Ugly as Persuasion: Architecture & Publicity


Can a television program like ‘Ugly House to Lovely House’ [1] trigger an idea of the architect as ‘social buffoon’ ? Channel 4 television program depicts ​ architects as problem solvers and beauty creators. What is the creative process that the authors of the TV program describe?

An architect – Mr. X – is called to intervene on a house defined UGLY (Oxford Dictionary: ‘unpleasant or repulsive in appearance’). The first question that one may ask is:

Who decided that the house is UGLY?

1- Mr. X

2- Audience

3- Owner of the House

4- Authors’ TV program


But above all, is architecture a matter of UGLY and BEAUTIFUL?

It makes one wonder whether THE UGLY really exists.

Back to the story of Mr. X, he does not visit the ugly house, someone – the TV presenter George Clarke – tells him about it. The architect begins to draw a space in his mind and only after finishing his plans, sections and 3D models he leaves the office and delivers a set of drawings to the client. The meeting is reduced to an unveiling of the solution, like a mathematical problem in which the final result is reached via a demonstration. There are no questions, no doubts, there is no dialogue, no turning back, and a strange phenomenon called PERSUASION suddenly invades the scene. The intention of THE INTREPID MR. X is to convince the client that HIS PROJECT is what is good for him, what will magically transform his ugly house into a lovely house.

Is it possible that the concept of UGLY is part of a game of persuasion that PUBLICITY uses to convince consumers to BUY?

Is that the role of ARCHITECTURE?




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