Architecture, mysticism and myth


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THE history of architecture, as usually written, with its theory of utilitarian origins from the hut and the tumulus, and further developments in that way—the adjustment of forms to the conditions of local circumstance; the clay of Mesopotamia, the granite of Egypt, and marble of Greece—is rather the history of building: of 'Architecture' it may be, in the sense we so often use the word, but not the Architecture which is the synthesis of the fine arts, the commune of all the crafts. As the pigments are but the vehicle of painting, so is building but the vehicle of architecture, which is the thought behind form, embodied and realised for the purpose of its manifestation and transmission. Architecture, then, interpenetrates building, not for satisfaction of the simple needs of the body, but the complex ones of the intellect. I do not mean that we can thus distinguish between architecture and building, in those qualities in which they meet and overlap, but that in the sum and polarity of them all; these point to the response of future thought, those to the satisfaction of present need; and so, although no hut or mound, however early or rude, but had something added to it for thought's sake, yet architecture and building are quite clear and distinct as ideas—the soul and the body.

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