Structure, function and beauty are considered the three core principles of architecture. The latter, however, has suffered a long and noticeable absence from contemporary architectural criticism and theory. To the purist functionalism of modernism, beginning with the pragmatic rationalism of the enlightenment, beauty has come to be buried beneath a towering critical taboo. It has become superfluous and shallow, even gluttonous - burdened by associations with imperialism and premodern pretension. In short, we have become afraid to discuss it, which I now intend to do.
The next generation of architects faces growing doctrines of nihilism, cultures of waste, mental health epidemics and a multitude of other spiritual and ethical dilemmas. The growing importance of civil and structural engineering, as well as the development of artificial intelligence and automated design interfaces, threaten the identity of our profession at large. Additionally, ugly cities sprawl relentlessly into the distance; clearly, architects cannot address these issues with rationalist functionalism alone. I propose that a return to the pursuit of beautiful buildings can soothe the maladies of our complex age and help us relocate a vital piece of our identity as designers.