Home Sweet Home

The house has always been a structure in which we seek shelter from the elements, a place to feel safe. It is somewhere that we turn to when seeking shelter from attack.

The rain set early in tonight,
The sullen wind was soon awake,
It tore the elm-tops down for spite,
And did its best to vex the lake:
I listened with heart fit to break.
When glided in Porphyria; straight
She shut the cold out and the storm,
And kneeled and made the cheerless grate
Blaze up and all the cottage warm;’
 [1]

(Robert Brown- Porphyria’s Lover)

In urban landscapes, we build a fortress around us from the ground to the sky and it is here that Rilke claims to be most afraid, because storms in their ‘elemental pride, (do not) see us. Instead, he claims that he feels safest in the countryside where ‘storms do see a lonely house…’ [2] From the rural to the urban landscape, we have sought different ways of providing shelter for ourselves. Yet, in the face of the wrath of nature, our buildings and structures are ruthlessly torn from their foundations.

 

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[2] Gaston Bachelard, House and Universe, p. 42. 

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