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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 180


     THE QUALITY OF FITNESS IN ARCHITECTURE
wasteful of money and labor, adding to the expense of upkeep and
often causing dirt and damp, which are injurious and destructive.
Moreover, all ornament is pernicious unless it inspires good thought
and feeling in others.
ANATION produces the architecture it deserves, and if in the
       main it is materialistic and sordid, we shall find all material
       qualities considered first and the moral and spiritual ones
scarcely at all. Greed will crush out generosity and shams will
smother poetry and sentiment. Men will prefer the imitation
grandiose to simplicity and dignity. Things will not be what they
seem. Bodily comfort and luxurious enjoyment will be valued above
grace and refinement. Indeed, the modern materialist will not admit
there can be any moral qualities suggested or conveyed by archi-
tecture. He sees no harm in jointing his stucco to imitate stone con-
struction. So it is we see what we look for.
   We must look for noble moral qualities in our fellow creatures, if
we desire to find beauty. At present the world does not seek beauty,
but expects to be given it for nothing-thrown in with a pound of
tea. But nothing can be had for nothing in this life; and we must
be prepared to pay-that is, make some sacrifice-for beauty, the
sacrifice at least of devoted thought and loving endeavor. If your
client does not understand this, it is your duty to inspire it in him,
which you may often do by appealing to his judgment and sense of
fitness. If the kitchen range is covered with polished iron moldings
to make it look heavier than it is, he may be induced to dispense
with the fraudulent parts on the plea that they waste the kitchen
maid's time and labor. Then the simple range that is as heavy as it
looks, and unpretentious, will have a chance, and produce the effect
of breadth, goodness and strength without waste. Let breadth,
goodness and strength be the keynote throughout your building, and
then no one will feel cheated.
    Generosity is a quality that affects our sense of proportion and
improves our construction vastly. An ungenerous client will induce
weakness in construction. The hidden parts will be reduced to their
smallest dimensions, and servants' quarters will lack the comfort due
them. And when all is done, the pride of architect, builder and
workmen is gone, and anxious fear of being found out takes its place.
    Generosity is a quality the poorest of us may possess; indeed, it
is mostly found among the poor. If a man cannot afford to have
everything as good as it looks, he had better go without. Shams are
poisons and degrading.
    On going over a house, you feel cheated if you find polished hard-
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