An interesting plainness is the most difficult and most precious thing to achieve

The quote that’s often attributed to architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, can be traced to the following article by R.M. Schindler written in 1926 entitled “Care Of The Body“.

(the quote is on page 6)

How refreshing the article bring forth in terms of home concepts. Layers of air in an air tight room at night creating localized draft and stagnant air pockets, contrast between life around over-crowding for a limited source of water vs an abundance of treated water on the tap, foretelling of showers dominating bath tubs, “wholesome” camp fire heating methods (i.e. radiation based) vs the insulating materials of the day (to trap hot air for heating), the house changing in character from being a “den” to an open “shelter” against rain (windows from small opening to glass walls) over-inviting sunlight that then needs to be curtained, and yet having over-glaring light “fixtures” that single-source light in darkness, etc. and drawing parallels for each of the above back to our ancestor’s behaviors, on how fear used to dictate how we build houses, and how it has changed to incorporate the “fluidness” of life that we now are.

As we evolve, there’s no longer a “fire place” as a center for social gatherings, in its place lies the 42″ LCD/Plasma TV, and that things is generating quite a bit of radiating heat (as predicted)! I particularly like this one: “If a design or picture is good enough, a whole room should be devoted to it. Repetition or grouping with similar bad ones will not improve its quality”, which speaks to the garish wall papers – fortunately it’s no longer a fashion.

It’s also interesting to think about how this long evolution of the physical dwelling is now repeated online, but at such a short time frame, from individually disconnected websites (like in 2002) to an open sharing platform with all sorts of visitors coming to play (like in 2008) to even communal gardens like facebook.

Wherever we dwell, we should suite it to our lives, our style, no matter how plain it is.

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