A Note from the Editor:
Television on, one night last week I fell asleep early, only to wake up in the impossible humidity of two a.m. Very quietly, the TV was telling me about the secrets of the Parthenon on a repeat of a NOVA segment. It was so fascinating that I was soon wide awake, learning about the Common Foot and the way the human body informed ideal proportions in buildings. The narrator talked about Objective Beauty, measurable, life-enhancing beauty (or perhaps the word is order). It was all so matter-of-fact—the poetry of truth. And I thought again, as I have my whole life: Why is it that only architecture students and PBS geeks see this stuff? Why don’t schools teach design and architectural appreciation, or at least their rudiments?
I recall not a single reference to architecture before college. My parents did not talk about it, and it wasn’t part of town politics, save for the occasional special permit (which never got close to assessing beauty). I find this appalling when I consider the effect buildings (inside and out) have on daily life, and when I see what monstrosities are built that then must be endured by so many. My best friend tells me that my aesthetic sensibilities are just over-reactive . . . like having an allergy. But I did not go to design school, I did not even take the Grand Tour. Yet even in my relative ignorance, I find dealing with much of the built world to be like an opera singer being forced to listen to Bubba singing jingles out of tune . . . and worse, being told it shouldn’t bother me!
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