Opus Mixtum

Opus Mixtum

Opus Mixtum. Do you know what it means?

It means literally mixed work, or different construction materials and techniques in the same wall.

It was widely used in Ancient Rome and back then architects and builders were not shy about using different materials like bricks, tufa blocks, stone boulders in the same wall.

Nowadays when you see a building wall it is pretty uniform: perfectly aligned pattern of brickwork, a grid of concrete blocks or a set of granite tiles laid in a perfect order.

Why do we do that? Why do we thrive to create order, pattern, perfect rhythm of flat surfaces?

Because we are pattern recognition machines. That’s how our brain is designed and functions.

There is a whole field of psychology and consciousness studies devoted to this subject. But grossly simplified it goes like that: it is simply a matter of survival for your ancient ancestor to recognize an approaching leopard in a dense forest between the chaos of leaves and shadows.

We have a gift of pattern recognition.

That’s why when you solve a visual puzzle in the entertainment section of a newspaper you have a pleasant “aha” sensation. You are wired for pattern recognition.

Patterns are not just pleasant. They also give a sense of order, safety, stability. That’s a difference between dangerous and unpredictable nature and safety and comforting order of our dwellings and cities.

Patterns we create are just projections of our consciousness. That’s part of what we are.