"In the modern age, idealization has proved as attractive in the domestic sphere as in the civic one. The bourgeois couples who lived in Richard Neutra's mid-twentieth-century steel and glass pavilions in California may at times have drunk too much, squabbled, been insincere and overwhelmed by anxiety, but at least their buildings spoke to them of honesty and ease, of a lack of inhibition and a faith in the future — and would have reminded their owners, at the height of their tantrums or professional complications (when their fury rang out into the desert night), of what they longed for in their hearts."
"If buildings can act as a repository of our ideals, it is because they can be purged of all the infelicities that corrode ordinary lives. A great work of architecture will speak to us of a degree of serenity, strength, poise and grace to which we, both as creators and audiences, typically cannot do justice — and it will for this very reason beguile and move us. Architecture excites our respect to the extent that it surpasses us."
"Rather than confronting us with evocations of our darkest moments, works of art were to stand, in [Friedrich] Schiller's words, as an 'absolute manifestation of potential'; they were to function like 'an escort descended from the world of the ideal.'"
"We may need to have made an indelible mark on our lives, to have married the wrong person, pursued an unfulfilling career into middle age, or lost a loved one before architecture can begin to have any perceptible impact on us, for when we speak of being 'moved' by a building, we allude to a bitter-sweet feeling of contrast between the noble qualities written into a structure and the sadder wider reality within which we know them to exist. A lump rises in our throat at the sight of beauty from an implicit knowledge that the happiness it hints at is the exception."