either subjective or objective theories of beauty.

An analysis of the beauty of Immanuel Kant can be found in his work entitled The Critique of the Power of Judgment. He did this analysis not in isolation, but in comparison with other values: pleasure and good. Not wanting to lose anything of the sense of his statements, and to artificially extract from his thoughts only those relating to 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 the Kantian analysis of the aesthetic power of judgment, we can find some very important definitions which shed light on his later considerations. The ability to judge what is beautiful by taste, to study the object intellectually in order to know it, by a logical judgment. He deals quite extensively with the analysis of the aesthetic judgment, which he considers to be a conscious image combined with a feeling of pleasure or pain in the subject. In the next part, he deals with the subject of the disinterestedness of the judgments of this subject, not interested in the existence of a given thing, as it is indifferent to him. But not that completely indifferent. Such a person - called the arbitrator - has a taste and makes aesthetic judgments not entirely selflessly, because under the influence of feelings, e.g. pleasure, that is, first a feeling appears, and then a judgment. Due to the experience of pleasure, the arbiter begins to develop a kind of inclination in himself, devoid of judgments about the properties of an object, he begins to savor their existence.

An object is good either indirectly (to something, as a means) or directly (pleasing to 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 pattern does not work for beauty and pleasure that are entirely based on feeling.

The power of desire is combined with a liking for: pleasure - pathologically conditioned, good - practically conditioned 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 an object, but only associates a certain quality with a feeling of delight and unpleasantness. Out of all three preferences, only the judgment of 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 the freedom and disinterestedness of an aesthetic judgment leads to the acceptance of this judgment as important for every human being, who will talk about beauty as if it were the property of an object, and the judgment about it would be similar to a logical judgment. The aforementioned importance for every human being is nothing else than the subjective universality of the judgment of taste.

There is a principle of subjectivity of sensations in experiencing pleasure: everyone has their own taste of the senses. On the other hand, with beauty, when only one person likes something, it cannot be called beautiful. It is similar with aesthetic taste, if someone has his own, it means that he does not have it at all. The experience of pleasure is based on the taste of the senses, beauty on the taste of reflection. Reflection, not relying on concepts, is not logical (this is only reflection about what is good, having a logical universality; important in relation to an object as knowing this object, and therefore important for every human being) but aesthetic, it is a subjective judgment possessing "common importance" for each subject, the relation of a certain image to the feeling of pleasure and unpleasantness.

To consider a certain garment, a certain house, or a certain flower as beautiful, we must see it with our own eyes. Despite the fact that we base our judgment on feelings of pleasure and distress, we assume that we have some common voice behind us, usurping that everyone would agree with it. The popular voice is only an idea.

Thanks to the imagination, a cognition is created that unites the diversity of visual data and the intellect. This process has the property of the universal impartation of a certain state of mind, involving the free play of the imagination and the intellect. This universality entails the delight of being able to impart one's state of mind. Summing up the above, it can be said that what is beautiful is what, without the mediation of the concept - because it is so only with good - is universally liked.

The end, according to Kant, is the object of the concept, and the purposefulness is the causality of the concept in relation to its object. Will is the power of desire, insofar as it can be determined only by concepts, in order to act according to the image of a goal. A state of mind, an object, or an activity is also purposeful when its possibility does not imply a goal, but goal-driven causality, in other words, a will that created the object, state of mind, or activity as envisioned by some law. Only a subjective purposefulness in presenting an object can constitute a delight which we judge without a concept as capable of being communicated by the general public.

A state of mind determined by volition is in itself a feeling of pleasure which is the cause of the state, not the effect. The very awareness of the purely formal purposefulness in the game of human cognitive powers related to some representation of an object is also a delight. This pleasure determines a person and stimulates his cognitive powers, it is contemplative and it intensifies and reproduces itself. However, basing the judgment of taste on a sense of pleasure deprives him of impartiality, especially when he does not put the purposefulness of form ahead of pleasure.

Objective purposefulness may be either external (object's utility) or internal (object's perfection), identical to beauty. The subjective one indicates a certain purposefulness of the state of representations in the subject, and within this state, a certain satisfaction of the subject with the appreciation of a certain form by the imagination, but it does not indicate the perfection of the object. It is beauty that is the formal subjective purposefulness of an object.

The aesthetic judgment (about beauty) does not provide any knowledge of the object at all, it 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 inner sense - of harmony in the game of mental powers. The power to create concepts is the intellect, which in aesthetic judgment acts as the power to define judgment and its representation.

According to Kant, there are two kinds of beauty: free and dependent. The second is related to the concept, the first is not. At the base of the judgment of free beauty, no perfection or intrinsic purposefulness is assumed which would be related to the unification of the diversity. The author of the Critique of Judgment Power assigns to flowers, birds, crustaceans and fantasies in music the title of free beauty, in which the judgment of taste is pure. On the other hand, a man, a horse, and a building assume the notion of a goal, and thus perfection, therefore, when judging an aesthetic judgment about the above, we speak of dependent beauty.

By combining aesthetic and rational preferences, the taste is established and it can be dictated by certain rules of harmonizing taste with reason, i.e. beauty with good. When we compare a representation with an object by means of a concept, it cannot be avoided not to juxtapose the representation with the feeling in the subject. When both these states agree, the power of imagination becomes more complete.

The prototype of taste, which is based on an undefined idea of the mind with a certain maximum, can be called the ideal of beauty that we are trying to create in ourselves. The beauty for which we seek an ideal must be dependent beauty, established by the notion of objective purposefulness, partly based on reason. The ideal of beautiful flowers, beautiful furniture, beautiful view - it is impossible to think. Only that which in itself possesses the purpose of its existence, that is, 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, insofar as it is perceived in it without imagining any purpose.

Beauty is necessarily related to liking. This necessity can be called exemplary, i.e. the necessity for everyone to express approval of a certain judgment, considered as an example of some universally valid rule.

The judgment of taste makes everyone agree not only to consider something beautiful, but also to believe that others should do the same. This duty is expressed conditionally, it assumes that the subject has a common basis for everyone, which in a commonly valid way determines what someone likes or dislikes, it does it only on the basis of a feeling. Kant calls this principle sensus communis, and a judgment of taste can be issued only with its participation. A disposition capable of communicating affection generally presupposes sensus communis as a necessary condition for the possibility of communicating our cognition.

It follows from the above considerations that what is beautiful is what, without the help of a concept and with the participation of feeling, is known as the object of a necessary liking.  CONTENTS


1.2 The concept of architecture

Architecture is part of art, or more precisely, it belongs to the group of visual arts, where, among others, you can find such fields as painting, sculpture, drawing, etc. these are new shots of it. Bogdan Dziemidok presented many different theories about art in the second part of his book, Contemporary Controversies of Contemporary Aesthetics, while Władysław Stróżewski made an attempt to present his own definition, where he tries to look at art from an ontic, semiotic and axiological point of view. However, looking for a simple and short definition, I decided to consider Władysław Tatarkiewicz's definition the most accurate: "a work of art is a recreation of things or a construction of forms, or an expression of experiences, but only such a reconstruction, such a construction, an expression that is capable of delighting, touching, or shake". W. Tatarkiewicz, The history of six concepts, PWN, Warsaw 1975, p. 52.

In this work, I would like to emphasize the issue of our contact with a work of art, and more precisely understanding it, the ability to read a work of art. With this 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 requires a different kind of reasoning, not cause and effect, but a concentric circle around the leading problem. But for this moment, let's focus only on the leading paradigms related to its reception, described by Adorno:

“Every work of art, in order to be experienced in its entirety, requires a thought, and therefore a philosophy that is nothing other than an unstoppable thought. Understanding is the same as criticism, the ability to understand - the ability to be aware of the spiritual nature of what is understood, other than the ability to distinguish truth from falsehood, even though this distinction must be very different from ordinary logic. Art is, emphatically speaking, cognition, but not cognition of objects. A work of art is understood only by those who see it as a complex form of truth. " T. Adorno, Aesthetic theory, PWN, Warsaw 1994, p. 480.

The concept of "architecture" belongs to the group of those that, like "art", are difficult to define. It appears in many areas of our lives. There is talk, for example, about small architecture, 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, 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 have already 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 were fitted together". It may sound cliche, but Mies was right. He meant to say that architecture is a fully conscious act of building, and this process satisfies not only practical but also artistic needs. ”J. Glancey, Architecture, Hachette, Warsaw 2007, p. 17.

Where does the author's conviction of the above definition come from that the care for the artistic value of buildings began with the appearance of bricks? I believe that people cared about the artistic dimension of their buildings long before they invented bricks. Well, something so significant happened with the invention of bricks. The moment when people left 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. On the other hand, Glancey's comment and his interpretation of Roh's thoughts are much more accurate than what this eminent German architect said. Similar attempts to define architecture have been made many times.

Recently, architects and representatives of the art world have tried to define it, and between March 2000 and May 2002, the BUNKIER Sztuki Fine Arts Gallery in Krakow invited to their place, asking them to take a position on the subject: "What is architecture?". However, this group was not able to agree on one or at least 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 settle for the above-quoted definition of Glancey's architecture:

"[...] 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 note how similar it is to the part of the definition of a single-family house, where I also pay attention to the bipolarity of the needs it satisfies. There we talked about housing and aesthetic needs, here about practical and artistic needs. Thus, 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 detached building or a semi-detached, terraced or group building, serving to meet housing needs, constituting a structurally independent whole, in which it is allowed to separate no more than two residential premises or one residential premises and business premises with a total area not exceeding 30% of the total area of the building . " Journal of Laws 1994 No.89, item. 414, art. 3, point 2a, - access date: September 7, 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 the foundations. If a building is to be recognized as a stand-alone building, it should also be equipped with all utilities, i.e. electricity, 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 can also be an alarm, telephone, computer, central vacuum cleaner and many more installations. Of course, they do not constitute its so-called "to be or not to be" a single-family building, but if the first part of the definition refers to its residential function, and the next to residential premises, then one should also mention the features of the building that it should have. have so that you can live in it. The definition of a single-family house does not necessarily have to be wide enough to include, for example, a building from the last century or from prehistoric times. The development of our thoughts and learning about human needs are so significant that, in my opinion, one should take advantage of their achievements. Man needs to satisfy not only his physiological, but also spiritual needs, i.e. all those that differ 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, eating, sexual needs, etc., then one should also not forget about the spiritual needs satisfied here, such as: love, self-realization, prayer, cognition, etc. Today's definition of a building focuses on around the most basic human needs, those which in Abraham Maslow's pyramid are at its base and are at the same time common to all living matter. In the definition of a building, however, we would like to pay special attention to human needs, i.e. those desires that distinguish it 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, which 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 influencing 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 home cannot ignore this fact. Therefore, it should read, in the first part, as follows:

"A free-standing building or a semi-detached, terraced or group building, serving to meet the residential and aesthetic needs of a human being, structurally constituting an 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 presupposes the appearance 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 a home perceived as a family haven of peace, to which the main character of the Odyssey Homer used to return, or the subject of sacrifices to the goddess Hestia by the ancient Greeks. For Adam Mickiewicz in Pan Tadeusz, Soplicowo is a symbol of the house, which is a mainstay of patriotism and the cultivation of tradition. However, despite the rich content behind this type of considerations, I would like in this work to focus my attention 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 live in can be viewed from several perspectives. One, quite important of them, is functionality, and the other, equally important, is their aesthetic value. In the case of architectural works, can one say that one aspect is more important and the other less important? What an architecture that would only care for one of them. Imagine a work that would be beautiful and admired by many, but without 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. Such cases are rarely seen, but very often we meet houses, which can hardly be faulted in terms of their functionality, but aesthetically they are a construction rubbish, they breathe coolness and lack any taste in them. An example may be the so-called Varsovians, which in the 1980s disfigured our suburbs.

So if our place of residence is to pretend to be a work of architecture, we must not forget either about one or the other of the above-mentioned aspects. However, the question remains open: how to keep the proportions? Should the building be more beautiful than functional, or can it be a bit ugly but functional? Finding the golden mean seems 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 a single-family building should meet in the first place, and what may 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 whether or not to maintain a balance between these aspects. An architect, thanks to many years of study and practice in his profession with the use of computer tools, can easily design a 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 taste, taste, or, in other words, be an arbiter of aesthetic values, at least only those related to his profession. According to the Kantian beauty analytics, an aesthetic judgment is based on a feeling usurped by the law of universality:

”If judgments are made about objects only in terms of concepts, all notions of beauty disappear. So there can be no law by which one can be compelled to find something beautiful. No one can impose a judgment on whether a certain dress, a certain house or a certain flower is beautiful, with any talk about the reasons and principles. Everyone wants to see the object with their own eyes, as if whether or not he likes it depends on feeling, and yet, if he calls the object beautiful, he thinks that he has a voice of general public behind him and makes the claim that everyone should be with it. he agreed, otherwise the personal impression would be reliable only for himself and his liking. ”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 helps an architect while struggling with functionality, in the case of the aesthetics of a building, the feeling of delight and unpleasantness would serve as an architect's tool in dealing with the aesthetic aspect of the works ordered from him. How to become skilled and skilled in using such a tool based mainly on impressions? Only frequent stimulation of these impressions and standing in the presence of objects or representations of those objects that are considered aesthetically valuable can develop in an architect this professionally required skill.

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

“There are two possible hypotheses that could explain the origins of the aesthetic form. The former can be called naturalistic or mimetic, the latter - idealistic. According to the first hypothesis, all deviations of the form from the functional requirements arise as a result of conscious or unconscious imitation of forms found in nature; according to the second hypothesis, form has its own meaning, that is, it corresponds to some internal, psychological necessity and expresses it. ”H. 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 is it supposed to be the result of affirmations that result from his fascination with the world around him, or with the virtual world of his imaginations? These and many other questions must be answered by the architect before starting to develop the concept of the project.

Immanuel Kant by pointing to two types of beauty: free and dependent, at the same time gave theorists of the topic here a justification for the diversity of their positions. In the above-quoted work, The Critique of the Power of Judgment, he writes as follows:

"With this distinction, it is possible to put an end to many disputes among the arbors of taste about beauty by showing them that one speaks of free beauty and the other of dependent beauty, that the former seems pure and the latter applies a judgment of taste." Edge, Criticism…, Journal of Laws, p. 109.

On the basis of the above quotation, those who strive for the functional side of architecture can be called the arbiters of dependent beauty. They search for a specific purpose in perceived objects, some function they fulfill. On the other hand, those who seek beauty itself, regardless of the purpose of a given object, can be called arbiters of free, pure beauty, not contaminated by rational analysis of the object's purposefulness.

2.1 Functional aspect

From the above-mentioned definition of a single-family house, its basic function can be read: residential. By this I mean that it should be arranged in such a way that you can feel safe in it, rest, eat, etc. Therefore, in order to be able to fulfill the above functions, the building should meet many standards. In order to rest properly, it must be ventilated, insulated from the influence of external factors and have an appropriate volume. Preparing meals involves bringing many media to it, and here it is full of norms, regulations and rules. All the aforementioned norms have their source in the knowledge of man. We know from observations and studies that an average person needs about 500 liters of oxygen, 7 liters of water, etc. daily, so there is a lot to refer to when creating a number of building standards and rules. The reference point is always the human body, and more precisely our physicality. Single-family buildings from ancient times breathed functionality, were to be comfortable and serve their users well. At that time, the main care was taken for the beauty of public buildings:

“Efforts of the early Greek architects went solely towards the creation of a temple; The residential buildings of those times had a utility character, they were devoid of artistic aspirations. […] They had little personal requirements; only the public buildings, not the private ones, were magnificent. They did not show off their riches and did not hide their poverty. " W. Tatarkiewicz, History of aesthetics. Ancient Aesthetics vol. 1, Arkady, Warsaw 1988, p. 35.

By searching the websites, you can quickly find the most popular single-family house designs that can be purchased at a very affordable price. The original project is an expense of twenty or even forty thousand zlotys, so it is not so easily achievable, because few can afford to overcome such a financial barrier. Below I present computer drawings of the most frequently ordered single-family house projects, which we decide on because they are within our financial possibilities.

Photo No. 1: "Seweryna" project single-family house available at - access date: September 7, 2009 Sequentially from the left: 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 its creator's architectural skill? From the point of view of dependent beauty, seeking an end or function, yes, it is a work of art. However, if we wanted to find aesthetic values in this design and focus only on them, the above-presented design is a combination of rectangles and triangles, only the balcony, roof windows, stairs at the main entrance, their arched shape stand out and catch our eye. Notice how many positive changes the wavy line and round windows at the entrance made in this project. But do we experience, albeit to the slightest degree, the pleasure that accompanies us when looking at this project, when we admire, for example, flowers, people, generally speaking shapes that we have been looking at for almost 4 million years? What makes us feel positive when watching this or another 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 have to overcome the financial barrier in the first place, which would make us face ten or even fifty times the price of such a single-family house project. Beauty is free and independent, not everyone can afford it.

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

Photo No. 2: The project "House in firletkach" single-family house - source: - access date: September 7, 2009 Sequentially from the left: the front of the building and the ground floor plan

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