Architecture has acted as a reflection of society throughout history. Today we’re learning about the influence of architecture on people in fundamentally new ways by combining historical research on architecture with empirical investigations on psychology and the environment. Architecture plays a role in shaping the psychology of people.

At its most foundational sense, architecture exists to create the physical environment in which people live, but architecture is much more than that; it is also a reflection of our culture. It is a portrayal of both how we perceive ourselves and the way we perceive our surroundings. The design evolved as the technology advanced and the globe got more connected. Now, we are living in a world where information is our primary form of energy and its flow is our main concern. Design has become an integrated part of our lives and as such architecture has to reflect the current values, mood, and attitude of the people. The design should be an expression of their existence and aspirations for their generations to come.

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We can see the difference between the designs of the 20th century and early 21st century. The modern design was built to satisfy the need to be functional, efficient, and practical.

Today’s young architect graduates from high school with technological expertise unrivaled by any previous generation. From 3D printing to the most recent advancements in building science and sustainability. These recent architectural graduates represent a wealth of information and opportunity. This fresh dynamism among millennials supplements the tremendous quantity of information and experience gathered by baby boomers. I’ve seen an interesting combination bridging the gap between boomers and millennials who respect the past and work hard to pay their dues to build a foundation and have a keen interest in breaking established orthodoxy. The contrast between these people is both enviable and interesting.

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Millennials have grown up in an era of rapid technological advancement, globalization, and economic turmoil. As a result, they exhibit distinct behaviours and have different experiences. They are less likely than previous generations to hold traditional values and more likely to engage in unconventional. Social networking and virtual reality are expanding the horizon of designs of a new generation. Millennial architects are influenced by what they see on their desktops, phones, and tablets, rather than by more conventional techniques of design.

“Millennials are unlike any other youth generation in living memory. They are more numerous, more affluent, better educated, and more ethnically diverse. More importantly, they are beginning to manifest a wide array of positive social habits that older people no longer associate with youth, including a new focus on teamwork, achievement, modesty, and good conduct.” — Neil Howe and William Strauss

In this context, the rising ubiquity and promise of digital technologies represent the enormous potential to transform our understanding. The advent of digital technologies offers architects with new tools and creative possibilities to express their ideas.

Technology has significance in the practice of architecture and its social influence. Our capacity to connect instantly with anyone anywhere in the globe, as well as our access to global data and research evidence, has radically impacted the profession. Computer-aided drawing, BIM modeling, and virtual reality, to mention a few, have made it much simpler to bridge the gap between vision and reality, develop distinctive and complex designs, and present information in previously undiscovered ways.

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This shift in design techniques has resulted in major changes in the building’s design. The designers’ use of technology and ability to use new materials and construction processes has allowed them to provide a spectrum of experiences to the user. The parameter of self-expression and individuality has been included in the design conceptualization. With the advancement of technology, the designer can accurately measure the impact of design on the human senses.

Architecture has a tremendous influence on its users, not only on a societal level but also on a more personal level. It’s difficult to measure the influence of a well-designed building and the emotional attachment people have to it. It’s not just functional, but it also speaks to you on a deeper, subconscious level. Even though it’s not consciously noticeable, you understand how certain architecture affects your emotions.

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Globalization, rapid urbanization, and rapidly changing technology are profoundly altering how we design and execute, and humans and cities are dealing with these dynamics daily. Understanding and designing for the human factors associated with these dynamics are becoming particularly important. Yet, this requires a paradigm shift in our understanding of humanity and cities.

Architects may continue to improve their profession and adapt to the changing requirements of our society in a variety of ways. All we have to do now is accept the challenge and believe in our potential to thrive. We may do so by continuing to evolve, by being flexible and innovative, or by being creative and embracing change. 

The possibilities are endless!

References: 

Books

  1. Plummer, H., n.d. The experience of architecture.
  2. Benninger, C., 2011. Letters to a young architect. Pune, India: CCBA Pvt. Ltd.

Online sources

  1. Medium. 2021. Gen Y: Millennials in Architecture. [online] Available at: <https://medium.com/studiotmd/gen-y-millennials-in-architecture-476e9839321b> [Accessed 7 November 2021].
  2. Journal. 2021. Millennials vs. Baby Boomers: Bridging the Generation Gap in Architecture – Architizer Journal. [online] Available at: <https://architizer.com/blog/practice/details/bridging-generational-gaps-within-the-practice-of-architecture/> [Accessed 7 November 2021].
  3. SPACE10. 2021. The Digital in Architecture: Then, Now and in the Future | SPACE10. [online] Available at: <https://space10.com/project/digital-in-architecture/> [Accessed 8 November 2021].
Author

Kishan Thakkar is an architect based in Ahmedabad exploring creative outlets and entrepreneurship. He is an avid learner who has a penchant for research, analysis and understanding different fields within the architecture and aspires to promote sustainable development. Discipline is the key to balance his diversified interest and work routine.

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