The aesthetic dimensions of sustainability in design culture

Insights from four case studies


  • Gerardo Semprebon Politecnico di Milano



sustainability, resiliency, climate change, aesthetics, New European Bauhaus


Exploring new aesthetic dimensions in the sustainable transformation of the environment is one of the prerogatives of the New European Bauhaus (NEB) campaign. Design disciplines offer the ideal framework to investigate how performative requirements admitted in the construction industry provide inputs to the manifestation of contemporary urban aesthetics. Firstly, the paper introduces the discourse on architectural aesthetics recalling prominent positions sedimented since the XX century, providing the theoretical framework to discuss how canons and codes of beauty are shifting according to current sustainable agendas. Secondly, it showcases peculiar design attitudes connecting buildings aesthetics and ecologies, referring to four case studies. The methodology discusses the extent of design choices driven by different declinations of sustainability, which include the production of clean energy, circular economy, and carbon capture. The results portray a horizon of new aesthetics emerging from the advocated ecological transition that contributes to re-negotiating the idea of beauty as intentional senses of figuration and sensory experiences.