When I ponder over my maison de rêve, when I discuss with my near and dear ones, a lot of issues, concepts, ideas, notions and opinions emerge. Why does my mind prefer a kind of style, pattern or space? Why do I love some elements suggested by amado? Why am I not able to see any sense in some of the concepts of my dear ones? From where does the unique thought of my maison de rêve emerge?. These are few of the many unanswered questions that gave me sleepless nights.
I consulted an engineer and architect to build my retirement home, the only two questions the architect was interested in were: how much space you want to buildand what is your budget. I expected the architect to ask my primary considerations and priorities in building the house. Is there anything beyond space and economy that I need to indulge when I think about maison de rêve ?
I was shocked by the way the architect considered my query. I felt annoyed when the architect does not care about my the aesthetic considerations, livability concepts, childhood memories and desires, current likes and dislikes, the unique architectural style I intend to have, (if at all any in my mind). I expected him to ask few questions like, whether I need faux wood ceiling, textured painting, stone cladding walls etc.. etc… In fact, I had some designs handy with me to show him, if he seriously asks any specific style or models. I was even ready to tell him the name of the house cómo llamarlo which would give him some idea about my intentions and style and like likeness.
Even for an ordinary person who survives between the mouth and stomach, probably the two questions asked by the architect would not suffice. A person who imagines building a hut, one who is crawling in penury will have their own unique concepts and ideas of their dream home that would go beyond space and economy which need to be explored. As far as I am concerned, a grownup adult, travelling in the midlife, trying to attain the individuation of personality, with well-defined likes and dislikes, the two basic questions of the architect sounded insufficient and also slightly illogical. I doubt the authenticity of the architect; moreover, is he the right person to design my dream house.
As a person who lived in many cultures and countries, seen a lot of houses in different architectural patterns and styles, I have my own unique preferences when I think of my retirement home. A kind of Tuscan style with an earthy, rustic look predominate my preference list. A house in Spanish flair with terracotta roof tiles, archway to the front door, curves and arches in all directions, arcades sheltered walkways, tower-like protruding chimney finishes on the rooftop, and an interior courtyard, a patio are well fixed in my mind. Added to that, a mix of Tudor architecture too attracts me and catches my imagination. Oriel windows supported by decorative corbels, some timber exposures outside as if supporting the roof, brick and natural stone walls, a fire place to sit and play music or to listen music, watch TV- are all part of my dream house. I prefer a backyard living and like to have my privacy in the backside courtyard as in the Tuscan houses or in Rajput and Mughal architecture. An attached garage in ranch home style is also not out of my imagination. However, when an architect primarily builds a house in a specific budget, many people are extremely happy. Some people are also very content and admire the architect as a perfect designer and the one clearly understood your needs, when he prepares a space well in the limits of your economy. However, there are a world of things that can be identified beyond the conventional space and economy.
I talked with few of my friends who built new houses in the recent past; I talked to many who are interested to talk about buildings; I organised seminar talk for students on architectural psychology; I organised colloquium on art and culture to know the different viewpoints of various groups of people. I requested my students to interview architects; I conversed freely with students of architecture. Kept my mind sharp in gathering information, assimilating ideas and finding a solution to many of the unanswered questions of my mind regarding buildings and houses. As I ponder over and over again, a lot of revelations came to my mind.
As a psychologist, I tried to take shelter in my comfort zone, psychology, to find answers to my many unanswered and troubling questions. Depth Psychology came to my rescue to enlighten me in my confusion. My thinking took a giant leap, from mere spaces to Jungian Symbols via human psyche and the enigma of unconscious that engulfs it.
My outlook on architecture has completely changed and new convictions slowly emerged. When it became a full-fledged thinking, I moved from the conventional space concept of architecture to the unconscious aspect of architecture. The aesthetics, the design, the need, the colour, the style.... everything that we see in a building took a new meaning in me, gave a new meaning to me.
The book looks at Architecural Psychology from four aspects. Space, Psyche, Enigma & Symbols. Every student of architecture must have some basic knowledge about depth psychology is the ultimate focus.