Author(s): Paul Shepheard
Why write about buildings? Buildings are chunks of the material of the natural world, refashioned by humans and set down into place to stand as silent as the rocks and trees from which they were made. How can we describe that mute actuality? A building's only complete description is itself. The words we use are a matter of translation and comparison, not of material fact. And since our narratives are as likely to be propagandas, or branding exercises, as they are descriptions of the world, writing about buildings often intensifies the cloud that obscures them rather than dissipates it. So why do it? What do buildings demonstrate? How do they occupy living time as well as rocky space? How can they seem so vital when they are not alive? It is here that Paul Shepheard finds his foothold. This is not analytical writing, but descriptive - a response to diversity in form and accumulated piles of meaning. By bringing the narrative skill of the novelist to bear on the weighty subject of architecture, Shepheard delivers a book that engages and provokes in equal measure.