Warrior for Truth and Beauty | City Journal

In many ways, Esolen’s book can be seen as a response to Mencken, a meditation on why beauty and truth are such inseparable mates—or contrariwise, why falsehood always begets ugliness. Certainly, Esolen’s concern for the absence of beauty in our culture has all of Mencken’s passionate solicitude. “Our young people are not only starved for nature,” he writes. “They are starved for beauty. Everywhere they turn, their eyes fall upon what is drab or garish.” Their schools, their music, their dress, their fast-food restaurants are unlovely. Indeed, even their churches are ugly. To gauge the quality of Esolen’s appreciation for…

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…

CAA News | College Art Association » Blog Archive » The Role of Contextual Studies in Art School Education in Scotland | CAA

Since 1962–63, university level art and design education in the UK has included an “academic” element, which was originally referred to as the History of Art and Design and Complementary Studies and is now better known as Critical and Contextual Studies (CCS). This element was introduced to give “degree equivalence” to what was initially a quite technically focused diploma by providing context to studio practices and developing a broader range of skills in students. Topics taught under this rubric include histories of art and design, film and media histories, critical theory, aesthetics, and, more recently, curatorial and art writing practices….

The New Architecture Ornament – Icon Magazine

“We’re well on the way to having architects as hairdressers,” warns architect and writer Neil Spiller. He’s talking about style. Exactly a century after Adolf Loos’ seminal text Ornament and Crime, architects are using digital technology to generate elaborate decoration. But what are they trying to say with all their filigreed and tessellated patterns? Now that anything is possible, how do you choose what to do? And how do you know what’s radical anymore when radicals are “going baroque”? “Aesthetic discourse is the hot button issue for the next few years,” says Greg Lynn, one of the most prominent digital…

A Point of View: The strangely enduring power of kitsch – BBC News

In the early years of the 20th Century, the arts entered a period of revolution. Enough of the escapism, the modernists said. Art must show modern life as it is. Only in that way can it offer real consolation. Ornament is crime, declared the architect Adolf Loos, and all those baroque facades that line the streets of Vienna, encrusted with meaningless knobs and curlicues, are so many denials of the world in which we live. They tell us that beauty belongs in a vanished past. In the face of this message, Loos set out to discover a purer beauty –…

Q&A Roger Scruton | RIBAJ

Roger Scruton has been appointed to a government panel to ensure design quality in the delivery of 100,000 homes in its Starter Home initiative. Can this philosopher and writer really help give would-be purchasers what they want? …. You, Terry Farrell and Quinlan Terry heading the government’s design panel for new homes – are we looking at a large-scale classical renaissance? I doubt it. But of course, there is considerable evidence that the general public is dissatisfied with modernist architecture and the kind of perfunctory design that ignores the layout of streets and facades. The important task is to create…

The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Lecture on Architecture at the Chicago Humanities Festival: Niall Atkinson

What happens when the landmarks we use to orient ourselves within an urban landscape are unrecognizable, no longer there, or obscured by new construction? And what if it’s not the year 2014, but 1314 or 1414, long before cartographers considered turning their attention to the mapping of city streets? These are some of the questions that art historian Niall Atkinson explored on Saturday, November 1 in “Lost in the Renaissance,” the 2014 Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Lecture on Architecture at the Chicago Humanities Festival. Atkinson is the Neubauer Family Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of Chicago. He…

Tom Mayes: Why Do Old Places Matter? Individual Identity – The Blog for Preservation Leadership Forum

… recently, architect and preservationist James Marston Fitch wrote that “[preservation] affords the opportunity for the citizens to regain a sense of identity with their own origins of which they have often been robbed by the sheer process of urbanization.” 2 Each of us can probably think of a place, like Cicero’s childhood home, that seems to embody our identity, but how do old places “tell us who we are?” What exactly is this relationship between old places and identity? In earlier posts, I described how old places are critical for people to maintain a sense of continuity and of…

Stroik on Sacred Architecture / Tim Keller on “Why We Need Artists”

[excerpt from Sacred Revival by Colette Arredondo – City Journal.] A devout Catholic, Stroik is also a professor of classical architecture at the University of Notre Dame and principal at an architectural firm bearing his name in South Bend, Indiana. He is one of a select few architects that the Catholic Church calls when it seeks to build a church that “looks like a church.” His knowledge of sacred architecture informs his charge that the church buildings of the past 50 years have failed to serve the faithful well either as structures for spiritual nourishment or as houses of God. The…

Going Mental: Everyday Travel and the Cognitive Map

by Andrew Mondschein, Evelyn Blumenberg, and Brian D. Taylor How do you get to work? Do you have a preferred route to your favorite restaurant? To the nearest hospital? To Disneyland? If you know—or think you know—the answers to any of these questions, then your cognitive map is at work. Humans rely on mental maps to store knowledge of places and routes in order to engage in travel and activities. People use their cognitive maps to decide where to go and how to get there. But accessibility research has largely ignored this essential aspect of travel behavior, despite the fact that…