19th century English critic John Ruskin said: The purpose of architecture
is to raise men’s spirits. The front porch is an expression of
that ideal. It offers the example of social and architectural interaction
which creates an inspiring, warm hearted environment. When joined in
community with others, it can inspire emotional responses in human beings
which are uplifting.
to the dictionary, porch and veranda define each other, a room or covered
entrance attached to, but outside, a building. One feels that a veranda
is an expansive porch.
Porches and verandas are mediating spaces where home meets lane and
conversations are welcome, rocking chairs beckon and friendships nurtured.
These settings are meaningful cradles for human contact and repose.
They are also restorative places where individual human beings can enjoy
the view and replenish the soul. A rocker on the porch offers a sympathetic
vantage point on a corner of creation, a place to fall in love with
The porch or veranda was a conscious expression in domestic architecture
of the human desire to relish life during a period in our history when
leisure and ease were valued, it is an architectural element which sustains
Andrew Jackson Downing, in his 1850 book Architecture of Country Houses,
makes several illuminating references to the veranda ( or porch), architecture,
and its spiritual and moral significance. Downing wrote:
The larger expression of domestic enjoyment is conveyed by the verandah…a
verandah is a positive luxury in all the warmer part of the year, since
in mid-summer it is the resting-place, lounging-spot, and place of social
resort, of the whole family…there are few greater luxuries in
a country house in an American summer…than such a cool and airy
verandah – especially if it looks out upon our fine river or lake
While these thought were written more than 150 years ago, they are still
relevant today. The porch, as a resting place, does not exist in a vacuum.
It exists in the same brew of social and personal concerns it always
has, that is why it retains its value. The porch or veranda is an archetypal
psychic resting place. Beyond the necessities of shelter, it represents
the principle embellishment of an abode for the sake of rest, relaxation
and pure enjoyment of living.
The great French painter Henri Matisse wrote:
What I dream of is an art of balance, of purity and serenity devoid
of troubling or depressing subject- matter, an art which might be for
every mental worker, be he businessman or writer, like an appeasing
influence, like a mental soother, something like a good armchair in
which to rest from physical fatigue.
This has been my artistic ideal. The porch or veranda has been my motif
because of its emotional associations which further my aesthetic goal.
My paintings embody a restorative experience which is communicated to
the viewer. Porches are sanctuaries, and my paintings become sanctuaries
so that the spirit rises and burdens are lightened when relaxing in