The Nine-Step Architectural Beauty Detox Plan

Generali tower, milan by zaha hadid
Generali Tower, Milan by Zaha Hadid / © Graham McKay

In 1755, Francesco Algarotti, disgusted with what opera had become, wrote An Essay On The Opera in which he called for its simplification. For Algarotti, opera had degenerated into a vehicle for soloists to grandstand with endless improvisations overshadowing the music and ignoring the drama. Even the drama had lost the plot with mythological characters in extraordinary and complex situations. Algarotti saw drama as being the essence of opera and wanted the emphasis restored to it, with everything else secondary. Christoph Willibald Gluck and his librettist, Ranieri de’ Calzabigi, were the first to make it work with their 1762 opera Orfeo ed Euridice. It had characters and drama people could relate to, music that could be remembered and lyrics and a plot that could be understood. It’s regarded as the first truly modern opera.

Early 21st century architecture resembles 18th century opera with starry soloists impressing audiences with their stylings and ornamentations, but there’s no architectural Algarotti proposing any obvious and achievable vision of what architecture should be. In my previous piece for Common Edge I wrote that we need a new definition of architectural beauty and someone rightly pointed out that we also need to work out how to go about getting one. Deciding what we want architecture to be is the first step towards getting a new definition of architectural beauty. Working towards it follows naturally from that.

It was only possible to get opera back on track because of Algartotti’s firm and clear idea of what opera should be so, for the sake of argument, let’s suppose that architecture exists for the good of humanity. What’s stopping it?

Anything a Starchitect Does
Architecture has history of following the money. In the distant past it pandered to the agendas and egos of rich rulers and property developers, and in its recent past panders to rich property developer rulers whether in Shanghai, Doha, Baku, Mexico City or New York. This has had the effect of skewing the definition of architecture in the direction of projects of dubious economic, environmental and ethical foundation. […]

Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today.
Aline Chahine
Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today. Highlights Aline founded Architecture Lab in 2008 Lead editor of dan | dailyarchnews since 2019 Founded and Creative Director of DesignRaid Licensed architect with creative sales and marketing experience Experience As full-fledged architect, Aline's background involved a great deal of research that lead to the creation of Architecture Lab as an online database of exemplary design. Her experience snowballed into founding two architecture platforms, Architecture Lab and DesignRaid. Education Aline received USEK’s Master of Architecture in 2004 and BA in English from the University of Toronto
TITLE | Founder of Architecture Lab
About Architecture Lab Architecture Lab is a MKR.S Media brand, a website devoted to extraordinary design and aesthetics aiming to promote exceptional aesthetic values and sustainable design in all it's shapes and sizes. Learn more about us and our editorial process and feel free to contact us if you would like to see something in particular on the website, our certified experts will get back to you with the most trustworthy advice as soon as possible. Read all articles by Aline | Follow her on LinkedIn

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