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Beauty and Judgment: Venice Roundtable Discussion

Beauty and Judgment: Venice Roundtable Discussion Via Appia and Via Ardeatina from Le Antichita Romane, 1756; Giovanni Battista Prinanesi;  © Harvard Arts Museums

Via Appia and Via Ardeatina from Le Antichita Romane, 1756; Giovanni Battista Prinanesi; © Harvard Arts Museums

2 August 2016
by Alastair Donald

Organised by Dundee based AE Foundation, Beauty and Judgement is the British Pavilion contribution to Encounters in Optimism, a programme of lectures, debates and salon talks at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition. 

British Pavilion, 2.00 – 3.30pm, Friday 26 August 2016
Coordinator, Samuel Penn, AE Foundation

Featuring speakers Angela Deuber (ADA), Adrien Verschuere (Baukunst), and Andrea Zanderigo (Baukuh, San Rocco), and chaired by Rowan Mackinnon-Pryde (Reiach & Hall Architects, AE Foundation), the panel will explore the role of beauty and aesthetics in practice today.

There was a time when architecture was understood as a predominantly aesthetic discipline. That didn’t mean that the architect was concerned solely with how buildings looked, but rather that the skill of the architect was to tackle a range of issues related to context and function: these criteria were addressed as an artistic activity, and quality judged according to commonly agreed standards.

Today as architecture oscillates between two extremes, the pursuit of the icon and the mass production of the mundane, architects seem largely reluctant to discuss beauty or describe and defend their work in aesthetic terms. So how should we explain the collapse of the aesthetic in architecture and the broader cultural dismissal of the importance beauty and individual judgment? At a time when agendas from sustainability to community seem to take precedence, is re-invigorating the case for beauty at best a distraction or simply a utopian dream? And if the pursuit of beauty is to be reclaimed, how can aesthetic judgment go beyond the legacy of postmodernism and the dominance of personal taste and patterns of preference?

This event is free to beinnale attendees, click here for full details of all roundtable participants.