LeAnne Martin
Beauty and the Beholder

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Beauty in Architecture

This week on my arts blog I'm featuring Dr. Jane Paradise Wolford, who seeks to "enlighten the public about the transformational potential of architecture." She has a Doctorate in Architecture (in History, Theory, and Criticism) from the Georgia Institute of Technology in addition to her Masters degree in Architectural History from Georgia Tech. She has some interesting things to say about beauty and design. I had to share them with you.

Jane says, "I think architecture reveals a lot about God’s role as Architect and Builder (Hebrews 11:10). In the Old Testament he gave very specific instructions to Moses (Exodus 26), David (1 Chron. 28:11-19), and Ezekiel (Ezekiel 40) about the construction of his places of worship --- from the choice of the builder down to the smallest details ---- design mattered to Him.

"God is also concerned with beautiful design in his creation of nature everywhere. Oceans, mountains, trees, plants, flowers, etc. point to God’s wondrous sense of design – and we haven’t even touched upon his marvelous creation of the human body. All his creations (disclaimer --- as he created them) are not only magnificently beautiful, but are awe-inspiring. The colors of vegetation and natural landscape features such as mountains or oceans both complement and contrast each other in color, texture, structure, and a multitude of other qualities. But dissonance and ugliness are not qualities of God’s creations in their pristine state. Only man’s fallen nature interjected these ugly realities into his earthly paradise. Peace, Joy, Harmony, Beauty, and Order were subservient to the promptings of man’s will after the fall. In our imperfect nature beauty can be stumbled upon every now and again --- but it is not the norm. This is what the study of architecture can teach us about ourselves – we crave balance, stability, order and beauty. Good architecture can speak to these needs."

What are some of your favorite buildings or styles of architecture? I'd love to know.

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