Fundamentals: Beauty: A series of public debates chaired by Oliver Wainwright for Spatial Practices, Central Saint Martins.

Beauty is back. The government’s “Building Better, Building Beautiful” commission has been established to put beauty at the top of the agenda: it hopes to reduce opposition to development by making new housing more amenable to public taste. But whose idea of beauty are they talking about? Is there a general public consensus on what is beautiful? Are architects disengaged from popular taste? And can the planning system possibly hope to regulate beauty? The third and final Fundamentals debate series will tackle these questions head on, and will present its findings to the government commission. Come and join the big beauty debate!

The government says it wants to make new developments more beautiful – but beautiful to whom? One person’s masterpiece is another person’s carbuncle. Are aesthetic judgements totally subjective, or is there a broad public consensus on what constitutes beauty in the built environment? If so, how can we determine what the public actually wants? Is it the house builders’ role to channel a popular idea of beauty, or to set the agenda themselves?

  • Liza Fior – Muf Architecture/Art
  • Deborah Garvie – Policy Manager, Shelter
  • Neil Pinder – Design & Technology teacher, Graveney School
  • Sir Roger Scruton – Chair, Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission
  • Andrew Whitaker – Planning Director, Home Builders Federation