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Aesthetic or artistic value

Definition: The visual and experiential qualities of a site or structure. There are two types of aesthetic value as below.

The site or structure as a work of art, with a design implemented with the purpose of manipulating the senses or evoking an emotional or intellectual reaction in the observer. It can relate, for example, to the proportions or detailing of a façade or statue, or the layout and planting of a landscape.

The fortuitous visual appeal of unplanned views or seemingly unconnected features. For example, the organic growth of a medieval village to modern day, or an unintentional but revealing or beautiful view of a historic asset.

Factors that might affect the level of the value include:

  • the quality and intactness of planned spatial or visual relationships between features
  • the quality of the materials, their finish and craftsmanship
  • as an example of a known artist or designer
  • as an example or expression of a particular style or artistic movement
  • the strength of reaction to an asset – is it inspiring, humbling, playful, elegant, charming?
  • the effect on all the senses – the creation of an experience not only visually, but sounds, smells and touch

For example, the lychgate is a handsome structure that complements the grade I listed church and contributes to the aesthetic, scenic qualities of the building and its churchyard. The chosen approach to the design adopts an Arts and Crafts style, which is sympathetic to and complements the church and reflects the historic form and detailing of lychgates generally. Although a modest structure, it is well proportioned and finely detailed, clearly fulfilling an aesthetic as well as a functional role.

 The lychgate, the entranceway to a church yard with a church turret in the background


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