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Where is our home?

The relationship between architecture and John Steinbeck’s novel, “Of Mice and Men,” by Kevin Korpela (© 1998 observatorydrive.com)

Finding a home or a sense of place is a drive for all humans.

We want to feel calm, comfortable and creative.
We want a point on the earth where we know we can always return.
We want a house, some land and plenty of rabbits.

People, particularly Lennie and George in “Of Mice and Men,” have a desire for a spot of land, yet in the case of Lennie and George, they have none.

George and Lennie want a focus in their life but they live on the edge...always wanting a center but always living in the margin.

The image in their head is simple, a house, ten acres of land, a few chickens and plenty of rabbits. But their experiences on the edge are quite different. George and Lennie strive to avoid the complexity but inherently complexity abounds.

Large Lennie leaves squirlly Curley, the crew boss, with his arm in a sling and his hand in a glove, while Lennie leaves Curley’s wife with reddened lips, a flowery dress and a broken neck.

Architecture, and particularly a city, is similar to the lives lead by George and Lennie because like George and Lennie, architecture is both simple and complex.

A city like Salt Lake has an image of simplicity with huge 660 foot square city blocks. Yet these huge blocks could foster an extreme complexity. The vast street grid and their huge city blocks could give way to an edge. An edge comprised of a human–scaled, intimate experience inside the over-sized city blocks.

A city, like George and Lennie in “Of Mice and Men,” has a simple image of a grid of streets, but within this center, are the edges. An edge within the center. A complex image and location with intimate spaces and challenging places that could help us be and feel calm, comfortable and creative.

© Kevin Korpela, www.observatorydrive.com™