Build with Beauty
Buildings are too important not to be designed and made really well. They are large, long lasting and affect the daily lives of thousands of people, often well beyond the lifetimes of the building’s makers. They are the ways in which we make a habitat for ourselves, the ways we shape the world around us to create our place on this planet. Alongside all the practical needs we use buildings to meet, we deeply need them to be beautiful, to reflect back to us the effort, care and craftsmanship that went into their making.
The practice of architecture requires, therefore, both humility and determination: humility to make buildings as an offering to others of the highest beauty, and determination not to let that beauty be eroded by the many pressures of the design and construction process. Fortunately, when a beautiful building is envisioned as the end result, the process of designing and making can be a joyful shared endeavour, the effort eased by the nobility of the aim and the work an expression of love in action.
Beauty is often confused with style or the expectation that a certain coded message must be interpreted from the design. Likewise, aesthetics if often thought – in our visually dominant culture - to be merely the outward appearance of things. Rather, we strive for beauty in architecture that touches all of our senses and creates a rich experience of space that does not need interpretation or classification. Such spaces are just a joy to inhabit, to move around, to pass from outside to in, to rest in an intimate hidden corner or take in the view across a grand volume.
For us beauty is also an experience of connection, of a desire to come closer, to come into relationship. Beauty in architecture is therefore a profound opportunity to enable people to be drawn into closer connection with the natural world. Rather than cutting us off, buildings can become instruments that sensitise us to the passing wind and weather, that bring us into alignment with the trajectories of the sun, that embrace and amplify our experience of the surrounding landscape.