Beauty vs. “Wow Factor”

In the past, civic buildings (court houses, libraries, schools) were beautiful. Now, museums look like a piece of crumpled aluminum foil cast aside on an untidy street. Courthouses are, except for the concrete bomb barriers, indistinguishable from office buildings. Schools are designed as factories for processing children from hatchlings to semi-literate refugees fleeing home for college anywhere but here. Any school building design that looks different from any other school is immediately rejected as a frivolous waste of taxpayer funds (even if it’s not).

The Paris Opera House. There's no doubt that the builders wanted a beautiful image as a statement of their importance to the cultural life of the city.

The world has changed for good and bad, but I do wish that the Deciders would decide that we need a little beauty in our lives and that buildings built with public funds would reflect the overwhelming preference of we commoners for beautiful buildings instead of the “important design statements” preferred by by academics and style-makers.

A Museum in Denver- it might make you stop and look, but is it beautiful? (Trick question! No, it's not.)


About More Than Architects

I’m Rick Clanton. Michael Ruegamer and I are architects and the principals of Group 3 Design on Hilton Head Island, SC. We provide architecture and interior design services for homes in the US and the Caribbean Islands.
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One Response to Beauty vs. “Wow Factor”

  1. Vernon says:

    The museum is quite a structural and geometric feat, but just because you can does not mean you should.

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