what is 'beauty' in Architecture?

Olaf Design Ninja_

proportions? which proportions? ambiance? function? form? space? parameters? algorithms? sustainability? hedonism? diagrams? abstraction? tectonics? composition? materiality? all above?

what is 'beauty' in Architecture? is there 'beauty' in Architecture? is there 'beauty'?

Apr 26, 15 9:52 am

olaf, yes there is but its subjective to 2 main things...nature and nurture...I believe that by nature humans find some things inherently beautiful for what ever reason...probably evolved to for some one looks at a waterfall and says "thats hideous"...By nurture I mean that some things are dependant on culture and personal experiances...some people find snakes beautiful, some do not...If you were a kid that studied reptiles from books you may...If you were a kid that was bitten by one you may not...Funny thing is that without the ceases to exist...The observor creates the concept of beauty...

Apr 26, 15 11:56 am

its mo different in architecture... architectural form can act as a connotation for things that we find beautiful by nature or nurture...some proportions are by evolution desirable...we subvonciously look for them in mates...and probably subconsciously see them in inanimate objects too.  

Apr 26, 15 12:01 pm

Let me fix that for you:

the kind of observer who can voice opinions which command respect because the observations on which they are based are clearly more than unthinking prejudices

Beauty as visually pleasing is a very limited concept. There is beauty in economy, juxtaposition, balance, simplicity, complexity, scale, texture, color, light, shadow, etc. That our perception system is primarily visual does not limit the concept of beauty to what is visually observable.

A major aspect of good design is the quality of function. What I notice is not so much those things that work perfectly but those things that don't.

Apr 26, 15 12:11 pm

For me truth is beauty and beauty is truth. There are many kinds of truth and many kinds of beauty.

I just watched a show on the aftermath of aid given for the Haiti earthquake. The money was siphoned off in a web of graft, corruption and kickbacks.

Town houses were built for some Americans, 2 soccer fields, a police station and  a community center and a garment factory which does not employ any of the victims of the earthquake.  Almost none was given to solve the real problems. There is no running water and a Cholera epidemic has broken out. The people there are living in squalor and desperate poverty.

Some Architects offered some housing solutions that were everything from log cabins to modernist spaceships.

Beauty in this case would be some infrastructure and some running water.

I think we as Architects should stop arguing about inside baseball issues and demand that before our services are rendered that a clear understanding of the problems be addressed at the programing stage so that we are not just window dressing on corruption.

Apr 26, 15 12:52 pm

Michael Benedikt might say (I'm paraphrasing): Beauty has a component of Realness, and Realness is made up of Presence, Significance, Materiality, and Emptiness.

Apr 26, 15 1:19 pm

window dressing on corruption

+++ 'Nerd 

Apr 26, 15 2:55 pm
Olaf Design Ninja_

i'll read all these but via DWLindman on the Piano Whitney post I learned this

....Luis Barragan's observation that "Beauty is the Oracle that speaks to us all."


Donna, you had me at Michael Benedikt ;) 

don't make me get this off the bookshelf for the fifteenth read

Apr 26, 15 7:55 pm
I go with Donna on this one as well (and I've also read Benedikt multiple times). There is a realness that all my favorite buildings have. Some might call them ugly, but to me they are beautiful.
Apr 26, 15 10:04 pm
Erik Evens (EKE)

I may have posted this before, but if you haven't seen it, it's well worth watching:

Dennis Dutton: A Darwinian Theory of Beauty

Apr 27, 15 2:29 am
Erik Evens (EKE)

On the redemptive value of beauty in art.  Tom Robbins, from Skinny Legs and All:

"Beauty! Wasn’t that what mattered?  Beauty was hardly a popular ideal at that jumpy moment in history.  The masses had been desensitized to it, the intelligentsia regarded it with suspicion.  To most of her peers, “beauty” smacked of the rarefied, the indulgent, the superfluous, the effete.  How could persons of good conscience pursue the beautiful when there was so much suffering and injustice in the world? Ellen Cherry’s answer was that if one didn’t cultivate beauty, soon he or she wouldn’t be able to recognize ugliness.  The prevalence of social ugliness made commitment to physical beauty all the more essential.  And the very presence in life of double-wide mobile homes, Magic Marker graffiti, and orange shag carpeting had the effect of making ills such as poverty, crime, repression, pollution, and child abuse seem tolerable.  In a sense, beauty was the ultimate protest, and, in that it generally lasted longer than an orgasm, the ultimate refuge.  The Venus de Milo screamed “No!” at evil, whereas the Spandex stretch pant, the macramé plant holder were compliant with it.  Ugly bedrooms bred ugly habits.  Of course, it wasn’t required of beauty that it perform a social function.  That was what was valuable about it.  Even more than virtue, it was its own reward."

Apr 27, 15 9:57 am

ugly is often more interesting than beautiful. is it ok to accept and enjoy both?

Apr 27, 15 10:32 am

Funny thing is that without the ceases to exist...The observor creates the concept of beauty.

Apr 27, 15 2:13 pm

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