Beauty, in the dictionary beauty is described as “The quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind, whether arising from sensory manifestations (as shape, colour, sound, etc.), a meaningful design or pattern, or something else (as a personality in which high spiritual qualities are manifest)”
In design beauty is subjective. There are many people like me who enjoy the use of glass and metal in building design, such as that used on The Shard and The Sage, but also those who think Large stone structures like The Baltic and Gaudi Buildings in Barcelona are what defines beauty. For me beauty is glass and metal, its fluid shapes, it’s the way it reflects the surrounding area. Instead of just taking the shapes of nature it portrays it across its surface, reflecting the sky, or trees, or a river… Buildings like the Gaudi ones in Barcelona to me are hideous. Some stone structures I am really fond of, but these buildings are too eccentric. There is lots of fluid natural designs in the shape and style but there is way to much of it. The overuse of shapes is what I find vulgar about it. Its just too much.
Does beauty change overtime?
Of course. Take a look at castles, the pyramids. Back then many millennia ago the stone structures built in Egypt where most likely considered very beautiful. But building that in the middle of the city nowadays would probably cause a stir and be classed as an ugly eyesore. Modern times came with changes, including materials a shift into not just stone, but now also metal, glass, even wood. So even though design changes overtime. Buildings like Gehry’s Cleveland clinic for Mental Health totally differ from any historic building in almost everyway. Materials, shape, use, location, all aspects are very modern. But just because times have changed doesn’t mean that particular shapes have to change. Places like the houses of parliament and Buckingham palace will most likely never change because of its high standing and royal connection, but going back to the pyramids there are plenty of examples where the shape has been used. Most notably, The Louvre in France has a huge glass pyramid outside. At first it was disliked by many but has now become one of the most recognisable things in Paris. This proves old design, even if it does have a modern twist can still be very beautiful.
What are the problems with beautiful design?
Sustainability, cost, pleasing everyone. There are dozens of problems with a design that is classed as beautiful. Lots of categories can come under sustainability. Some examples are is it being used, does the space it take up become useful. Energy efficiency, buildings like The Sage is not energy efficient, there is a very large space and trying to heat that is useless, heat will escape. Is the building created from recycled materials? Sometimes this can be a good thing but there can be counter effect. A building can be created from recycled materials but if you have to transport that material from a far away place such as a different country it kind of defeats the idea of being eco friendly.
A building also has to be cost effective. This also clashes with the purpose of the structure. If a building cost millions to make and is full of luxury apartments, that are unaffordable then it is not a cost effective building. Creating a building like the shard with its £78 apartments is not very cost effective considering its place in London where many working class people work, most of which who could never afford such an apartment. But on the other hand The Shard is a multi purpose building, full of office space, a hotel and even a restaurant, this makes it slightly more cost effective.
I consider both the Sage and the Shard beautiful pieces of design. But both have many problems. The sustainability factor is a problem with beautiful design. The Shard can be classed as sustainable but can also swing the other way. Speaking of the shard, it has mixed reviews. Some people think it is an eyesore on the London skyline where as others love the way that the building shows the way London is shifting into a futuristic modern city. Not everyone can say a beautiful building is beautiful.