I don’t quite know where I stand on the matter of the relationship between architecture and moral development. I do recognise a few basic principles; Moulding concrete blocks with graffiti on every floor, urine, a lift that doesn’t work and a compulsive alcoholic howling next door = bad, Como House = good (if you could afford the help). In general, I like old houses because of the goodness of the materials – proper brick walls, for instance, which make the attached rows of cottages in Melbourne livable, the sheltering verandahs, and the high ceilings in the old Victorians which lent a certain airy elegance to life even when the inhabitants were more Young Ones than young aspirationals. And I have always felt for any young’un leaving home who has never scored a room in a shared Victorian, but has only known low ceilings and fibreboard walls.
Now Boynton has uncovered a survey which says “ceiling height can affect how a person thinks, feels and acts”. Well, it is true that this study was done by an “assistant professor of marketing”, an appellation I respect about as much as some people respect French postmodernists. Still and all, it does seem intuitive to me that a high ceiling is freer, airier, and just nicer.
Of course, if you’re at work, the ceilings which are made out of glass or marble might be more of a problem.