‘The worst building in the world awards’ | Culture | Architects Journal

A massive gulf persists between the buildings that win architecture awards and those that  the public prefers, suggests research by Create StreetsIn 1987 a young psychologist conducted an experiment into how repeated exposure to an image changed perceptions of it. A group of volunteer students were shown photographs of unfamiliar people and buildings and asked to rate them in terms of attractiveness. Some of the volunteers were architects; some were not. As the experiment progressed, a fascinating finding became clear: while everyone had similar views on which people were attractive, the architecture and non-architecture students had diametrically opposed views on…

John Hayes (Minister of State for Transport): The Journey to Beauty (2016)

The rarity with which the case for beauty is articulated is explained partly by timidity, and partly by unwillingness to challenge modernist determinism; by the surrender of many decent people to the Whiggish notion that the future is bound to be better than now and, in any case, there isn’t much we can do about altering it. The aesthetics of our built environment – including our transport architecture – has suffered from what Sir Roger Scruton has called the Cult of Ugliness. Yet there are signs that we’re on the cusp of a popular revolt against this soulless cult, and…

Architecture and our duty to beauty | The Independent

… the case I have been making for beauty as public good rests on the fact that it does not require us to get into controversial disagreements about matters of fine aesthetic judgement. So, it may indeed be true that “beautiful” is not the only positive aesthetic judgement, but when we are concerned with public space, we are not primarily concerned with making those other kinds of judgements. What we’re interested in is simply creating or preserving a shared space that enhances the lives of people who live in it. I might think a building is utterly wonderful but concede…

James K.A. Smith in Practices Making Community at Judson’s Didier Symposium

The Judson University Department of Architecture and the Association for Christians in Architecture will host the fifth annual James Didier Symposium On Christ & Architecture Sept. 15-16. …. This year’s symposium will include an impressive roster of featured guest speakers who will take on challenging and relevant topics: • “Places of the Heart: How We Learn to Love” at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15. Calvin College professor of philosophy and author James K.A. Smith will address the Judson community, including architecture students and faculty, visiting architects, arts professionals, as well as place-based and home schooling educators. He will explain what…

Design for the One Percent | Jacobin

Not so long ago, the world’s leading architects debated how architecture could be used to transform society by providing housing for workers, improving public health, and fostering social solidarity. Today, global architecture is peopled with “starchitects” like Hadid who specialize in mega projects for the global elite. Some of the starchitects’ projects are beautiful, to be sure. But they also often waste public money, facilitate corrupt and exploitative practices, and strengthen a planning model that excludes the populace from decision-making. Many architectural creations are poorly constructed, requiring exorbitant maintenance costs (invariably following massive budget overruns) and lacking consideration for the…

If women built cities, what would our urban landscape look like? | Cities | The Guardian

I meet urban anthropologist Caroline Moser at her house in north London. Moser, who is 70, pioneered a gender-aware approach to planning at the Development Planning Unit at UCL, and spent much of her career doing fieldwork in Latin American slums. She is recovering from a broken foot, but has agreed to take me on a walk to show me what the gendered city looks like – and what we could expect to see more of, if planners and architects more routinely thought in these terms. “This is the antithesis of the built environment, but also the most incredible space for women…

Making the Garden by Christopher Alexander | Articles | First Things

The whole purpose of the work I have done is to show that the presence of God in a matter-­configuration is an objectively existing condition, and that there are specific paths and methods and habits of thought through which we may create buildings where the presence of God can be seen and felt. The two go hand in hand. …. That new vision can become a new source of inspiration and motivation. I call it new not because it is at root genuinely new. Of course it is not—it is ancient. But it is entirely new in our era to…

A modest revival | Intelligent Life magazine 

Concerns are being raised about imposing buildings that ignore the urban contexts in which they are built, fail to make any concession to the human scale, and serve only as three-dimensional branding for their creators. These critiques echo an earlier generation’s displeasure with the anonymous global products of post-war Modernism. One response was Critical Regionalism, an approach that sought to humanise Modernism by making it more sensitive to place. The reaction this time around is more akin to the return to analogue that can be observed throughout contemporary culture – in the enthusiasm for vinyl records and handicrafts, for example….

It’s time to rethink the entire role and language of architecture | Cities | The Guardian

As architects, we are living at a time of shifting paradigms. In the past, the scale of our designs grew large, but how many people were we really engaging with? Today, we understand better the sheer complexity of the issues at play when we design and plan buildings, neighbourhoods and even entire cities – and this demands a new, more open approach. It’s why I’m so interested in how architects and urban planners engage with other fields – economics, security, the environment and so on. Our challenge must be to go beyond architecture and speak the languages of these other…

Look up, there is a problem with architecture – Opinion – The Boston Globe

IT’S ALWAYS bad news when a more or less respectable enterprise gins up a PR campaign to convince you of its legitimacy. Case in point: The United Church of Christ’s “God Is Still Speaking” media offensive, which kicked off with considerable hoopla about a decade ago. Was God still speaking? Whoever said she had stopped speaking? I found the whole thing confusing. So now a profession dwelling comfortably under the radar — architecture — is doing likewise. The American Institute of Architects has launched a three-year advertising and social media campaign dubbed “Look Up,” to raise awareness of the role…