Architecture in Contemporary Literature

An Architectural Allegory for “The Ideal Human” (The Fountainhead)

Author(s): Emre Karacaoğlu * .

Pp: 32-37 (6)

DOI: 10.2174/9789815165166123010006

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)

Abstract

Essentially an exploration of the Russian-born American author, Ayn Rand’s philosophy, and objectivism, her novel, ‘The Fountainhead’, holds a well-deserved spot in the architectural world. Although criticized harshly for a number of its literary aspects, the world-famous work emphasizes that integrity is one of the distinguishing qualities between individuals who have retained their sense of self and others who have succumbed to the ideas of equality, acceptance and altruism. This central idea is presented to the reader via the allegorical story of the archetypal “ideal person/architect,” Howard Roark, who epitomizes the tenets of Rand’s philosophy. Rand recounts this story through the depiction of four different characters, Keating, Toohey, Wynand, and Roark, whose lives and choices represent logical variations on her philosophical and psychological themes. As opposed to Roark, Keating is a conformist and surrenders his judgment for acceptance and success. Toohey is a power seeker with no tangible talent other than rhetoric, and Wynand, the only sound character in the novel, is a publisher of vulgar tabloids, yet possesses the innate essence to appreciate humanity’s noblest achievements. Architecture serves as an all-encompassing metaphor, and the protagonist’s architectural views represent his philosophy of life, just as buildings designed by Peter Keating and other characters represent their philosophies. The novel emphasizes that the basic principle embodied by the architect is inscribed in their work, while also reminding the reader that each individual continues to exist with such an absolute principle.


Keywords: Achitecture, Ayn rand, Altruism, Conformism, Egoism, Ethics, Ethical selfishness, Ideal human, Integrity, Individualism, Morality, Objectivism, Pioneering, Self-expression, Socialism, Visionary.

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