Beauty as experience

Research into the experience of beauty

Beauty and architecture have a pretty problematic relationship. In architectural discourse beauty is often neglected because of its presupposed subjective character. Architects are generally afraid of: ‘’Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’’. Subsequently, architectural theories that are dealing with beauty tend to focus on the formal objective characteristics of buildings. While we can be certain that the statement ‘’The golden section is beautiful’’ can just not always be true. In this research we unite these two opposites, the subjective and the objective, by merging them into an experience related theory.

Beauty and architecture have a pretty problematic relationship. In architectural discourse beauty is often neglected because of its presupposed subjective character. Architects are generally afraid of: ‘’Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’’. Subsequently, architectural theories that are dealing with beauty tend to focus on the formal objective characteristics of buildings. While we can be certain that the statement ‘’The golden section is beautiful’’ can just not always be true. In this research we unite these two opposites, the subjective and the objective, by merging them into an experience related theory.

The project ‘’Beauty as Experience’’ is a theoretical and philosophical research on the decomposition of the Experience of Beauty in architecture and urbanism. This experience is decomposed in order to find elements in it that are of use in the architectural design process and have value in the actual built thing. We found the following elements: Atmosphere, The Frame, A Border Condition, The Promise of More.

 

These four elements refer to inter-subjective qualities of things we perceive. By understanding them we can start to recognize them and eventually use them as a toolset in our designs.

This research was based on writings by Immanuel Kant, John Dewey, Gottfried Böhme, Iain McGilchrist and Alexander Nehamas. And draws inspiration from the work done by Kevin Lynch, Gordon Cullen and Camillo Sitte.

Details

Project

Beauty as experience

Team

Anton Zoetmulder, Elise Zoetmulder

Category

Research