Despite its often striking presence in the media, architecture remains in crisis, its social relevance often lost between the two poles of formal innovation and technical sustainability; it contributes little to alleviate the pathological environments that are detrimental to our psychosomatic health. Examining topics from Alberto Pérez-Gómez’s latest books and essays, this session will explore the possibilities of a more compassionate, attuned and musical lived environment, grasping the potential of architecture beyond solipsistic formal manipulations to acknowledge real (diverse) cultural values and qualities of place in our global village. Such possibilities are complex for they entail a critique of contemporary practices and popular assumptions, and a self-transformation on the part of the maker, a realization of the ethical imagination of the creator, capable of humility, love and dialogue, of making promises towards the social contract. A careful consideration of how beauty and justice, ethics and poetics, have converged historically in practice and education is particularly illuminating to this end. Such practices also challenge disciplinary assumptions, particularly the exclusivity of geometric or spatial concerns in architecture and urban design, to gain from an analogy with the performing arts, where participation becomes possible through play, festival and symbolic recognition.