Saturday, October 21, 2006

On The Real Meaning of Architecture

Andrew Jackson Downing (1815-1852) was an early Victorian architect, horticulturalist, and landscaper, who is most responsible for the introduction of the Gothic style in the United States. His most famous book, "The Architecture of Country Houses" is a poetical and practical introduction to what a house and home ought to be: a blend of Faith and Reason, appealing to both intellect and feelings, with both comfort and affordability, and not a Modern "machine for living in" nor an ostentatious show of expenditure. He took his profession seriously, and wanted to design homes that were good for both the soul and body, and that were well-fitting with American culture, geography, and climate.

He writes about an America that is still recognizable today, how easy access to money leads to ostentation in architecture: a man may wish to live in a castle, but unless there is a bit of the castle in the man, it will end up dwarfing him. Dowling writes that a wealthy man should live in an expensive house, and a working man should live in a cottage, but that both should be beautiful and affordable to each. To Dowling, there is no excuse for either squallor or snobbery.

Sometimes it seems that Dowling is paradoxical, and his writing today will not satisfy either the Fundamentalist nor the Liberal, for it is barely modern in philosophy. Instead, it tends towards philosophical orthodoxy, attempting to find the golden mean between extremes. Beauty and Function, to Dowling, are separate factors that must never be confused, nor should one be sacrificed for the sake of the other: however, they are indeed interrelated, and fused in the very best art. Likewise, Dowling is a democrat and republican, and writes from an American viewpoint, but he does not dismiss the beauties and forgotten truths of the past. Finally, he recognizes both eternal truth and relative circumstance, and his theory of beauty embraces both in their proper place.

Downing was responsible for early plans of Central Park in New York City, but drowned at a young age in a steamboat explosion.

CERTAINLY the national taste is not a matter of little moment. Whether another planet shall be discovered beyond Le Verrier's may or may not affect the happiness of a whole country; but whether a young and progressive people shall develop ideas of beauty, harmony, and moral significance in their daily lives; whether the arts shall be so understood and cultivated as to elevate and dignify the character; whether the country homes of a whole people shall embody such ideas of beauty and truth as shall elevate and purify its feelings; —these are questions of no mean or trifling importance.

Now, the real progress which a people makes in any of the fine arts, must depend on the public sensibility and the public taste. Sensibility to beauty must exist, and there must be some means afforded of developing and cultivating the taste; for, however instinctive and natural a gift the former may be, a correct taste is only the result of education: the feeling must be guided by the judgment.

While a general ignorance on the subject of architecture among us, must be admitted, we must also avow that the liveliest interest in it is now strongly felt on all sides. And this very ignorance is mainly owing to the dry and barren manner in which architects have usually written on the real meaning or philosophy of their art. It would seem that men who work out beautiful thoughts in ponderous stone, seldom wield so slight an implement as a pen with grace and power. Why else should nine-tenths of even the educated, believe that the whole circle of architecture is comprised in the five Orders; or, at most, that a Greek temple and a Gothic cathedral are the Alpha and Omega of the art? Why should so many of the most intelligent persons imagine, that Domestic Architecture is only perfect when it is similar to that of public edifices; or, at least, when it borrows all its ornaments from such structures?

It is not an easy task to lay bare the principles of an art, compounded thus of the Useful and the Beautiful; to show how and why it appeals so powerfully to the whole nature of man-to his senses, his heart, and his understanding. But it is, perhaps, this very compound nature of Architecture, this appeal which it makes to the sensation, the sentiment, and the knowledge of man, which has left it in so unsatisfactory a shape to the popular apprehension; which has caused it to be looked upon by some as the mere province of the builder; by others, as the object of enthusiastic admiration, and by the rest as a subject of scientific investigation; until half the world imagines the beauty of an edifice, like genius, to be a happy accident, to be enjoyed when found, but as difficult to seize as the rainbow itself.

It would be a boon to the age, if some gifted artist would show the world the secret sources of the influence which Architecture wields in all civilized nations. This is as far beyond our province as our ability. Still, we must be indulged in a brief analysis of the elements of interest which Architecture possesses for the human mind, and a glance at the partially concealed sources of that power which it exerts over our hearts and understandings. Something of this kind seems to us to be demanded by the inquiring mind and the expanding taste of cur people; and Domestic Architecture itself, which, amid the louder claims of civil and ecclesiastical art, has been too much neglected, seems to demand a higher consideration in a country where the ease of obtaining a house and land, and the ability of almost every industrious citizen to build his own house, constitute a distinctive feature of national prosperity.

The senses make the first demand in almost every path in human life. The necessity of shelter from the cold and heat, from sun and shower, leads man at first to build a habitatiom. What this habitation shall be, depends partly on the habits of the man, partly on the climate in which he lives. If he is a shepherd and leads a wandering life, he pitches a tent. If he is a hunter, he builds a rude hut of logs or skins. If he is a tiller of the soil, he constructs a dwelling of timber or stones, or lodges in the caverns of the rocky hill-sides. As a mere animal, man's first necessity is to provide shelter; and, as he is not governed by the constructive instinct of other animals, the clumsiest form which secures him against the inclemency of the seasons, often appears sufficient: there is scarcely any design apparent in its arrangement, and the smallest amount of convenience is found in its interior. This is the first, primitive, or savage idea of building. Let us look a step higher in the scale of improvement.

On the eastern borders of Europe is a tribe or nation of the Sclavonic people, called the Croats, who may be said to be only upon the verge of civilization. They lead a rude, forest, and agricultural life. They know nothing of the refinements of the rest of Europe. They live in coarse, yet strong and warm houses. But their apartments are as rude as their manners, and their cattle frequently share the same rooms with themselves.

Our third example may be found in any portion of the United States. It is nothing less common than a plain, rectangular house, built of timber from the forest saw-mill, with a roof to cover it, windows to light it, and doors to enter it. The heat is kept out by shutters, and the cold by fires burnt in chimneys. It is well and strongly built; it affords perfect protection to the physical nature of man; and it serves, so far as a house can serve, all the most imperative wants of the body. It is a warm, comfortable, convenient dwelling.

It is easy to see that in all these grades of man's life, and the dwellings which typify them, only one idea has as yet manifested itself in his architecture-viz. that of utility. In the savage, the half civilized, and the civilized states, the idea of the useful and the convenient differ, but only in degree. It is still what will best serve the body-what will best shelter, lodge, feed, and warm us-which demands the whole attention of the mere builder of houses.

It would be as false to call only this, Architecture, as to call the gamut music, or to consider rhymes poetry, and yet it is the framework or skeleton on which Architecture grows and wakens into life; without which, indeed, it can no more rise to the dignity of a fine art, than perfect language can exist without sounds.

There are also certain principles which belong to building (as this useful part of Architecture is properly called), which are of the utmost importance, since they may not be in the slightest degree violated without proving more or less destructive to the enjoyment of the finest work.

Many of these are mechanical principles involved in masonry, in carpentry, and other kinds of artisanship, which are sufficiently familiar in their nature to the general reader, and are subjects of technical expertness on the part of those employed in building.

But there are also other principles besides these, which govern the workmen in their labors, and which must always control even him who only aims at the useful in Architecture. The first and most obvious of these rules of utility is, that the cost of the building shall not exceed the means of the owner or occupant. Out of a want of practical knowledge in the builder grow, not unfrequently, mistakes that are fatal to the use of a house, since, if too much is expended in the whole structure, the owner may be forced to sell it to another, rather than enjoy it himself: if too much is expended on a part, the economy necessary in the remainder, may render parts of the house uncomfortable from defects in their construction.

The second rule governs the quality of the materials and workmanship employed in the construction. That the materials should be of the soundest and best quality in the best edifices, and of ample strength and durability for the end in view, even in those of the humblest class, is a rule which may never be for a moment violated by the builder, without injury to the structure. Nature here, as always, must be constantly respected, or she punishes severely all infringements of her laws. A wall that is not perpendicular, a foundation that is not firm, a roof that is not tight, a chimney that smokes, sooner or later, but inevitably, shows the builder's want of comprehension or respect for the laws of gravitation or the atmosphere, and impairs or destroys the usefulness of all architecture.

The last and highest rule of utility is that which involves convenience. In all architecture, adaptation to the end in view is important; in domestic architecture it is a principle which, in its influence on our daily lives, our physical comfort and enjoyment, is paramount and imperative. Hence, however full of ornament or luxury a house may be, if its apartments do not afford that convenience, comfort, and adaptation to human wants, which the habits of those who are to live in it demand, it must always fail to satisfy us, or to merit the approval of the most matter-of-fact critic. Such a house may be compared to a column with well-moulded shaft and richly decorated capital, but composed of such flimsy material that it will bear no weight; or, to a person whose education has been that of accomplishments, with a total neglect of solid acquirements.

This practical part of architecture involves, more particularly, what is called the plan of a building-providing apartments for the various wants of domestic and social life; adapting the size of such apartments to their respective uses, and all other points which the progress of modern civilization has made necessary to our comfort and enjoyment within-doors.

The illustration of these points will be found, to a considerable extent, in the treatment of the various designs which follow. It may be remarked, however, that no absolute rules for guidance can be laid down here. Domestic life varies not only in different countries, but even in different portions of a territory so broad as that of the United States. Even different families have somewhat various habits, and therefore require different accommodations. The ingenuity and talents of the architect must therefore be put in full activity, even to meet the requirements of this humblest platform of his art. And we may add, that it is a proof of weakness rather than strength, to treat with' the slightest neglect, this, its wholly utilitarian side. To the majority of mankind the useful is the largest satisfaction derived from architecture; and while an able architect will always treat the materials placed in his hands for a new design, so as to give something of the expression of beauty even to the simplest forms, he must never imagine that in his art he can largely neglect the useful for the beautiful. As in the Apollo every muscle must be found which enters into the body of the hardiest daylaborer, so in all perfect architecture no principle of utility will be found sacrificed to beauty, but only elevated and ennobled by it.

We have shown as yet, only the Useful in architecture. At least, we have endeavored to show how an edifice may combine fitness in all respects, how it may be strong, well built, warm, comfortable, and convenient, and no more. To attain this there is no need of its displaying any appreciable grace, harmony, or beauty; nay, it may be even faulty in its proportions, and unpleasing in effect. Such examples are, in fact, every day before us-buildings which completely answer the useful requirements of man, and yet give not a ray of pleasure or satisfaction to his heart or understanding. And yet there are persons who, because the Useful and the Beautiful, in some arts, may be most intimately combined, imagine that they are identical. This is the grossest error, of which, if the commonplace buildings we have just quoted are not a sufficient refutation, abundant others may be drawn every day from the works of nature or art.

A head of grain, one of the most useful of vegetable forms, is not so beautiful as a rose; an ass, one of the most useful of animals, is not so beautiful as a gazelle; a cotton-mill, one of the most useful of modern structures, is not so beautiful as the temple of Vesta; yet no one thinks of comparing them for utility.

The truth then is undeniable, that the Beautiful is, intrinsically, something quite distinct from the Useful. It appeals to a wholly different part of our nature; it requires another portion of our being to receive and enjoy it. There are many, to whose undeveloped natures the Useful is sufficient; but there are, also, not a few who yearn, with an instinct as strong as for life itself, for the manifestation of a higher attribute of matter-the Beautiful. We have said that the Useful in architecture is based wholly on the physical wants of man; that it is a response to the demand of our senses. We may also add that the Beautiful is an original instinct of the sentiment of our nature. It is a worship, by the heart, of a higher perfection manifested in material forms. To see, or rather to feel how, in nature, matter is ennobled by being thus touched by a single thought of beauty, how it is almost deified by being made to shadow forth, even dimly, his attributes, constitutes the profound and thrilling satisfaction which we experience in contemplating the external works of God. To be keenly sensible of the power of even the imperfect reproduction of such ideas in the various fine arts-poetry, music, painting, sculpture, architecture, etc.-is to acknowledge the power of beauty over our feelings in another and a more personal form.

To desire to surround ourselves with such sources of enjoyment, rather than to be content with mere utility, is only to acknowledge the existence of a sentiment which, next to the religious one, is the purest and noblest part of our nature. Looking at the subject before us, it must be admitted, that if it is a step forward in civilization to separate ourselves from our cattle, rather than share our apartments with them, like the Croats, it is a much higher step to evince, by the beauty of our architecture, that our hearts are alive to some of the highest emotions of which they are capable.

What is beauty in architecture? In order to rid ourselves of the vague and indefinite meaning which hangs about this part of our subject, like a thick mist, in the minds of most persons, let us examine it somewhat closely. All beauty in architecture seems to us to resolve itself into two kinds-Absolute and Relative.

ABSOLUTE BEAUTY lies in the expression, in material forms, of those ideas of perfection which are universal in their application. We find them in nature as well as in art. We find them in the figures of the heavenly bodies, in the orbits of planets, in drops of water, in animal forms, in the growth of trees, in the structures of crystals. This proves not only that they are divine in their origin, but that they pervade all time and space. These typical ideas of beauty are PROPORTION, SYMMETRY, VARIETY, HARMONY, and UNITY. They may be called abstract ideas of beauty of form, and apply to all the arts, as well as to every thing in nature-to a symphony of Beethoven or a statue by Powers, as well as to the sublime curve of Niagara or the varied outlines of the Alps. In order that the uninitiated reader may be able to analyze and understand these universal ideas of Beauty, let us look at them, architecturally, a little in detail.

A fundamental idea of the Beautiful in architecture is Proportion. PROPORTION, in material objects, is the relation of individual parts to the whole. Mr. Ruskin has cleverly defined it to be "the sensible relation of quantities." In all the arts, it is the realization of the most perfect idea of the height, breadth, outline, and form of the object aimed at, and therefore involves the highest single feeling of pure material beauty. In architecture, proportion is shown first in the composition of the outline or mass of the entire building. If endowed with this quality, it will neither be too long nor too broad, too low nor too high. It will exhibit to the eye, at a glance, that nice relation of all the parts to each other and to the whole, which gives to that whole the stamp of the best, most suitable, and perfect form.

Proportion may be shown in the smallest building as well as in the largest; in a cottage of twenty feet as well as in St. Peter's of ten acres. In the former, however, it is much more simple, as it involves only the height and breadth of a few parts: in the latter, it is evolved by the skilful grouping of many parts. Hence, in large piles of buildings, the central mass is raised up in a dome-like or pyramidal form, not only for the sake of making a whole, but also to give that proportion of the whole which great extent and the multiplication of parts render necessary. But proportion does not merely govern the form of the whole mass in architecture; it descends into the smallest details. It demands that the height of a room, of a window, or a door, should accord with its breadth and length The minutest object, the smallest details, are equally capable of expressing it. It applies as well to the form of a cornice, a moulding, or an ornament, as to the whole outline of the edifice itself.

Proportion, in architecture, has been aptly likened, by a German writer, to time in music-that measure which confers a completeness of form on the entire melody; and though the parallel cannot be carried so closely as to enable us strictly to agree with Madame de Stiel, who called architecture "frozen music," the illustration is scarcely less forcible.

That proportion is one of those qualities of beauty most universally felt, it does not require any argument of ours to prove. The immediate delight which all persons experience in a well-proportioned human figure, a statue, or a Grecian column, is well known. That this is quite independent of education, that it only requires sensibility to beauty, is equally true. Hence the want of proportion in a building is felt as a great and irremediable defect, at the first glance, by many who are totally ignorant of architecture as an art; and hence, if absent, it is a fundamental want, for which no decoration, no style, no beauty of parts, however excellent in themselves, can ever wholly compensate.

One would suppose that some definite rules would have been deduced for the production of so fundamental a quality as this, in architecture. (Mr. Hay, of Edinburgh, in his ingenious treatise on Beauty of Form, has endeavored to prove that the Greeks, whose architecture certainly displays the most perfect proportions, were possessed of a system of rules which enabled them uniformly to produce it.)

But no such rules exist at the present day, and its production seems to depend mainly on the genius of the artist. That education and study of the best examples will aid in the appreciation of it, is undoubtedly true; but the many blunders in proportion, which the works of modern artists exhibit, prove that it is one of the qualities of beauty less vividly felt, and less easily produced, than any other, at the present time.

SYMMETRY is that quality of beauty in material objects which may be defined, that balance of opposite parts necessary to form an agreeable whole. Thus, in the human figure, it is the joining of the opposite sides, each with its separate limbs, which makes the whole symmetrical: if an arm is wanting, the symmetry is destroyed. In trees, it is seen in the balance of the opposite sides of their heads: if a large limb is cut away, the balance is lost. In architecture, it is the arrangement on each side of a centre, of two parts that balance each other, and that do not make a whole without this centre. Hence the superior effect of a building which is a plain cube with a wing on each side, over a cube without wings. The wings raise the character of the form from uniformity to symmetry. This leads us to remark here, that regularity and uniformity, two qualities common in architecture, are often classed as distinct elements of beauty in themselves. They may be such, in an artistical point of view, as denoting the presence of art, but they are, in fact, only primary steps towards symmetry, which comprehends them both. A regular building in architecture is one in which a given form is repeated at regular distances, such as a square house in which the same windows and doors are repeated at regular intervals, or a long row of houses in a street, in which the same general forms are regularly repeated.

A uniform building is one in which the same forms are repeated on all sides; as a cubical house with the same windows all round, or a block formed of two or more houses exactly alike, and placed side by side. Symmetry involves something more. It asks for a central part, which shall connect the two other parts into a whole, and thereby make something involving a more complete idea than regularity and uniformity. Thus Design VI. is a symmetrical cottage, from the front of which neither the central part nor the sides can be taken away without destroying the composition as a whole. The difference between this and a regular or a uniform building of the same length, is that the latter might be divided into several parts, each of which is equally regular and uniform, and therefore as complete in itself as the whole building. Symmetry is one of the greatest beauties in all architecture.

The author of "Modern Painters" conceives it to be the symbol of abstract justice; and certainly, in material forms, when joined to proportion, it conveys at once an idea of completeness of form, which gives universal satisfaction. The Grecian temples owe to these two elements their great and lasting power over the human mind for so many ages; for it is a beauty which may be bestowed on a cottage, a villa, or indeed any kind of building; and as it is one which appeals intuitively to every mind, it is never neglected by artists who wish to impress the Beautiful upon their works.

Symmetry is quite distinct from proportion. It is only necessary to remember that it is a balance made between opposite parts, and that proportion is the relation between all the parts, to comprehend it more clearly. Thus, a statue may be perfectly symmetrical on all sides, and yet too short or too high in its proportions. The central part of a symmetrical building, like that in Design VI., might be raised or lowered several feet, without injuring the symmetry of the composition, though the proportion would be at once destroyed. It has been justly said, that though symmetry is not the highest quality of beauty, yet no object can be perfectly beautiful without it. Hence, in many beautiful objects, where, from the nature of the structure or purposes, exact or regular symmetry is impossible, a certain balance must be found, before they can give full satisfaction.

There are, then, in nature and art, two kinds of symmetry; that which is regular, and strikes us at a glance, like that of a poplar or fir tree whose limbs are equal on all sides of the head; and that which is irregular, such as we see in a spreading oak with branches unequal, but forming altogether a head which is equally symmetrical with respect to the trunk. The strict application of the principle of a regular balance of parts, as it would be deduced from our remarks, would prevent our finding any symmetry in all irregular buildings. But in fact this is not the case. The most irregular building, if composed by an artist of genius, will always evince symmetry; that is to say, it will form an outline, in which there will be a central portion or point, which unites two sides into one symmetrical whole; two parts, which, if they do not balance each other in exact forms and proportions as in regular symmetry, do balance in the general impression which they make on the eye, in the mass and grouping of the composition. The villas in Designs XXI., XXTT., are examples of irregular symmetry, and may be compared with the symmetrical villas, in some of the other designs. Any building so irregular as not to show some recognition of this principle of irregular symmetry, can never be called beautiful, though it may be strikingly odd or grotesque.

We may remark here, that buildings in an irregular style, highly expressive of irregular symmetry, are much more striking in a picturesque point of view, and are therefore preferred by many artists. They are more expressive of character and individuality (in other words, of relative beauty) than of abstract or universal beauty; and while they are, perhaps, not so agreeable to the universal mind, they are far more so to certain mental organizations. We may also add, that irregular symmetry can rarely be expressed, with much success, in a small edifice. It requires considerable extent, and the ntroduction of a variety of parts, to enable one to introduce this quality, in a manner altogether satisfactory, in a dwelling of small size. For this reason those cottages and small villas give the greatest pleasure, in which proportion and regular symmetry are the prevailing elements of beauty.

VARIETY, though always a subordinate, is still an essential quality of absolute beauty. As, in nature, it gives richness and interest to landscape, to sky, to the vegetable and animal kingdoms, so, in art, it adds to the interest of the whole by the diversity which it affords in the arrangement, sizes, or forms of the different parts. In architecture, variety is of the greatest value, often preventing simple forms from degenerating into baldness, or plain broad surfaces from being monotonous, by its power in the arrangement or the decoration of details; for it is in the details of regular and symmetrical buildings, such as the cornices, mouldings, etc., that variety is chiefly to be introduced. In irregular buildings there may also be variety in the various parts, projections, recesses, towers, etc. A slight difference in the forms, sizes, or decorations of certain parts of a building, is sufficient to give it an expression of variety, and by the judicious employment of this quality, every architect is able to increase the beauty of his whole composition. But it should be remembered that in architecture, even more than in the other arts, it must be kept under the control of the judgment, since, if carried to a great length, it leads to confusion, the result of which is always painful and destructive of all beauty. Intricacy, which is a complex sort of variety, is therefore to be avoided in domestic architecture, as likely to become wearisome and perplexing.

HARMONY is an element of beauty little understood, though in the highest degree necessary to our enjoyment of all complicated or elaborate productions. It may be defined, an agreement made in the midst of the variety of forms, sounds, or colors, by some one feeling which pervades the whole and brings all the varied parts into an agreeable relation with each other. Thus, in landscapes involving the utmost variety of colors and forms, the softening effect of the atmosphere spread over them brings all into harmony: in music, changes of opposite character are brought into harmony by dominant chords: in painting, strong contrasts of colors are introduced, not only without discord, but with a most powerful and agreeable effect, by the introduction of some other tint or some pervading tone that brings the whole into harmony.

In architecture, harmony, in its highest sense, is only possible in buildings of considerable extent, where there is sufficient variety of form and outline in the parts to demand its presence. In simple and regular buildings, when the same forms are repeated with little or no variation throughout, harmony cannot exist, because there is no tendency to confusion or disagreenlent; and the beauty of harmony is only felt when it so presides over all, like the charm of a golden temper, or the glow of a rich sunset, as to bring every thing it touches under the influence of its magical power for unison. As simple examples of the production of harmony, we may mention the Ionic column, in which the agreement between the circular lines of the shaft and the straight line of the entablature is brought about by the intermediate, partly straight and partly curved lines of the volutes. In Gothic architecture, the squareheaded door and window heads are made to harmonize with those of pointed form, by introducing an arched spandril under the square-head. A rosette in the middle of a square ceiling, is out of harmony with it; but it may be made to harmonize, by surrounding it with a border in which the two forms are ingeniously blended. The facade of a villa in which a round tower is joined to the square angles of straight walls, is destitute of harmony; but harmony is made by repeating the same feeling of the beauty of the curve in the arched windows.

(See the Norman villa-Design XXI.) In Mr. King's villa, at Newport (succeeding page), the architect has introduced a variety of Italian window forms. The effect would be discordant, were it not that the arched or round-headed window predominates over all, and brings out of this great variety a complete harmony.

Examples of this kind might be multiplied to an endless extent, but we have said enough to suggest how the presence of this predominant feeling gives unity and completeness to a whole composition, which, without it, would only show tasteless diversity and discord. In domestic architecture, the feeling of harmony is more demanded, and more easily evinced in the interiors than in the exteriors of houses-because the interiors show a greater variety of lines, forms, and colors; or in the shape and arrangement of the rooms; or in their architectural decorations, and their furniture. Harmony is evinced in all these cases, by rejecting all forms, outlines, and colors that do not intrinsically admit of being brought into harmonious agreement with each other.

Harmony may pervade an entire mansion, so that all its portions and details exhibit the most complete agreement throughout, or it may be confined to each apartment, extending its influence only over the various objects which enter into its composition. As regularity is the simplest quality of absolute beauty, and the first recognized, even by those of least sensibility to the beautiful, so harmony, being the most complex, is the last recognized, and usually requires some cultivation to lead us to its full perception. We see, every day, buildings in which symmetry and proportion are not wanting; but those in which we find these united to variety, and the whole pervaded by harmony, are comparatively rare. It by no means follows, however, that SIMPLICITY is without its charms, because harmony, which can only grow out of the display of a greater variety than simple forms admit, involves a higher charm. On the contrary, the pleasure which in a small building we derive from simplicity or chasteness, is far greater than that derived from the pretension of harmony, since, in a small cottage, there is no legitimate reason for variety.

It is plain, therefore, that proportion and symmetry are the proper sources of beauty in a cottage of small size, and that we should look for variety and harmony only in private dwellings of a larger size, where there is opportunity for the production of these elements.

UNITY is the highest idea or quality of abstract beauty, for it comprehends, includes, and governs all the others. It is the predominance of one single feeling, one soul, one mind in every portion, so that, whether of the simplest or the most complicated form, the same spirit is recognized throughout the whole. To understand the value of Unity, we may suppose a building finely proportioned, symmetrical, varied, and harmonious, and yet composed of such different and unsuitable materials as to have no unity of substance; or of different though perhaps harmonious kinds of architecture, so as to have no unity of style; or of different hues, so as to have no unity of color; or, in character, partly a cottage, partly a farm-house, and partly a villa, so as to have no unity of expression. Ideas of beauty, of various kinds, there certainly would be in such buildings, but no unity-nothing to indicate that they sprang from a single comprehensive feeling, or from one wise and consistent mind.

RELATIVE BEAUTY. Having shown the qualities of simple or absolute beauty —the sources of Our pleasure in what is commonly called "beauty of form," we turn to the consideration of relative beauty-that beauty which expresses peculiar moral, social, or intellectual ideas. and which is usually termed "beauty of expression." Relative Beauty, in architecture, is the expression of elevated and refined ideas of man's life. In this art, its first and most powerful expressions are those of his public life, or his religious and intellectual nature-in the temple, the church, or the library or gallery of art —all forms of Civil Architecture. Its secondary expression is confined to the manifestation of his social and moral feelings, in the dwellings which man inhabits; and this is Domestic Architecture. We cannot better convey an idea of the beauty of expression of which the grander generic forms or styles of architecture are capable, than by the following brief description by another
* Literary World

"In the forms of the Gothic cathedral are embodied the 'worshipping principle, the loving reverence for that which is highest, and the sentiment of Christian brotherhood, or that perception of affiliation which is founded on recognizing in man goodness and truth, and reverencing them in him. This is expressed in the principal lines, which are all vertical [aspiring, tending upward]; in the whole mass falling under, or within the pyramidal (the fire, or symbol of love) form; in the pointed character of all the openings, ogive, as the French call it, being the ideal line expressive of firmness of base, embracingness of tendency, and upward ascension, as its ultimate aim; and in the clustering and grouping of its multiple parts. Gothic architecture being thus representative rather of the Unity of Love, than of the diversities of Faith, it seems proper that it should be the style used for all ecclesiastical and other purposes having reference to religious life.

"But it is not Gothic art, alone, that has developed the form of some principle of life: all architecture is as expressive. In Roman art, we see the ideal of the state as fully manifested as is in the Gothic the ideal of the church. Its type-form is the dome —the encircling, overspreading dome, whose centre is within itself, and which is the binding of all for the perfection of the whole. Hence the propriety of using this style in state-houses, capitols, parliament-houses, town-halls, where this idea is to be expressed.

"Again, we have the pure Greek temple as another architectural type. This can also be used in a special way (having its individual expression). It is the most simple, rational, and harmoniously elegant style, that can be conceived, for simple halls, for public, oratorical, lecture, and philosophical rooms

Buildings which have but one object, and which require one expression of that object, cannot be built in a style better adapted to convey the single idea of their use, than in the Grecian-temple form. Here, with the single exception of the pediment (which distinctly, by its outline, marked the place as the abode of the gods, and the tympanum, which was always occupied by statues of the highest intelligence, and the representative arrangement of all deities expressive of the perfect subordination of all principles, human and divine, under the supremacy of Almighty Love), every thing falls under the horizontal line,-the level line of rationality; it is all logical, orderly, syllogistically perfect, as the wisdom of the schools."

In Domestic Architecture, though the range of expression may at first seem limited, it is not so in fact, for when complete, it ought to be significant of the whole private life of man-his intelligence, his feelings, and his enjoyments. Indeed, it is from this complexity of feelings and habits, that Domestic Architecture is capable of a great variety of expression. This will not appear singular when we reflect that public buildings, for the most part, are intended for a single and definite use —as a church for public worship, or a townhall for political assemblies; while man's dwelling, in its most complete form, may be regarded as the type of his whole private life. It is true, the private life of many men is simple almost to monotony, but that of others abounds with infinite diversity.

Now, all this variety, in domestic life, is capable of being expressed, and really is expressed, in Domestic Architecture, especially in Country Architecture, which is not cramped in its manifestation, but develops itself freely, as a tree expands which is not crowded by neighbors in a forest, but grows in the unrestrained liberty of the open meadow. If we pass an ill-proportioned dwelling, where the walls and the roof are built only to defend the inmates against cold and heat; the windows intended for nothing but to admit the light and exclude the air; the chimneys constructed only to carry off the smoke; the impression which that house makes upon us at a glance, is that of mere utility.

If, on the other hand, the building is well proportioned, if there is a pleasing symmetry in its outward form, and (should it be large) if it display variety, harmony, and unity, we feel that it possesses much absolute beauty-the beauty of a fine form. If, in addition to this, we observe that it has various marked features, indicating intelligent and cultivated life in its inhabitants; if it plainly shows by its various apartments, that it is intended not only for the physical wants of man, but for his moral, social, and intellectual existence; if hospitality smiles in ample parlors; if home virtues dwell in cosy, fireside familyrooms; if the love of the beautiful is seen in picture or statue galleries; intellectuality, in well-stocked libraries; and even a dignified love of leisure and repose, in cool and spacious verandas; we feel, at a glance, that here we have reached the highest beauty of which Domestic Architecture is capablethat of individual expression. Hence, every thing in architecture that can suggest or be made a symbol of social or domestic virtues, adds to its beauty, and exalts its character. Every material object that becomes the type of the spiritual, moral, or intellectual nature of man, becomes at once beautiful, because it is suggestive of the beautiful in human nature.

There are, doubtless, many persons who rarely analyze their feelings, and who usually see nothing of this beauty of expression in domestic architecture-they see only the fact that a house is a house (more or less costly, and therefore to beadmired), a window a window, and a door a door: these are those who pay no attention to expression in nature-a daisyspangled meadow is to them only a " field," or the most poetical landscape, only a " prospect;"-those who never see their friends' characters in their faces, only in the acts of their lives. But this no more proves that the expression does not exist in all visible forms, than that the earth is not round because common observation tells us it is flat. More than this, beauty of expression, in architecture, as in other arts, and even in nature, requires educated feeling-it is as obscure and imperceptible to the majority of those who have never sought for it, as the beauty of clouds or aerial perspective in andscapes is to the most ignorant ploughman in the fields.

We are bound to add here, that in all arts, other thoughts may be expressed besides those of beauty. Vices may be expressed in architecture as well as virtues; the worst part of our natures as well as the best. A house built only with a view to animal wants, eating and drinking, will express sensuality instead of hospitality. A residence marked by gaudy and garish apartments, intended only to dazzle and impress others with the wealth or importance of the proprietor, will express pride and vanity instead of a real love of what is beautiful for its own sake; and a dwelling in which a large and conspicuous part is kept for show, to delude others into the belief of dignity and grace on our part, while our actual life is one in mean apartments, expresses any thing but honest sincerity of character. It requires the more judgment to guard against the effect of such vicious expression, because it is often coupled with some beauty. A house may be copied after a pure model, and thus possess absolute beauty in the fine symmetry and proportion of its leading forms, and yet be debased in certain parts by the expression of the pride, vanity, egotism, or other bad traits of its possessors.

Yet, after all, this, like all other manifestations of the individual man, while it has a tendency to degrade art, gives us the key to the character of the artist and the possessor. And we often find that the want of virtue and beauty of character in the owner of a house which is beautiful, because designed by other hands (a want which almost certainly shows itself in the details or the furniture), deadens or destroys its beauty by overlaying its fair features with a corrupt or vicious expression. After these remarks, it will not appear singular to our readers, that we believe much of the character of every man may be read in his house. If he has moulded its leading features from the foundation, it will give a clue to a large part of his character. If he has only taken it from other hands, it will, in its internal details and use, show, at a glance, something of the daily thoughts and life of the family that inhabits it, Admitting the truth of this, it is evident that Domestic Architecture is only perfect when it is composed so as to express the utmost beauty and truth in the life of the individual.

It is not always that a proprietor can design his own house, or even that his architect knows him so completely as to make his work express the individual truly. Hence we seldom see entirely satisfactory architecture, where a beautiful house fully reflects a fine character; but as character always makes its-mark, something of this kind always does happen, and in proportion to its completeness does it heighten our pleasure. (Hence, also, it is impossible in a series of designs, like those which follow, to make any one of them entirely satisfactory, as a residence, to any individual of taste. To do this, the architect must know the man. All that we can do, is to offer to the feelings and judgment of our readers a number of designs. If their own character is more or less typified in any one of them, that design will be at once preferred by them.)

The different styles of Domestic Architecture, as the Roman, the Italian, the Swiss, the Venetian, the Rural Gothic, are nothing more than expressions of national character, which have, through long use, become permanent. Thus, the gay and sunny temperament of the south of Europe is well expressed in the light balconies, the grouped windows, the open arcades, and the statue and vase bordered terraces of the Venetian and Italian villas: the homely, yet strong and quaint character of the Swiss, in their broad-roofed, half rude, and curiously constructed cottages: the domestic virtues, the love of home, rural beauty, and seclusion, cannot possibly be better expressed than in the English cottage, with its many upward-pointing gables, its intricate tracery, its spacious bay windows, and its walls covered with vines and flwering shrubs.

There are positive and human elements of beauty in these styles which appeal at once to the feelings. But there is, besides, another source of pleasure to most minds, which springs not from the beauty of form or expression in these styles of architecture, but from personal or historical associations connected with them; and which, by a process half addressed to the feelings and half to the intellect, makes them in the highest degree interesting to us. Something too of novelty and strangeness makes mere style in architecture, like accent in a foreign language, captivating to those whose love of novelty is stronger than their love of what is intrinsically beautiful. So far as an admiration of foreign style in architecture arises from the mere love of novelty, it is poor and contemptible; so far as it arises from an admiration of truthful beauty of form or expression, it is noble and praiseworthy. A villa in the style of a Persian palace (of which there is an example lately erected in Connecticut), with its oriental domes and minarets, equally unmeaning and unsuited to our life or climate, is an example of the former; as an English cottage, with its beautiful homeexpression and its thorough comfort and utility, evinced in steep roofs to shed the snow, and varied form to accommodate modern habits, is of the latter.

Architectural style is only exhibited in its severity and perfection, in public buildings of the first class, whose dignity, grandeur, and importance demand and permit it; such as the church, the capitol, public institutions, etc. In them we see, for example, the Gothic or Greek styles, in their greatest completeness and fullest development. Domestic Architecture, on the contrary, should be less severe, less rigidly scientific, and it should exhibit more of the freedom and play of feeling of everyday life. A man may, in public halls, recite a poem in blank verse, or deliver a studied oration with the utmost propriety; but he would be justly the object of ridicule if at the fireside he talked about the weather, his family, or his friend, in the same strain. What familiar conversation, however tasteful and well bred, is to public declamation, Domestic is to Civil or Ecclesiastical Architecture; and we have no more patience with those architects who give us copies of the temple of Theseus, with its high, severe colonnades, for dwellings, than with a friend who should describe his wife and children to us in the lofty rhythm of Ossian. For this reason the Italian, Venetian, Swiss, Rural Gothic, and our Bracketed style, all modified and subdued forms of the Gothic and Greek styles, are the variations of those types most suitable for Domestic Architecture.

A word or two may, perhaps, not be out of place here, on the Picturesque, as distinguished from the Beautiful, in architecture. Whatever critics may affirm, we look upon them as distinct in their nature, though often blended together in Rural Architecture. The Beautiful, in architecture, is the complete embodiment of ideas of beauty in a given material form; an embodiment in which the idea triumphs over the material and brings it into perfect subjection-we might almost say, of repose; where there is neither want of unity, proportion, harmony, nor the right expression. The Picturesque is seen in ideas of beauty manifested with something of rudeness, violence, or difficulty. The effect of the whole is spirited and pleasing, but parts are not balanced, proportions are not perfect, and details are rude. We feel at the first glance at a picturesque object, the idea of power exerted, rather than the idea of beauty which it involves. As regularity and proportion are fundamental ideas of absolute beauty, the Picturesque will be found always to depend upon the opposite conditions of matter-irregularity, and a partial want of proportion and symmetry. Thus, the purest Greek architecture, or the finest examples of Palladio, are at once highly symmetrical and beautiful; the varied Italian villa, or the ruder Swiss chalet, highly irregular and picturesque.

As picturesqueness denotes power, it necessarily follows that all architecture in which beauty of expression strongly predominates over pure nmaterial beauty, must be more or less picturesque. And as force of expression should rightly spring from force of character, so Picturesque Architecture, where its picturesqueness grows out of strong character in the inhabitant, is the more interesting to most minds: though if the Beautiful, as we believe, signifies the perfect balance between a beautiful idea and the material form in which it is conveyed to the eye, a truly beautiful form, so rarely seen, and involving, of course, harmonious expression, whether it be in man, nature, or art, is more perfect and satisfactory than a picturesque one; as, in character, the beauty and symmetry of Washington is more satisfactory than the greater power and lesser balance of Napoleon; or, in nature, a "golden landscape of Arcady" is more perfect than a wild scene in the Hartz mountains; or, in architecture, a villa of the most exquisite symmetry is more permanently pleasing than one of great irregularity. But this is, perhaps, pursuing the matter further than our readers require.

We have gone far enough to show the sources of the two kinds of interest. And no person can harmoniously combine rural architecture and rural scenery, unless he understands something, at least, of the nature of both. ( In the fourth edition of our treatise on Landscape Gardening, we have endeavored more fully to develop the nature of the Picturesque in scenery; and we refer those to that volume, who wish to aim at the production of the most harmonious effects, by adapting the house to the scenery where it is to be placed.)

Having considered architecture as addressing the senses and the heart, let us examine what control the knowledge, reason, or judgment of man has over it. Architecture may be useful, it may be beautiful, and still not altogether satisfactory, unless it is also truthful or significant. The intellect must approve what the senses relish and the heart loves. Now it by no means follows that Truth and Beauty are the same thing; though some writers have labored hard to convince themselves of the existence of such a synonym. Artificial flowers or false gems may awaken the. same ideas of beauty in the ignorant beholder, as if they were real. A house built of lath and plaster may, with good proportions and fair ornaments, raise in us the same emotions of beauty as one built of marble or freestone. But the moment our reason discovers that Beauty and Truth are at variance, the pleasure is either greatly weakened, or altogether destroyed. On the other hand, architecture may be full of Truth, and yet, from the want of proportion, symmetry, harmony, or expression, fall entirely short of real beauty. (And in this respect, Architecture more than most other arts. A landscape painter, for instance, though he only copies the truth of nature, cannot fail in producing much beauty, because there is something of beauty in all nature's works; though he wvill not roduce so much beauty as another artist who studies and reproduces only the finest and most beautiful ideas in nature.)

But although Beauty and Truth are not synonymous in art, all beauty, to be satisfactory, must be based upon Truth. This is especially true in Architecture, which, it must never be forgotten, is not only a beautiful art, but an art, the primary condition of which is, that it must be useful. Now, there are three most important truths which all Domestic Architecture should present, and without which, it must always be unsatisfactory. The first is, the general truth that the building is intended for a dwelling-house; the second, the local truth that it is intended for a town or country house; and the third, the specjfic truth that it is intended for a certain kind of country house-as a cottage, farm-house, or villa.

It may appear singular to one not accustomed to dwell on this subject, that it should be necessary to insist on the value of so obvious a truth as that a dwelling-house should look like a dwelling-house. But, strange to say, men who are blinded by fashion or false taste are as likely to commit this violation of architectural truth as any other. We recall a villa on the banks of the Hudson, built in the form of a Doric temple, all the chimneys of which are studiously collected together in the centre of the roof, and are hidden from even a suspicion of their existence, by a sort of mask that resembles nothing, unless it be a classic well-curb set on the top of the house... Now, as chimneys, in a northern climate, are particularly expressive of human habitation and domestic life, any concealment of them is a violation of general truth, and one might well be puzzled to know what sort of edifice was intended, in the villa in question. So, too, in the neighborhood of some of our cities, we still occasionally see houses which are pretty close imitations of Greek temples; as these buildings have sometimes as much space devoted to porticoes and colonnades as to rooms, one may well be pardoned for doubting exactly for what purpose they were designed.

Every feature, on the other hand, which denotes domestic life becomes a valuable truth in Domestic Architecture. Windows, doors, and chimneys, are the first of these truths, though they are not the highest, as churches, factories, and out-buildings also have windows, doors, and chimneys; and therefore such windows, doors, and chimneys as particularly belong to or distinguish a dwelling-house from all other buildings, are more valuable truths that those forms that are merely useful without being truthful.

Verandas, piazzas, bay-windows, balconies, etc., are the most valuable general truths in Domestic Architecture; they express domestic habitation more strongly because they are chiefly confined to our own dwellings. (To show the difference between an idea of truth and one of beauty, we may here remark, that mere chimney-tops, windows, verandas, etc., though in the highest degree valuable as truths, do not become beauties until they are made beautiful by proportion, or grace of form, or by expressing some feeling other than that of mere utility. A chimney may be an ugly chimney, and yet give a truthful expression to a dwelling; or it may be a finely-formed chimney, and thus become a beautiful truth.)

LOCAL truth in Architecture is one which can never be neglected without greatly injuring the effect of country houses. And yet, such is the influence of fashion and false taste, and so little do the majority of citizens trouble themselves to think on this subject, that nothing is more common in some parts of the country than to see the cockneyism of three-story town houses violating the beauty and simplicity of country life. In our own neighborhood, there is a brick house standing in the midst of gardens and orchard, which has a front and rear pierced with windows, but only blank wall at the sides; looking, in fact, precisely as if lifted out of a three-story row in a well-packed city street, and suddenly dropped in the midst of a green field in the country, full of wonder and contempt, like a true cockney, at the strangeness and dulness of all around it. During a drive on Long Island, last autumn, we saw with pain and mortification, the suburban villa of a wealthy citizen, a narrow, unmistakable "six-story brick," which seemed, in its forlornness, and utter want of harmony with all about it, as if it had strayed out of town, in a fit of insanity, and had lost the power of getting back again.

To give an expression of local truth to a country house, it should always show a tendency to spread out and extend itself on the ground, rather than to run up in the air. There is space enough in the country; and because a citizen has lived in town, where land is sold by the square foot, and where, in consequence, he has had to mount four pair of stairs daily, is surely no reason why he should compel himself to do the same thing in the country. Indeed, economy in the first cost of a house (that is to say, the lessened expense of building two stories under the same roof and over the same foundation) is the principal reason why most country houses are not still more ample, extended, and rambling on the surface, than they usually are.

Another exhibition of the want of local truth in many large country houses, is seen in their internal arrangements. Their plan is, indeed, a hall running directly through the house, with two or four rooms on a floor, and hence the same meagerness, and want of variety and convenience, as in the cramped space of a small town house. Speciftc truths, in our Rural Architecture, are perhaps less frequently neglected than the others. In the majority of cases, the amount of means to be expended, prevents builders fron: making cottages look like villas. Still, there is, undoubtedly a great want of perception of the value of specific truth ill many cases here; but it arises, partly, from a foolish ambition in those who build cottages and wish to make them appear like villas; and, partly, from an ignorance of what the true beauty of a country cottage consists in-which is not architectural ornament so much as a good form, simplicity of details, and the rural embellishment of vines and foliage. If all persons building in the country, knew how much the beauty and pleasure we derive from Rural Architecture is enhanced by truthfulness, we should be spared the pain of seeing so many miserable failures in country houses of small dimensions. A cottage (by which we mean a house of small size) will never succeed in an attempt to impose itself upon us as a villa. Nay, it will lose its own peculiar charm, which is as great, in its way, as that of the villa. This throwing away the peculiar beauty and simplicity of a cottage, in endeavoring to imitate the richness and variety of a villa, is as false in taste, as for a person of simple and frank character to lay aside his simplicity and frankness, to assume the cultivation and polish of a man of the world. The basis for enduring beauty is truthfulness, no less in houses than in morals; and cottages, farm-houses, and villas, which aim to be only the best and most agreeable cottages, farm-houses, and villas, will be infinitely more acceptable, to the senses, feelings, and understanding, than those which endeavor to assume a grandeur foreign to their nature and purpose. This we say, too, with the fullest desire that the cottage should contain every comfort and refinement which our happy country, above all others, places within the reach of working-men; and we say it, because, being intelligent working-men, they ought, more than the same class anywhere else, to feel the value and the dignity of labor, and the superior beauty of a cottage home which is truthful, and aims to be no more than it honestly is, over one that strives to be something which it is not. In order to assist the reader in judging of truth in Domestic Architecture, we shall again refer to the significance of expression, form, and decoration in the cottage, farm-house, and villa in succeeding pages.

A word or two may very properly be said here, regarding truthfulness of materials. The principle which the reason would lay down for the government of the architect, under this head, is the simple and obvious one, that the material should appear to be what it is. To build a house of wood so exactly in imitation of stone as to lead the spectator to suppose it stone, is a paltry artifice, at variance with all truthfulness. When we employ stone as a building material, let it be clearly expressed: when we employ wood, there should be no less frankness in avowing the material. There is more merit in so using wood as to give to it the utmost expression of which the substance is capable, than in endeavoring to make it look like some other material. (Perhaps an exception may be allowed in the case of wooden verandas, and such light additions to buildings of solid materials as we often see added in this country, in districts where the stone is so hard as to be very costly when wrought into small parts, so that wood is often used, but is so painted and sanded as to harmonize with the stone. In this case, we say, the apparent untruthfulness is permissible, for the sake of a principle almost equally important-unity of effect; for nothing is more offensive to the eye than an avowed union of wood and stone in the same building. But, of course, this is a sacrifice to expediency; and the more truthful treatment, viz. making all portions of one material, is the only entirely satisfactory one.)

There are certain architectural fictions with regard to apparent truthfulness of material, which are so well understood as not to deceive, and are not, therefore, reprehensible ones: such as painting the surface of wooden, and cementing or stuccoing the exteriors of brick and stone houses. Protection from the weather demands this, and no one fails to recognize wood or solid walls, though entirely hidden from the eye. And in the case of stuccoed walls, the expression of strength and solidity is very properly conveyed to the eye by marking it off in courses, to denote the bonds and courses of the solid wall beneath, and to take away the mere lath-andplaster look, of a plain stuccoed wall. To mark off in courses a house actually built of lath and stucco, as we have sometimes seen done, is, on the other hand, a downright violation of architectural truth. For the same reason we would prefer to see the stuccoed exterior of a brick wall marked faintly,

in small courses, so as to denote that brick is the material of the wall, rather than boldly in large courses, to signify stone. There is no reason why the stucco which only stands for stucco, should not have an agreeable color, wholly different from those of the brick and stone put beneath it (because it is only when stone or brick is not altogether satisfactory to the eye, that we cover it with stucco); but the principle of truth should lead us to point out, by the lines on the stucco, whether it covers a stone or brick wall. (Marking off stucco to indicate a stone wall, is the common and prevalent mode in this country; though we have never seen brick expressed as we have suggested. This might be most easily and effectually done by pressing a mould, marked with lines, upon the face of the stucco, as soon as it is put on the wall. Patterns of various kinds were thus stamped upon the walls in Moorish architecture, with beautiful effect. The lines would always express that the wall beneath was of brick; but they should be only faintly impressed, and not deeply stamped, and without the mortar lines whitened so as to imitate brick.)

There is a glaring want of truthfulness sometimes practised in this country by ignorant builders, that deserves condemnation at all times. This is seen in the attempt to express a style of architecture, which demands massiveness, weight, and solidity, in a material that possesses none of these qualities. We could point to two or three of these imitations of Gothic castles, with towers and battlements built of wood. Nothing can well be more paltry and contemptible. The sugar castles of confectioners and pastry-cooks are far more admirable as works of art. If a man is ambitious of attracting attention by his house, and can only afford wood, let him (if he can content himself with nothing appropriate) build a gigantic wigwam of logs and bark, or even a shingle palace, but not attempt mock battlements of pine boards, and strong towers of thin plank. The imposition attempted, is more than even the most uneducated person of native sense can possibly bear.

As we shall develope, little by little, our views on these and other points already suggested, in our remarks on the different classes of houses, and the designs themselves, in the succeeding pages, we shall not pursue these introductory remarks further at the present time. We have, as we trust, already clearly impressed upon the reader the three principal sources of interest in all architecture, and especially in domestic architecture. We have shown how a house may be useful without being beautiful; how it may be useful and beautiful without being satisfactory to the understanding; and how it may be useful, beautiful, and significant or truthful, and thus thereby satisfy us fully and completely — satisfy all the rational desires of the senses, the affections, and the intellect. If it fall short of this, it is not architecture in the true sense of the word-for as another writer has well observed, every fine art is the art of so treating objects as to give them a moral significance; and unless the architect can stamp both feeling and imagination, as well as utility, upon his work, he cannot truly be called an architect.

IN our republic there are neither the castles of feudal barons nor the palaces of princes. The President's dwelling is only called "the White House." That home in the country which is something beyond a cottage or a farm-house, rises but to the dignity of a villa or mansion. And this word villa-the same in Latin, Italian, Spanish, and English, signifies only "a country house or abode;" or, according to others, "a rural or country seat"-as village means a small collection of houses in the country. More strictly speaking, what we mean by a villa, in the United States, is the country house of a person of competence or wealth sufficient to build and maintain it with some taste and elegance. Having already defined a cottage to be a dwelling so small that the household duties may all be performed by the family, or with the assistance of not more than one or two domestics, we may add, that a villa is a country house of larger acccmmodation, requiring the care of at least three or more servants. This homely scale of determining the rank of country houses is one that will, more readily than any other, settle the question as regards the mere size and importance of the dwelling.

The villa, or country house proper, then, is the most refined home of America-the home of its most leisurely and educated class of citizens. Nature and art both lend it their happiest influence. Amid the serenity and peace of sylvan scenes, surrounded by the perennial freshness of nature, enriched without and within by objects of universal beauty and interest-objects that touch the heart and awaken the understanding-it is in such houses that we should look for the happiest social and moral development of our people.

Like the farm-house, the villa is, too, the more individual home. It is there that the social virtues are more honestly practised, that the duties and graces of life have more meaning, that the character has more room to develop its best and finest traits than within the walls of cities. In this most cultivated country life, every thing lends its aid to awaken the finer sentiments of our nature. The occupations of the country are full of health for both soil and body, and for the most refined as well as the most rustic taste. The heart has there, always within its reach, something on which to bestow its affections. We beget a partiality for every copse that we have planted, every tree which has for years given us a welcome under its shady boughs. Every winding path throughout the woods, every secluded resting-place in the valley, every dell where the brook lives and sings, becomes part of our affections, friendship, joy, and sorrows. Happy is he who lives this life of a cultivated mind in the country! And what should the villa be, architecturally? Those who have followed us in our first section will surely see that our answer to this will be, that it should, firstly, be the most convenient; secondly, the most truthful or significant; and thirdly, the most tasteful or beautiful of dwellings.

The villa should indeed be a private house, where beauty, taste, and moral culture are at home. In the fine outlines of the whole edifice, either dignified, graceful or picturesque, in the spacious or varied verandas, arcades, and windows, in the select forms of windows, chimney-tops, cornices, the artistic knowledge and feeling has full play; while in the arrangement of spacious apartments, especially in the devotion of a part to a library or cabinet sacred to books, and in that elevated order and system of the whole plan, indicative of the inner domestic life, we find the development of the intellectual and moral nature which characterizes the most cultivated families in their country houses.

It is therefore in our villas that we must hope in this country to give the best and most complete manifestation of domestic architecture. The cottage is too limited in size, the farm-house too simply useful in its character, to admit of.that indulgence of beauty of form and decoration which belongs properly to the villa.

The villa, indeed, may be as simple and chaste as a cottage, and often, with a more satisfactory effect than if inlaid with sculpture; but its larger size, and the greater means devoted to its creation, will justify an embellishment that would be out of keeping, in all respects, with the cottage. The greater extent of the villa allows, for example, more intricacy of form and outline, as the greater completeness of the arrangement permits a luxury of space and decoration. Larger scope as the villa gives for the architect to indulge his love for the beautiful, there are yet limits beyond which he may not wisely go. He must not, for example, forget that it is domestic architecture which occupies him, and therefore that beauty must be united to convenience and comfort, or at least must never be opposed to it. Instead of following the example of those who are always striving to make dwellings resemble temples and cathedrals, he will bestow on windows and doors, roofs and chimneys, porches and verandas-those truly domestic features-that loving, artistic treatment which alone raises material forms from the useful to the beautiful.

Both the architect and the amateur must recollect that proportion is the primary law of beauty. It should therefore be the first thing in the mere composition of the villa, as it is the universal chord which, once struck, moves all beholders to instinctive admiration. After proportion comes decoration, or the enrichment of beautiful parts and details; which, however important, is still as much inferior to _proportion as the shapes and colors of the clouds are to the grandeur and beauty of the arch-form of the heaven in which they float. (Most especially do we recommend this fact to the notice of proprietors who are novices in architecture. It is an economical fact, as well as a principle. A perfectly proportioned building, with little or no decoration, being far more beautiful and satisfactory than one of equal bulk and cost, ill-proportioned, and with thousands lavished on the embellishment of its details.)

And higher and deeper than either proportion or decoration is that beauty of expression which indicates the spirit that lives within the country house. You may never have investigated it, but you have nevertheless tacitly recognized, that a spirit of frankness or reserve, a spirit of miserly care or kind hospitality, a spirit of meanness or generosity, a spirit of system or disorder, a spirit of peace or discord, may be found in the expression of every house, as well as every face in the country. Whatever gives to the villa its best and truest expression of human sympathy and affection confers on it its highest and most lasting character of beauty.

We have said the truest expression, and this leads us to the most difficult question that arises in the mind of the artist in designing villas in this country. To unite the beautiful and the true, to make the outward form of all about us express our best ideal of life, to mould it so that it shall evince, not merely the borrowed and accepted forms of the books and schools of art, but the deeper essence of the life, and character, and manners of the people, and even the families that inhabit it that should be the ambition and the goal of the domestic architect of any country. It is a result which can only be fully reached here, when the habits of the people have firmly crystallized, and when our people themselves understand the true meaning and the true beauty of Architecture.

The significance or truthfulness of a man's house, especially if that house be a villa, is a matter which he also should well consider, for in it lies the whole philosophy of both its beauty and its utility. He may easily build, or cause to be built, a pretty villa, in any one of a dozen styles-convenient and comfortable in its accommodation; and yet, if there is no real fitness in the form and expression of the thing chosen, if it is foreign to the habits, education, tastes, and manners-in short, the life of the proprietor, he will, if he is a simple, unaffected man, sit as foolishly in it, as he would in the church or town hall, wearing the court costume of some foreign ambassador. There is, for instance, something wonderfully captivating in the idea of a battlemented castle, even to an apparently modest man, who thus shows to the world his unsuspected vein of personal ambition, by trying to make a castle of his country house. But, unless there is something of the castle in the man, it is very likely, if it be like a real castle, to dwarf him to the stature of a mouse. (Almost all imitations of castles must, as private dwellings, be petty in this country. There is one lately erected, of gray stone, on the lower part of the Hudson. We had the pleasure of welcoming to the Hudson that accomplished daughter of Sweden, Fredrika Bremer, and as we were sailing past this spot, some one near her remarked-" Do you see-a castle." "Ah!" she replied, "but it is a very young castle!")

Shall we then have no variety, no latitude in the character and forms of our best country houses? Must all be bound with the common-sense outline of a square or parallelogram Far from it. The villa-the country house, should, above all things, manifest individuality. It should say something of the character of the family within —as much as possible of their life and history, their tastes and associations, should mould and fashion themselves upon its walls. If we look into all the forms of architecture applicable to domestic life, we shall find but two elementary ideas-the rational, logical, sensible idea, bounded by the regular horizontal line of classical architecture, and the more poetic, aspiring, imaginative idea embodied in the upward lines of pointed architecture. The man of common-sense views only, if he is true to himself, will have nothing to do, in the choice or construction of his country house, with picturesque and irregular outlines. He will naturally prefer a symmetrical, regular house, with few angles, but with order, and method, and distinctness stamped upon its unbroken lines of cornice and regular rows of windows. He will do nothing without reason; he will have no caprices and no whims, either in his life or his house.

The man of sentiment or feeling will seek for that house in whose aspect there is something to love. It must nestle in, or grow out of, the soil. It must not look all new and sunny, but show secluded shadowy corners. There must be nooks about it, where one would love to linger; windows, where one can enjoy the quiet landscape leisurely; cosy rooms, where all domestic fireside joys are invited to dwell. It must, in short, have something in its aspect which the heart can fasten upon and become attached to, as naturally as the ivy attaches itself to the antique wall, preserving its memories from decay.

And, lastly, there are the men of imagination-men whose aspirations never leave them at rest-men whose ambition and energy will give them no peace within the mere bounds of rationality. These are the men for picturesque villas-country houses with high roofs, steep gables, unsymmetrical and capricious forms. It is for such that the architect may safely introduce the tower and the campanile-any and every feature that indicates originality, boldness, (Shall we not say, always excepting battlements —which have no meaning in the domestic architecture of this age?) energy, and variety of character. To find a really original man living in an original and characteristic house, is as satisfactory as to find an eagle's nest built on the top of a mountain crag-while to find a pretentious, shallow man in such a habitation, is no better than to find the jackdaw in the eagle's nest.

Another view of this matter of significance, and a great and leading aspect it is, leads us to consider the nationality of the house we build. There is no reason why the architect of this country and age should not adopt the ideas of other countries, as manifested in the styles of art begotten in those countries. But he should do this understandingly, and with some purpose in it. There is little to be said in defence of those who copy foreign houses and imitate foreign manners, for the mere sake of the imitation, in a country so full of good and noble suggestions for social and domestic life as our own. One would suppose that a cultivated American would exult and thank God for the great Future which dawns on him here, rather than sigh and fondle over the great Past which remains to Europe. One would rather wish that cultivated minds should find a truer and loftier pleasure in striving to form a free and manly school of republican tastes and manners, than in wasting time in the vain effort to transplant the meaningless conventionalities of the realms of foreign caste. Far different from this is the spirit of the artist or the lover of art who gathers from the Old World-from its architecture and its domestic life, those really good and beautiful forms and ideas which are truthful and significant everywhere-rejecting all that is foreign to our life and manners. Our own soil is the right platform upon which a genuine national architecture must grow, though it will be aided in its growth by all foreign thoughts that mingle harmoniously with its simple and free spirit.

The highest merit of a villa or country house, after utility and beauty of form and expression, is, that it be, as much as possible, characteristic of the country in which it is built. In the Eastern and Northern States, high roofs, thick walls, warm rooms, fine stacks of chimneys-in the Middle and Southern, broad roofs, wide verandas, cool and airy apartments.

But everywhere, and in all parts of the country, in planning a country house, let the habits, and wants, and mode of life (assuming them to be good and truthful ones) stamp themselves on the main features of the house. It is thus that our domestic architecture will always be growing better, more truthful, more individual, and therefore more rational and sincere, rather than more foreign and affected. (Foreign architects are finding their way to this country very plentifully. Some among them who follow rules and not principles, do us great harm by building expensive and unmeaning copies of foreign houses-as for instance, English villas, with narrow passages, disconnected rooms, and no verandas for the warm climate of the Middle States. Others do us service, by studying the peculiarities of climate and mode of life, and adapting their designs to meet the peculiarities.)

Placing a national feeling and national taste above all others, we will not, however, shut our eyes to the fact which no observer of men will dispute, that in every age and country are born some persons who belong rather to the past than the present-men to whom memory is dearer than hope-the bygone ages fuller of meaning than those in the future. These are the natural conservatives whom Providence has wisely distributed, even in the most democratic governments, to steady the otherwise too impetuous and unsteady onward movements of those who, in their love for progress, would obliterate the past, even in its hold on the feelings and imaginations of our race. It is not for these men, who love the past, rather with instinctive than educated affection, to understand and appreciate the value of an architecture significant of the present time. And it is, therefore, for such as they to build houses in styles that recall the past, and to surround themselves with the same forms and symbols that, having been used in some former age which they most love and venerate, have therefore a power for good over their minds, which nothing else in art has. If we see such men copying in their dwellings the forms and ornaments of old English or Italian architecture, because they really live more (internally speaking) in Saxon thought or Italian art than in our own age and time, we must own that, inasmuch as the architecture expresses the life, it is fitting and good for them, however unmeaning for the many, and especially for all those who more truly belong to our own time and country. There is, indeed, both history and poetry in the use of such foreign styles of architecture as may be adapted to our life, when they are thus lovingly and fittingly used by those to whom they are fraught with beautiful memories and associations. It is for this reason that we often see with pleasure, our adopted citizens, from various parts of Europe, who are still strongly attached to the land of their birth, seeking to awaken again something of the tenderness of early associations, by surrounding themselves, even here, with the forms and symbols of that old-world architecture, which has to them as grand and powerful a meaning as the stars themselves.

Leaving this point, is there not something also to be said in answer to the question, what a villa should be, in order that in its cost and duration, it may be true to its own time and country? It seems to us, indeed, that this is a point from which our wealthy builders of country-seats are about to go far astray. We see signs showing themselves, with the growing wealth of the country, of expenditure in domestic architecture quite unmeaning and unwise in a republic. Fortunes are rapidly accumulated in the United States, and the indulgence of one's taste and pride in the erection of a country-seat of great size and cost, is becoming a favorite mode of expending wealth. And yet these attempts at great establishments are always and inevitably failures in America. And why? Plainly, because they are contrary to the spirit of republican institutions; because the feelings upon which they are based can never take root, except in a government of hereditary rights; because they are wholly in contradiction to the spirit of our time and people.

In a country of hereditary rights, where the custom prevails of leaving the family home and estate to the eldest son, or to a single representative of the family, there is a meaning and purpose in the erection of great manorial halls and magnificent country-seats. The proprietor feels assured that it is always for his own family, generation after generation, that this expenditure is made-that this great establishment, upon which such sums have been lavished, is to be the home of that family, and will bear its name, and stand as a monument of its wealth and power for ages. And this, in an aristocracy, consoles him for the enormous injustice of causing all his other descendants in each generation, to revolve as pale satellites round the eldest son, who represents all the wealth and power of the family.

In our republic, there is no law of primogeniture, there are no hereditary rights. The man of large wealth dies to-morrow, and his million, divided among all his children, leaves them each but a few thousands. If he has been tempted to indulge in the luxury or pride of a great establishment, no one of his children is rich enough to hold it. Public opinion-the salutary operation of our institutions, frowns upon the attempt to continue the wealth and family estates in the hands of the family, by making one descendant rich at the expense of the rest. And this home-this fine establishment which has been built in defiance of the spirit of the time and nation, must needs be abandoned by the family who built it; it must become the property of strangers, who, in their turn, will hold it but for one lifetime.

We will not urge the difficulty, with- our social habits, of maintaining an overgrown establishment, the personal drudgery it involves, the care and solicitude it requires, let the immediate fortune be what it may. It is only in an old country, where there is a large surplusage of domestic service, that domestic establishments of large size can be conducted with pleasure and ease to the proprietor. Here, it is quite the contrary. A country house, where the conveniences are such that the establishment may be moderate, the living-rooms compact and well arranged, the facility of performing all household labors increased as much as possible, is the perfect villa for America.

But the main argument against the creation of large establishments is, that the whole theory is a mistake; that it is impossible, except for a day; that our laws render the attempt folly; and our institutions finally grind it to powder. There is something beautiful and touching in the associations that grow up in a home held sacred in the same family for generations. A wealth of affection is kept alive in those old manor-houses and country halls of England, where, age after age, the descendants of one family have lived, and loved, and suffered, and died —perhaps nobly and bravely too-sheltered by the same trees and guarded by the same walls. It is quite natural that we, largely descended from this Anglo-Saxon stock, when we have fortunes to spend, should fondly delude ourselves with the idea of realizing this old and pleasing idyl of beautiful country life. But it is only an idyl, or only a delusion to us. It belongs to the past, so far as we are concerned. It is no more to be reanimated in the republic of the new world than the simple faith in the Virgin, which built the mighty cathedrals of the middle ages. It could only be reanimated at the sacrifice of the happiness of millions of free citizens. But the true home still remains to us. Not, indeed, the feudal castle, not the baronial hall, but the home of the individual man-the home of that family of equal rights, which continually separates and continually reforms itself in the new world-the republican home, built by no robbery of the property of another class, maintained by no infringement of a brother's rights; the beautiful, rural, unostentatious, moderate home of the country gentleman, large enough to minister to all the wants, necessities, and luxuries of a republican, and not too large or too luxurious to warp the life or manners of his children. (Perhaps the true standard of the means to be expended in a country home is to be found with us by the inquiry-Can the proprietor afford to leave it to one of his children?-or, at the most, is it an expenditure that will not prove a serious loss, should they be compelled to part with it?

As a significant illustration of the folly of lavish expenditure in country houses, we recall at this moment the passing history of three villas, all built by men of fortunes large for America. Two of them, costing from $100,000 to $200,000 each, though finished hardly ten years, have already crippled or ruined their owners. The third, built in Massachusetts, with a taste and completeness that have rendered it the object of general admiraton, and at a cost of, perhaps, $20,000, has just passed into the hands of one of the children of the late proprietor; and he, with that truer under standing of the right uses of wealth, not unusual in Massachusetts, was able to close his life of useful benevolence with the most noble and admirable bequests to educational institutions-bequests amounting to the whole of the difference between the cost of his beautiful villa, which he wisely enjoyed, and bequeathed to one of his children, and those which we have just quoted as having, by their great first cost and subsequent expense of maintenance, nearly ruined those for whose children's homes they were erected.

The just pride of a true American is not in a great hereditary home, but in greater hereditary institutions. It is more to him that all his children will be born under wise, and just, and equal laws, than that one of them should come into the world with a great family estate. It is better, in his eyes, that it should be possible for the humblest laborer to look forward to the possession of a future country house and home like his own, than to feel that a wide and impassable gulf of misery separates him, the lord of the soil, from a large class of his fellow-beings born beneath him. Yes, the love of home is one of the deepest feelings in our nature, and we believe the happiness and virtue of a vast rural population to be centred in it; but it must be a home built and loved upon new world, and not the old world ideas and principles; a home in which humanity and republicanism are stronger than family pride and aristocratic feeling; a home of the virtuous citizen, rather than of the mighty owner of houses and lands.

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