Just after posting my last piece, I heard Victoria-based Trevor Hancock talk about beauty in the urban environment. Trevor is a passionate advocate for healthy, sustainable communities. His definition of beauty included more of the emotional response than my definition in Part 1 suggested. He used phrases such as "beauty stirs the soul", "makes life worth living", and "provides intense satisfaction of the mind".
That is strong stuff! It raises the bar to a high level for designing spaces and buildings in the urban environment. I'm not sure there is much in a city that can hope to achieve the sublime kind of beauty implied by those words. But perhaps it's worth a try! And perhaps, cumulatively, hundreds of individual choices about our living environment can add to beautiful design.
In my previous post, Part 1, I offered thoughts about how curves can add another aesthetic to building design. Here, in Part 2 of "The Grace of the Curve", I look at ideas for adding curves "after the fact". If a building's already there, what can be done to change the visual appeal?
|A curved pathway with an inlaid circular motif within it; a fountain, and rounded columns all soften the vertical and horizontal lines of this building and fence|
|Another curved path of flagstones. In this case, the rounded shapes of the landscaping plants also soften the overall appearance.|
|This curved pathway and landscaping transforms what would otherwise be a "boxy" apartment building|
|A few simple curved lines provided by the inlaid rock, and the tree, add to the appeal of this landscaping.|
|The builders of this stone wall chose to go round the corner in a curve, rather than at right angles.|
Designers of public spaces also can employ curves to soften straight lines.
|The curve of the bridge, echoed in the railings, makes an attractive counterpoint to the straight lines of the walking path.|
|This small sitting area between two buildings is mostly straight lines, but the curved sculpture softens those lines.|
|Another plaza-like space, again with mostly straight lines, but softened by the curvature of the building's exterior wall and roofline. The brick-lay design is asymmetric, which also adds to the grace of the appearance.|
|The curved arches of the trellis add appeal to this straight pathway near the Empress Hotel.|
My final example of pathways is one of my favorite in Beacon Hill Park.
|I like the mystery of this curved path, which invites me to keep walking, to see what's around the next bend.|
Not everyone can design and build a pathway. Here are a few smaller scale things I've noticed that provide curves to balance the linear edges of our urban environment.
|An inlay which transforms the gate|
|The eye focusses on the striking oval, rather than the vertical lines of the post..|
|Sometimes the interest is not at eye level; this was embedded in the ground.|
|Another example of an attractive house number design which uses the oval, instead of a rectangle or square, to complete the design.|
|I don't know the history of this sculpture on a private yard on Dallas Road. It provides interest along the journey, and is such a great example of a graceful curve.|
|I did a double-take the first time I walked past this fence|
|A funky railing adornment at the front of a vet's clinic. As well as the enjoyable light touch, the curved lines of the animals soften the hard line of the railing.|
|Discovered at the back of the vet clinic|
This post has focussed on examples of curves at a smaller scale, especially in our yards and outside spaces. In looking through my photos for this post, I found many more examples of curves in public spaces - things like road design, and public art. Perhaps I'm not done with the topic yet!