The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 8

WHY AREN'T
ALL BUILDINGS
BEAUTIFUL?
INTRODUCTION

ave you ever asked yourself this question? Probably not. We generally accept
that, on this earth, there is beauty and ugliness, just as there is good and
evil - the one extreme making the other extreme easier to identify.
With this question as our topic, we presented a seminar at the OAA/RAIC
Ottawa Conference, in May 2017. I wish I could tell you that we provided
a definitive answer, but the best we could do was to come up with some encouraging
leads. And thanks to our extremely animated audience, we also came up with new
areas to explore.
True to our mission, we are looking at the question from two different viewpoints:
a subjective angle (beauty is purely a personal matter) and an objective angle (it may
be personal, but there is some solid science behind it). Whether you agree with our
arguments or not, we hope that you will be encouraged to think about the question as
often as possible.

A SUBJECTIVE ANGLE
by GORDON S. GRICE OAA, FRAIC

WASHINGTON MONUMENT,
WASHINGTON, DC, ROBERT MILLS
CREDIT: NOSTRIX, CREATIVE COMMONS

o all buildings need to be beautiful? And, if so, who should decide what's
beautiful and what isn't?
Ian Ellingham and I have been looking into this question for about a
decade - Ian possibly longer - and finally, about five years ago, with the
help of several other writers and researchers, we tackled the subject headon in a collection of essays: "Why Are (Some) Buildings so Ugly?"1
We weren't aiming to eradicate ugly buildings, and to make sure that all buildings
would be beautiful from now on - as if that were a realistic, or even a desirable goal -
we were a lot more interested in finding ways to reconcile the difference between
what pleases the general public (who aren't afraid to call our work "ugly," if they feel
so inclined) and what pleases architects (who are more comfortable with words like
"challenging," and "thought-provoking").

8 | Read The Right Angle Journal online www.therightanglejournal.ca



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
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