Any design can be based on various approaches:

1. Contextual approach 

Some of the cities are famous for the character of their streets while some structures define the cities and are the landmarks; the main element of these is the context. A series of high rise buildings give a sense of an area that is designated for those only and it becomes comfortable to the eyes similarly on the other hand if there is a low rise or only one level structure between the high rise it obstructs the eyes, which is said to be contracted to the context. Sometimes merging with surroundings is necessary and sometimes going into contrast is also necessary according to the requirement and conditions.

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 Picturesque Street View In Greenwich Village, New York © JJF arquitectos, Madrid 
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Contrast To The Surroundings © Michael Young

While designing any project there needs to be a study of the surrounding so that it lets the designer take a decision on going with the surrounding context approach or take a contrasting approach. Generally, traditional cities have many common elements which make them one unit as each structure merges with another giving it a feel of being different yet being a unit.  

2. Approach through Form of building 

Any structure is appreciated or admired firstly based on its looks or by its outer form. The picture that comes in the mind is generally on the form, like how is it going to look from different angles. As it is said by Louis Sullivan that “form follows function” which became an ideology for others to take up the designing process. Some people think that it is a to and fro activity where the form, as well as function, needs to be designed keeping both in a relationship and not just sticking on the form and adjusting the functions in it.

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Guggenheim Museum ©

While taking the form of the building as a major approach the function of the project should not be neglected because if the structure and its spaces are not workable then the project seems to fail as form only gives pleasure to the eyes but the main function needs to be fulfilled in any design approach. 

3. Style of architecture 

Every structure has a defined style which could be modern, neoclassical, gothic, international, art deco, vernacular, Victorian, post-modern, roman, Greek revival, contemporary, renaissance, Islamic, deconstructivism, minimal, etc. Every place has its history with their style of structures and spaces. Some cities take their history to their present and tend to take it to the future but some get influenced by other styles and further develop it to be different in future. The style also goes with the context of the surrounding like in a concrete jungle. If there is a structure made in a vernacular style it catches eyes on it and makes itself stand out but sometimes the purpose of the style also need to have a meaning to itself and its surroundings with functionality. 

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Combination Of Two Styles ©

Taking the style as a design approach for the project also needs to fulfill its function and its purpose of existence. Sometimes with this style, we can get the cultural elements back from the ancient era that we lost due to urbanism. Style like modern or contemporary can be merged with the ancient styles like Greek and roman to give an effect of both present and past. 

4. Climatic approach 

As in today’s world, it’s all about being sustainable, especially in the architectural industry so the designing approach of architects is majorly now a sustainable approach where their structures are climate responsive and contributes to a greener society. After the research of the surrounding area and the area, the next designing strategy is to make it an eco-friend with every aspect like from material to placement of structures, considering wind movements, sun path of the site, and the type of construction.  

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Wind Movement ©

While designing according to the requirements and function the climatic approach needs to go hand in hand as it would help in designing and placing the space in an energy-efficient manner or even using some traditional approach of sustainability towards the form or even in function would create spaces with not only functionality but also with sustainability.  


Shivalika is a final year student of architecture from Mumbai. She is kind of a “Go with the flow” person and gives 100% to that flow. She likes observing the surroundings, capturing scenic beauty with her eyes and think, there is no choice between beaches and mountains, they both are necessary.