“What Makes a Building Beautiful?” with guest Sarah Williams Goldhagen

Sarah Williams Goldhagen

Originally Recorded June 12, 2017

This episode of Why? Radio was plagued with technical and other difficulties. The result is a podcast with poor sound quality. We apologize for any difficulty you may have listening to it.

We are surrounded by buildings and live in rooms. We build spaces that we want to be pleasing as well as functional. In the process, we engage, not only our senses, but our brain. Architecture has massive neurological consequences, effects that are not as well known but should be. How do we balance these aesthetic, functional, and neurological needs? Architecture is art, but it also influences and even directs our behavior. Does it limit our free will? How much can design control its inhabitants and inspire a specific outcome?

These are the questions at the core of this wide ranging discussion before a live studio audience at the Cornell University, School of Architecture, Art and Planning, in downtown Manhattan. Listen until the end, when we are joined Mark Ginsberg, an award winning architect and partner at Curtis and Ginsberg Architects LLP, and Richard Roberts, Director of Business Development at Red Stone Equity Partners and a former Commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development.

Host Jack Russell Weinstein says, “Doing Why? Radio in front of a live audience is always spectacularly fun. But doing it with someone like Sarah who makes me rethink everything I thought I knew about architecture and design–well, that’s a dream come true. The sound quality of this episode is poor and I’m really disappointed by that. But if you are willing to listen a little harder than you usually do, you will be rewarded with a unique, challenging, and inspirational discussion.”

Sarah Williams Goldhagen taught at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design for ten years and was the New Republic’s architecture critic until recently. Currently a contributing editor at Art in America and Architectural Record, she is an award-winning writer who has written about buildings, cities, and landscapes for many national and international publications, including the New York Times, the American Prospect, and Harvard Design Magazine. She lives in New York City.

This event was co-sponsored by the Citizens Housing & Planning Council and Cornell University’s School of Architecture, Art and Planning (learn about the NYC division here). Why? Radio thanks them both for the invitation!

The text of this episode’s monologue can be found on Why? Radio’s blog: PQED.org

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