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The Absurdity of Beauty – Rebalancing the Modernist Narrative (1.5 LUs)
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The Absurdity of Beauty – Rebalancing the Modernist Narrative (1.5 LUs)

When: Wednesday, March 13, 2019
6:00 - 8:00 PM
Where: AIA San Francisco
130 Sutter Street, Suite 600
San Francisco, California  94104
United States

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Do buildings and environments create emotional meaning?
If we assume that they do, how can we do a better job of designing forms and spaces that can resonate emotionally with the public?

The Absurdity of Beauty advocates for fundamental change in the way architects design, with the intention of rebalancing Modernism toward an architecture of abundance, rather than its current focus on an architecture of abstraction. This involves rebalancing the role of emotional meaning in design intent, as well as evaluating the impact of what we create on the public at large. We are responding to the notion that architecture has disengaged with society and is losing its cultural relevance.

This publication was developed with The Architectural Review, which provided an unique platform for critical review, and attracted a number of well-respected authors: Paul Finch, John Marx, Pierluigi Serraino, Catherine Slessor, Sam Lubell, Ian Ritchie, Richard England, Jeremy Melvin, and Jay Merrick. In their essays, each added great value to our thesis by expanding the philosophical basis for our arguments and positing solutions toward creating positive change within the profession.


Learning Objectives

  1. Explore the value of emotional meaning in architecture
  2. Review the current state of “beauty” in Modernist design.
  3. Explore the impact of “Complexity and Contradiction” on emotional meaning.
  4. Consider options for the future of emotional meaning in the 2nd Century of Modernism


About the Presenter

John Marx, AIA, is the founding design principal of Form4 Architecture in San Francisco, CA. He advocates for Philosophy, Art, and Poetry in the thoughtful making of place, using the compelling power of form, always aware that architecture is a balancing act between self expression and collaboration. In addition, John is a part time student of Absurdity, Paradox, and Kindness.

He has widely lectured on the topics of Design, Placemaking, Emotional Meaning and Cultural Vibrancy in Silicon Valley and places as diverse as Korea, Italy, Austria, Australia, Canada and the Technion in Israel. John exhibited his work at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale and exhibited during 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale at GAFF.