The field of architectural criticism has been flourishing over the past few years. The primary approach of architectural criticism is to make the language of architecture universal and accessible. It is an analysis of the pros and cons of a building for a better understanding of the building. There is an explanation of the building in a broader context and a wider perspective. The description may involve the topics of planning, social or aesthetic issues. At a certain point, architectural criticism can be considered a branch of architectural journalism, especially in the case of high-end projects. 

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Galaxy Soho by Zaha Hadid_© Hufton + Crow

Understanding architectural criticism

It is essential to understand the process of any artwork. Architectural criticism analyzes a project from the concept to the final product. The critical process includes exposition, analysis, comparison, justification, evaluation, and guidance. The method of architectural criticism includes:

Presentation: This step is about seeing the building in person and documenting it through photographs. The pictures of the interior and exterior of the building, its salient features, and the details are an excellent way to analyze the structure. A picture is a primary tool to express the story behind any building.

Explanation: This step involves understanding the shape or form of the building, its proportions, and analyzing its architectural language. This helps to understand the philosophical or deeper meaning behind the making of the building.

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Architectural critic, Ada Louise Huxtable (1921–2013) _© Dezeen

Evaluation: This involves assessing the work and its values on the thinking and interpretation of the building. It is about understanding all the aspects and creating a measurement tool to understand the efficiency of the building. Comparing the building with the other structures of the same typology can be considered an excellent method to evaluate the facility’s state.  

Judgment: This stage decides the quality of work and how it fits society. It involves understanding the mistakes made in the building. The main evaluation factors are drawn from the guiding norms for humanity and its value, standards derived from the nature of architectural work, and ultimately standards derived from the critic’s theories of design. it includes an unbiased review of the building

Guidance and recommendations: This step covers the guiding process, which entails voicing criticism, proposals, and discoveries, as well as a practical guide to follow global thinking sights and local community needs. One of the most potent instruments for the specialist critic in recommending solutions and assistance is studying historical theories and modern architectural schools.

Architectural criticism and creativity

Architectural criticism tends to open up the opportunity to look at a building differently. The critique process follows the architectural creation process, so there is a very close link between criticism and creativity. Before and during the design phase, the innovative architectural designer must be the first critic for his work, going through a complete revision and altering, adding, or eliminating things to improve his position. The review starts with a base knowledge of the architectural works that have been made in the past. It is an excellent way to reflect upon the value of the product. When the architectural practice is in front to solve the real problems and criticism is in front for the functional efficiency in solving the real issues, effective criticism must discover the efficiency of the practical in attaining its aim in addressing the real problems.

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Critique day in an architecture studio_©Christine Klocke

Architectural criticism role in realizing the architectural works

Practical architectural criticism must improve the aesthetic taste by allowing people to perceive and discover what they couldn’t initially and then determine what the architectural work entails from meanings, symbols, and various expressions. An efficient critique process must direct realization, thinking, and feeling to comprehend the architectural profession. In addition to having the ability to describe, analyze, and extract aesthetic values and make them understandable, the architectural critic must be conscious enough to teach an entire generation how to taste the architectural creation.

The architectural critic’s job is to strengthen the bond between the creative architect and the receiving audience by introducing information about the architectural work to the audience through his explanations of the architectural design process and its sources, dimensions, and social context. The critic must also discover the work’s hidden sides and explain them to the receiver and analyze and evaluate it clearly by explaining symbols, shapes, and techniques regularly to find the work’s value and ideas and their connection to the structure and environment.

The architectural critic’s mission is to deepen the relationship between the creative architect and the receiving audience by explaining the architectural design process and its sources, dimensions, and social context to the audience. To discover the work’s value and ideas and their connection to the structure and environment, the critic must also uncover the work’s hidden sides and explain them to the receiver, as well as analyze and evaluate it clearly by explaining symbols and shapes, and techniques regularly.

References:

  1. Sorkin, Michael. Creative Mass: Why architectural criticism matters. Available at:   https://www.architectural-review.com/essays/critical-mass-why-architectural-criticism-mattersJean-
  2. Lance, Hosey. 7 principles of Architectural Criticism. Available at: ttps://www.arch2o.com/principles-architectural-criticism/
Author

Goral is inquisitive in nature because she thinks that the only way to reach to know the secret of the world, is by asking questions. Since she is a keen observer, noting down her observations has led her into the world of creative writing.

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