What is Beautiful Architecture? - Webber + Studio

In between heads-down design work and Monday morning all-hands meetings, we often find ourselves waxing philosophical about how to effect change in the world through architecture. Recently, we held our inaugural team vision symposium at a local cafe, where we spent a chilly evening strategizing ways to execute our firm’s vision to redefine architectural beauty over hot chocolate and sweet treats.

In some ways, our conversation confirmed what we already believe to be true: beautiful design is that which transcends (and sometimes defies) aesthetics to empower and engage communities, blur the lines between form and function, and ultimately makes lives better. If we want to design world-changing architecture, we must be laser-focused on these intentions and actively seek out opportunities to improve the lives of the individuals who will participate in our process and our products.

In addition to these broad goals, our symposium helped us to identify specific challenges we can begin to tackle right away, like how to address housing deficiencies through high-level architecture, how to foster community in a society that values rugged individualism, and how to cultivate diverse mentorship and leadership within our profession.

As curators of the built environment, architects have the potential to positively impact the world, but, as the saying goes, the path to hell is paved with good intentions. Our firm strongly believes that we ought not be a cobblestone on that path. Too often, the opportunity to be better in the world is sacrificed to the singular pursuit of accolades, appearance, or style. To be sure, we aim to make beautiful architecture; we just define beauty a bit differently.