Our western tradition in building has as it’s cornerstone the maxim that a design should embody Firmitas , Commoditas & Venustas – which roughly translates as sturdiness, function, and beauty. This is closely linked to another ancient western idea, that to be human, is a search for Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. Ephraim Chambers in his circa 1680 Cyclopedia touched on this traditional approach in a discussion of Greek architecture.
“A Greek building has not a single ornament but what adds beauty to the whole. The parts necessary to sustain or shelter it, as the columns, cornices, etc derive all their beauty from their proportions. Everything is simple, measured, and restrained to the use it’s intended for. No daring out of the way strokes; nothing quaint to impose on the eye. The proportions are so just that nothing appears very grand of itself tho the whole be grand.”
Beauty and our search for it are the most human of endeavors. Here is a short video clip from an unusual source that highlights one human facet of beauty. Enjoy.
George R. Walker