Challenge #5: No Beauty Pageant
We often say that beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. That is not always true, especially in terms of architecture.
There seem to be patterns in design -- scale, proportion, and elements -– that are inherently pleasing to people. This is the decidedly unscientific “lovable” or “huggable” factor that we often see with earlier eras of architecture and design.
In contrast, mid-century buildings and landscapes are sometimes criticized as being sterile, soulless, outright ugly, and even aesthetically challenged. Take Brutalism, for instance, an architectural style during this period that favors poured concrete, bold geometric shapes, and stark landscape settings. Even the name, Brutalism, does not exactly evoke warm and fuzzy feelings.
The realization that Modernist places may not be loved through traditional notions of beauty requires us to dig further in order to fully understand these buildings and landscapes and their role in history.