If you ask any architect, from the most fuddy-duddy and conventional to the most cutting-edge post-modern genius, what a good building should deliver, most likely you'll hear the same poetic-sounding response: "Commodity, firmness and delight." It sounds good, but what does it mean? And, more importantly, why should you care? First things first. "Commodity" means that a structure should function as the client intended. "Firmness" means it should be well built, and "delight" means it should enhance your life. This simple truth was first stated by the Roman architect Vitruvius about 2,000 years ago. Along with nearly everything else in antiquity, it was forgotten during the Dark Ages and rediscovered during the Italian Renaissance. Since then, "commodity, firmness and delight" has been the guiding principle for every successive generation of architects. With home-building, and every other kind of construction, delight is the most engaging aspect of this architectural trinity, but commo...
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