I think it started when I was a kid. My dad and I used to go on adventures to nearby neighborhoods that were under construction where we would spend hours exploring the partially completed homes. With my mom, I would enjoy touring completed and decorated homes during organized events.
I learned love the feel of different spaces, the interplay of materials and the use of light in the structures. I would picture myself in the homes, imagining how I would live in the space. I would arrange furniture in my mind or debate potential renovations and alterations to improve the structure to fit my tastes.
I have carried that passion into adulthood; I gravitate towards architectural escapism, especially when stressed. In my former life, when I worked too much and was stretched too thin, I would spend a couple hours on occasional weekends flipping through books of floorplans, checked out from the library. I visit home tours when possible, but always love to go on long walks or runs through a variety of neighborhoods, from typical suburban to funky older areas to high end (where I sometimes have to sneak in the gates:) ). My head is turned to the side as I run, surveying the homes as I move past. Even now, my TV is turned to House Hunters International where I can be an overseas architectural voyeur.
As far as escapism methods go, this is pretty benign. It is legal, it won’t destroy my liver or my waistband and it leaves my wallet intact.
It’s still something I need to be careful about; however, as it can indicate that there is something in my life that I feel the need to escape from. It is almost as though I am picturing myself in another life. It has been interesting recently. I started watching HGTV during the two weeks of standardized testing at the beginning of April. I went from turning the TV on a couple times a month to watching a few times a week. I’m running more through neighborhoods and less through parks. I’d probably be reading floorplan books, but the library doesn’t have them available for the Kindle. Is it work stress that I am trying to escape from or something else? Or, maybe I just have houses on the brain as I look forward to buying one again? At this point, I’m just acknowledging the increase in my consumption of architecture. Noting it without analyzing it. If the drive continues, I’ll try to figure out why I’m pulled to houses. Meanwhile, I’ll just continue to enjoy or critique the styles and tastes of others:)
I can’t be the only one with this form of escapism. The sheer number of home shows speaks to this. How about you? Do you ever practice architectural escapism? When does it pull you?