What Is Beauty?

Here is a quotation from architect Teddy Cruz, interviewed for the BMW Guggenheim Lab on the question of what it means for a city to be beautiful:

I am thinking of the experiential dimension of beauty, less based on an ocular-centric quality and more on a sort of subliminal drama and vibrancy, an atmosphere, a process of encountering and co-existing with the “other.” This is an aesthetic approach that embraces contradictions and requires risk. It is an idea of beauty that does not smother and suppress contradictions or conceal conflict. On the other hand, I am imagining an idea of urban beauty that is not exclusive, but one that emerges out of a socioeconomic and political inclusion.

In other words, I do not care for a city that pursues beauty just to serve the purpose of the very fortunate few that can have access to its manicured identity. A city is beautiful to the extent that it is an inclusive city whose spaces are catalysts—not for an urbanism of consumption, but for an urbanism of cultural production, of a collective imagination.

Considered in these terms, what does it mean for a person to be beautiful? How about a work of art? A home? A school? A body of work?


About reflectionsandrotations

I'm an educator and coach with a special interest in fostering creative thinking, designing effective learning environments, and building communities of learners
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