Two examples of stunningly beautiful architecture that I first came across when reading Christopher Alexander’s Nature of Order series of books.
The first photo is from inside Chartres - a cathedral in France, on the outskirts of Paris, and the second photo shows a Buddhist temple, Tōfuku-ji, near Kyoto in Japan. Christopher goes in depth into explaining the kind of properties that make such designs so beautiful. I especially loved his description near the end of book 1 regarding something he experienced at the temple in Tōfuku-ji:
After an hour or two of walking around buildings, visiting a small sand garden, a wooden bridge over a gorge, and the main temple building — I found myself on a tiny path that seemed to lead away from the temple, up into the hillside. I followed this path up steps cut in the hillside, partly stone, set into the grass. The path went on and on, a shallow staircase, up into the hull, between two hedges. It was getting narrower and narrower all the time. Towards the top, it got trapped between two low rambling hedges. Suddenly it ended. To my surprise, I could not go further. The path just stopped. The hedges closed. There was a small place on the top of the stair. I turned around and sat down. There was nowhere to sit, except on this top step, and that is where I sat, looking down on the temple precinct, watching it tired, happy to sit there, quiet, only the wind now instead of the sounds of temple business. As I sat there, a blue dragonfly came and landed on the step beside me. It stayed. And as it stayed I was filled with the most extraordinary sensation. I was suddenly certain that the people who built that place had done all this deliberately. I felt certain … that they had made that place, knowing that the blue dragonfly would come and sit by me. … There was no doubt in my mind … that there was a level of skill in the people who had made this place that I had never experienced before. I remember shivering as I became aware of my own ignorance. I felt the existence of a level of skill and knowledge beyond any thing I had ever come across before.