17 Apr 2007
The Wisdom of Old Buildings and the “Golden Stain of Time”.
Over the Easter break I went to Bradford-on-Avon near Bath, a beautiful place, blessed with a fine canal and some beautiful old buildings. I am always drawn to old buildings. There is something about them that is hard to define, what Christopher Alexander called The Timeless Way of Building. Hydrocarbon man has often vilified the buildings of our ancestors as basic and backward, but very often the common sense and practical ingenuity they contain is something we can only admire. The Victorian art critic John Ruskin summed up for me what is so powerful about old buildings when he wrote;
>When we build, let us think that we build for ever. Let it not be for present delight, nor for present use alone, let it be such work as our descendents will thank us for. And let us think, as we lay stone on stone, that a time is to come when those stones will be held sacred, because our hands have touched them, and that men will say as they look upon the labour and wrought substance of them, “see, this our fathers did for us