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The craftsman
Vol. XXIII, Number 2 (November 1912)

Voysey, C. F. A.
The quality of fitness in architecture and furnishings,   pp. 174-182 PDF (2.7 MB)


Page 179


     THE QUALITY OF FITNESS IN ARCHITECTURE
for fitness, will lead us to evolve our elevations out of our plans and
requirements, never making our plans to fit a preconceived eleva-
tion. To squeeze the requirements of a mansion into the semblance
of a Grecian temple must involve the violation of fitness and the
expression of false sentiment. We are not Greeks, nor have we a
Grecian climate, or Grecian materials and conditions. Moreover, an
attentive study of local material and conditions will greatly aid us
in securing harmony and rhythm, making our building look as if it
grew where it stood in loving cooperation with its immediate sur-
roundings.
HE knowledge of foreign architecture has done much to destroy
      the full and complete harmony in modern work which is the
      characteristic feature of all the finest buildings throughout the
world. The more we study the conditions under which we build, the
better. Not only climate and local material, but sometimes foreign
materials, which, owing to facility of transit, are found to be more
fit than local materials. And, above all, the character of our client
and his best tastes and aspirations, remembering always, that it is
not ourselves that we have to express, but moral qualities,-honesty,
thoroughness, fitness and grace, refinement and harmony.
   Our chief trouble is in combating the greedy who, wanting things
tollook better than they are, ask us to strive for an effect of richness
without themselves incurring the cost of real richness. We need all
our tact to preserve our integrity with such people. But it can be
done, and must be done.
   A frank use of common material well proportioned and fitly used,
will often give a charming effect by reason of its frankness. You see
at a glance what it is, and feel taken into the architect's confidence;
whereas the covering up of construction with cheap elaboration, or
material made to imitate something more costly, only makes you feel
you have been cheated.
   Again, a careful study of our climate makes us emphasize our
roofs to suggest protection from weather. Large, massive chimneys
imply stability and repose. Long, low buildings also create a feeling
of restfulness and spaciousness. Small windows in proportion to wall
space suggest protection. Bright, sunny rooms can still be secured
by keeping the ceilings near the windows for reflection. It is foolish
to make windows so large that until they have been half-covered
with curtains you cannot live in the rooms. Besides, excess in cur-
taining is wasteful of money and labor, which is also contrary to
fitness.
   Many elaborations in modern architecture are useless and also
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