"First we build our buildings and then our buildings build us," Churchill once said. A Walt Whitman poem describes a similar relationship between buildings and the people who live in them: "A child went forth," and the first thing he saw he became on that day, and from that day forward. These two statements express different aspects of the metaphorical and symbolic level of form and our capacity to shape our environment according to our values, culture, and aspirations. Often our forms are pregnant with meaning that we don't understand. The buildings and environmental forms we shape in turn shape our consciousness; and within this new framework we further design new buildings. Forms can be metaphors or symbols for states of being, and these forms with their meaning for good or ill can imprint the subconscious mind and affect future action.
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