Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Angels in the details

Where on earth did the expression "the devil's in the details" originate?
Surely not among folk who appreciate architecture, and the riches to be found upon close examination of familiar forms.
Surely in architectural detail are many angels and good spirits.
I picked up a wonderful walking tour guide in Warkworth on the weekend.
That the photographs were taken by someone we know, or that the details he captured are especially appealing bits of a village we like a lot ...not the point.
The point for me was the reminder that the best architecture, usually that we consider heritage, is wonderful for the craftsmanship of its tiny details. It's often the artistry of the single individual in love with design, materials, tools. It's fine art or vernacular, whimsical , sometimes even a bit awkward, newly invented or fastidiously copied from pattern books, rooted in the classical or Gothic medieval tradition, or springing boldly forth as new expressions in Art Nouveau, Deco or even later. But after we react emotionally to a fine building, and get an overall impact, once we satisfy ourselves as to style and era, it's the details that entrance us and keep us coming back to our favourite buildings.
Should the weather ever turn spring-like, my bicycle, my camera and my roving eye will be checking out the details in the Old East Hill.

1 comment:

  1. Thinking about renting bicycle storage space in your garage so we can take some of those rides together. So much better than having to find a convenient place to stop a car. I want to see OEH through a more perceptive pair of eyes.