The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 17

St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), in Summa Theologica, suggested that beauty results
from wholeness (or perfection), harmony, and clarity. Jane Jacobs offered the opinion
that visual order is important - by avoiding conflicting impressions, complex urban
environments are less likely to be seen as confusing and disordered. Wine connoisseur Hugh Johnson, explained his favourite wines are those that "stand out for their
boldness, freshness, sweetness of savour. Ideally a balance of all these." A foodie
friend of mine expressed the opinion that the elements of a particular meal were
wonderful, but that they did not fit together: the chef was young and he would learn.
Expressed in a different way, there is a "feeling of rightness" that, for a number
of reasons, "originates deep in our cognitive architecture." Numbers of studies have
shown that harmony is preferred to chaos by most people. People seek patterns; if
things are illegible, do not align with any of their mental prototypes,
or do not fit together, they will tend to quickly reject the whole.
There are numbers of lessons to be learned from the consideration
of the Duntroon house. The first is that every designer has some
obligation to consider the group of people that will be encountering
a building or space, and not to worry too much about the response
of other designers. Psychologists and neuroscientists have shown
us sets of guidelines, that are likely to evoke a positive reaction.
It remains for the designer to manipulate the variables to achieve
an outcome that is capable of generating some level of delight
in the onlookers.
FURTHERING THE DEBATE

John Cleese, in his 2014 book So, Anyway, recounts the strange reaction of an audience
at a rehearsal/preview of a London comedy show: "We were not getting the laughs
we were accustomed to. [...] Then some of the audience started laughing at things no
one had ever previously laughed at. [...] [W]e were bewildered." What the performers
found was that the tickets had been sold primarily to a conference of psychiatrists.
Apparently psychiatrists have a sense of humour that is fundamentally different from
that of a less-biased population sample. People's behaviour is frequently surprising.
In a recent article in The Globe and Mail entitled "alt-right vs. the avant-garde"
(July 10, 2017), Russell Smith ranted about modernist architecture and its theoretical
links with some sort of exclusive, almost subversive, movement of left-wing liberal
intellectuals, who create buildings they like, and ignore the preferences of what might
be termed the "plain, honest working-class" right. But is that really the case? Without
evidence, it is just talk and supposition.

DUNTROON HOUSE INTERIOR
PHOTO: RICHARD JOHNSON

KUNSTHAUS GRAZ, AUSTRIA, PETER COOK AND COLIN FOURNIER
CREDIT: MARION SCHNEIDER & CHRISTOPH AISTLEITNER, PUBLIC DOMAIN.

The Right Angle | Winter 2017/2018 | 17



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017

Message from the Board
Why aren’t All Buildings Beautiful?
Resilience: The Forest and the Trees
Index to Advertisers
Locations: City Lights Bookstore, San Francisco
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - Intro
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - cover1
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - cover2
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 3
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 4
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 5
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 6
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - Message from the Board
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - Why aren’t All Buildings Beautiful?
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 9
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 10
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 11
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 12
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 13
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 14
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 15
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 16
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 17
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 18
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - Resilience: The Forest and the Trees
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - Index to Advertisers
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - Locations: City Lights Bookstore, San Francisco
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 22
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - cover3
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/BEFQ/BEFQ0320
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/BEFQ/BEFQ0220
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/BEFQ/BEFQ0120
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/BEFQ/BEFQ0419
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/BEFQ/BEFQ0319
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/BEFQ/BEFQ0219
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/BEFQ/BEFQ0119
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/BEFQ/BEFQ0418
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/BEFQ/BEFQ0318
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/BEFQ/BEFQ0218
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/BEFQ/BEFQ0118
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/BEFQ/BEFQ0417
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/BEFQ/BEFQ0317
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com