All the World is a Stage

I want to open this blog post with a quote from Shakespeare:

"All the world is a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts".


Why open with this? Because it's true. We all play out our own story. And that story exists within a set. And that set is on a stage composed of our corner of the world where we live. And we live among our set pieces: our houses, places of work, play, civic engagement, etc.

There is a dramatic set variation between cultures and across time. But they are losing their regional dramatic character to monotony and McMansion suburbs. We've lost the art of architectural storytelling in our cities.


Think about some of the greatest cities and houses you've seen and love. What did a spire mean in a traditional city?

Oxford Square

What about the public park or square in the center of town? There will always be foreground subjects and background subjects. As each plays a role in how to tell what a town is all about. Take the medieval walled city of Lucca in Italy for instance.


Lucca Gate

On its entrance gate, the word "Libertas" was a promise of liberty for all within the city walls. Defining that of a sacred precinct of urban life and human flourishing.


Architecture is the visual representation of our collective and individual values. There is no getting around that fact. So we have to ask; what does our architecture today tell future generations about our time? Are we proud of our legacy?


Most of us are doing our best, but the results aren't meeting our needs over time. We no longer see a house as a cultural legacy or landmark but as an investment. I fear people get to fixated on the lowest price per square foot to achieve a good ROI (Return on Investment). Thus they miss out on the fact that they have left nothing of cultural value for future generations. This generation will portray an architectural legacy of convenience, efficiency, and self-indulgence.


Can we do better? Yes. Will we do better? Well, that is completely up to us.. Keep reading my blogs to learn how we can make a difference in the world of architecture. Learn about creating architectural legacies that age with grace and dignity through time.

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2019 Clayton Vance