The Right Angle Journal - Fall 2017 - 16

MEMORIAL SCHOOL, NIAGARA FALLS
by IAN ELLINGHAM, PHD, FRAIC

hat makes a place worthy of positive note? Psychologists have been
working on this question for some decades and over the past fifteen
years, the neuroscientists have joined in. There have been fascinating
insights. This is not a frivolous matter - architects, planners and developers all have some responsibility to ensure that the wider population
responds positively to the buildings and cities that they create.
What reasons might there be for regarding a building in a positive manner? For one
thing, an individual might see a building as "beautiful," but there are many other possibilities. One reason, much favoured by builders of tract house and designers of themed
environments, is the concept of the "romantic," a topic that was seriously explored in
buildings, music, painting and literature by the Victorians. The Oxford English Dictionary
offers this definition of romantic: "of, characterized by, or suggestive of an idealized,
sentimental, or fantastic view of reality; remote from experience [...] concerned more
with feeling and emotion than with form and aesthetic qualities." This underlines the
importance of the relationship between the individual and any building, with the concept
of the romantic taking the relationship one step further.
One way of thinking about romanticism is to consider how it differs from what we
might consider realism (a shaky concept at best in this post-truth era). As the OED
suggests, romanticism departs from realism by distorting it to suit the observer's
emotional requirements. This brings us to the phenomenon we know as nostalgia - a
particularly powerful facet of romanticism and a pleasantly flawed method for retrieving a memory. There are buildings that, when I encounter them, I feel a cosy warm
feeling, and memories flood back. To anyone else, they could be the ugliest buildings
you might ever encounter.
As a recreational pursuit I play the clarinet and bass clarinet in a couple of community
bands. It is something I learned in high school, played a bit in university, and picked
it up again a few years ago. Not only does it bring one into contact with people that
an architect may not engage with in the course of his/her travels, but there is nothing
like listening to great music from inside, whether it is Haydn, Glenn Miller, or Queen.
There may be nothing nostalgic about this to any one individual, although much of this
music is distinctly romantic.

How not to capture sunlight in buildings
CARTOON: JOHN CRACE

16 | Read The Right Angle Journal online www.therightanglejournal.ca


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Right Angle Journal - Fall 2017

Message from the Board
Introduction to The Right Angle Journal
Places
Allied Arts & Professions: Light-Colour-Darkness
Index to Advertisers
Locations
The Right Angle Journal - Fall 2017 - Intro
The Right Angle Journal - Fall 2017 - cover1
The Right Angle Journal - Fall 2017 - cover2
The Right Angle Journal - Fall 2017 - 3
The Right Angle Journal - Fall 2017 - 4
The Right Angle Journal - Fall 2017 - 5
The Right Angle Journal - Fall 2017 - 6
The Right Angle Journal - Fall 2017 - Message from the Board
The Right Angle Journal - Fall 2017 - 8
The Right Angle Journal - Fall 2017 - Introduction to The Right Angle Journal
The Right Angle Journal - Fall 2017 - Places
The Right Angle Journal - Fall 2017 - 11
The Right Angle Journal - Fall 2017 - 12
The Right Angle Journal - Fall 2017 - 13
The Right Angle Journal - Fall 2017 - 14
The Right Angle Journal - Fall 2017 - 15
The Right Angle Journal - Fall 2017 - 16
The Right Angle Journal - Fall 2017 - 17
The Right Angle Journal - Fall 2017 - 18
The Right Angle Journal - Fall 2017 - 19
The Right Angle Journal - Fall 2017 - Allied Arts & Professions: Light-Colour-Darkness
The Right Angle Journal - Fall 2017 - Index to Advertisers
The Right Angle Journal - Fall 2017 - Locations
The Right Angle Journal - Fall 2017 - cover3
The Right Angle Journal - Fall 2017 - cover4
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