ONCE A GENERAL NOTION OF BEAUTY EXISTED
The creation of beauty was once seen as the architects central task. A beauty to be experienced and observed by any individual residing in urban man made spaces. The building facades acting as the interior walls of the public space. The influence of these on human psychology are not to be neglected. Everything in an individual’s surrounding evokes emotions and reactions that will be embodied. Beauty, the notion of it was once defined, exemplified and echoed by individuals. A generalized notion of beauty is no longer present in our societies. Especially in the world of architecture the discussion of beauty resulted in prohibition. No one ought to define our notion of beauty, only interpretations of individuals became acceptable, beauty became indisputable.
Humanity has witnessed centuries of architectural evolution, which manifested several different architectural styles. Of which each has revisited and evolved from another, making them all related, leaving us with a diversity within one entity of architectural style.
The just said remains only true until the modernist movement within architecture took place at the turn of the 20th century. After the historic architecture seemed only repeating different era’s making every revival of architectural style legitimate, the modernist were seeking to solve this chaos, by finding a new honest beauty.
Architects of the modernism have attempted to resolve the question of beauty within architecture by arguing with functionality. The irrelevance of aesthetic discussion was accelerated with the innovations of the second industrial evolution. ‘Honest’ beauty ought to result in the functional and scientific, leaving out all unnecessary details, by only aiming for goals of engineering. Statements of classical architects such as ‘To turn something useful, practical, functional, into something beautiful, that is the architecture’s duty’ by Karl Friedrich Schinkel or ‘Architecture distinguishes from mere building with the decoration of construction’ George Gilbert Scott were aimed to be disproved.
The evolution into modern design started with the transformation in building material, such as structural steel, reinforced concrete and glass. A new attitude was needed to release architects from the traditions of the past to inspire them for a new way of thinking. For which institutions such as the Bauhaus was intended for. The quote by Louis Sullivan ‘Form ever follows function’ became the modernists guideline, resulting in building’s exteriors reflecting the functions of the interior. Meaning that facades were no longer seen as the essence in expressing styles and architectural traditions.