Jessica Smillie

MArch ’23

For as long as I can remember, I have been grappling with beauty, so fraught with human complexity and misunderstanding. We say that beauty has a cost: it’s political, it’s subjective, it must conform, it’s a curse. It’s all true. And we’re all trying so desperately to find it in whatever way we can. Searching, creating, designing, delineating. We say it’s this, not that. Here, not there. Things get cast aside; othered, ignored.

It is my unrelenting goal as an architect to confront the human instinct to overlook the world around us. I crave spaces not just beautiful in their own right, but places that fall back and give credence to the gorgeousness of our everyday lives. Not just the things that shimmer and dance but the darkness and filth and the inconsequential.

I want you to see what I see. That it’s all of it. It’s everything. It’s all just so f**king beautiful.

Jessica is a South African architect and designer on the precipice of earning her master’s degree in architecture from MassArt. After graduating from the University of Cape Town in 2016 with a Bachelor of Architecture (Honors), she spent 5 years under the wings of prolific Cape Town architects, learning and crafting in her pursuit of both creating and understanding beauty.