Beauty can be a loaded word for fine arts sensibilities of any sort. The intellectualization of aesthetics is particularly daunting when it comes to our perceived essentials: preciously artisanal food, bizarre high-fashion clothing, the ambience and design of homes. In the last few years, scientists have begun to understand that beauty is not a learned value of a civilization, but something hard-wired into humans and part of our heredity. Some in the world of aesthetics see a direct connection between how humans design with how we perceive beauty—and when it comes to architectural design, the elemental simplicity of what deeply moves all humans should not be ignored as nostalgia or pandering. That baseline truth needs to be used in the creation of the places where we live, or we fail our humanity.
This podcast is part of a regular series, Home Page, hosted by architect Duo Dickinson. It airs on WPKN, in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
Home welcomes three thought leaders in the new world of beauty, a world that existed before the establishment of the academy, a human reality that is independent of abstract constructs or rationalizations. But beauty is not always what designers can control, or show: it may be that “beauty” is revealed to designers through the eyes, hearts, and minds of those who use their designs.
Join HOME PAGE for an hour of finding Beauty where we have always lived. Joining first is Martin C. Pedersen, who created a forum for new ideas in design, at the Common Edge Collaborative, which has become a place where ideas of a beauty-based architectural ethic are being discussed. Pedersen is executive director of Common Edge, a not-for-profit web site dedicated to public engagement in architecture and planning. A critic, author and journalist, Pedersen served as executive editor at Metropolis Magazine for nearly a decade and a half. He lives in New Orleans
A multi-discipline academic, Dr. Nikos A. Salingaros, a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Texas at San Antonio, is on the faculty of the Building Beauty Program, and has held guest professorships in Architecture at the Delft University of Technology, Tecnológico de Monterrey, Querétaro, Mexico, and Università di Roma III. He is an internationally recognized architectural theorist and urbanist, who has worked with Christopher Alexander and others at defining and exploring the realities of beauty that have often been unaddressed in teaching design.
Donald H. Ruggles, AIA, NCARB, ICAA, has just written Beauty, Neuroscience & Architecture, and is president of Ruggles Mabe Studio, a design firm based in Colorado. Founded in 1970, the firm is dedicated to the idea that beauty can improve the lives of its clients. The firm’s projects have been featured in publications throughout the U.S. and Europe, and has received numerous awards for its work and dedication to the industry. Ruggles is deeply involved in the Institute of Classical Architecture and serves on the Board of Advisors for the University of Colorado Denver College of Architecture and Planning and on the Board of Advisors for the Center of Advanced Research for Traditional Architecture.
Featured image: Thorncrown Chapel, designed by E. Fay Jones; photo by Randall Connaughton.