Look around yourself, what do you observe? Consider the shape of the room where you are sitting, the height, the shape, colour, and the type of the ceiling, the texture of the walls, the softness, and hardness of the flooring, the construction materials of the wall. Now observe the egress paths, the views to outside, and the hallway leading to another space in the building. Feel the air quality and temperature, furniture sets, and arrangements. The lux levels of light entering your space. It affects our daily routine and behaviour. It shapes us. Some people in the design profession value that “design matters”. We, architects, have been trained enough to provide these values to our designs for our clients in 5 years of Bachelor studies, x number of work experience and in some cases, 1 (or 2) years for specialization. This gives us a broad perspective of how we need to perceive spaces and keep the users in the building happy.
Are we meant to live in a 10×10 box structure or a 10×10 space that is thoughtfully designed for our better well-being? People could save upfront money by not hiring an architect but on a longer run, they don’t understand, it pays us back. Pays us back in several ways:
- Avoids wastage of vital financial resources
We have been trained on how to design smartly with lesser cost and lesser wastage of construction materials.
- Overuse and over-dependency on single construction material is a taboo
We architect’s love to play with materials. We know what materials should be used when and where. We look forward to newer materials in the industry and implement them after a better understanding of what they are and learning their pros and cons.
- Efficiency and Energy Bills
Energy bills have always been a headache all year round especially for extreme climates. We architects have been experienced with how to design spaces to minimize the energy loads and maximize efficiency.
- Importance of Integrative Design
The architects need to divide the building loads. An integrative approach to a building is the most important, efficient, and cost-saving technique. A few architects are aware of this practice and they do follow it to maximize the positive impact.
- Building Users’ Well Being
The answer to this is not absolute but relative. A few architects do care about human well being and their clients’ happiness and health. How our cognitions react to the spaces around us and how they mold us is a talent very few architects possess. Users are less likely to get sick in such spaces where design is central to effective learning environments and their parameters being- Colour, Comfort, Connectivity, Flexibility, and Light. We care about your health. Yes! We do.
- Details! Toilet Drawings! Staircases!
For most of the undergraduate internships, we end up working on toilet and staircase details for days and days. Well, now we are thankful we did because we know the value of those tiny details in real-life circumstances and how the utility spaces in buildings do matter. I know of someone who did not hire an architect and ended up making a mistake where you couldn’t enter their room until the restroom door is closed. Well, that is what we are here for. To avoid that!
Architecture doesn’t exist without people. We have a responsibility to provide more than just a 10×10 box to acknowledge the users’ social connectivity and integrity. The responsibilities of the architect are to relationships: building to its users, people to buildings, and buildings to memories. Architecture is about what it can do and not what it looks like.
We are responsible for how to engage in architecture with its people and why we assume roles that extend beyond architecture. We as architects understand the emotions of space and their interconnectivity with the users. There is a secret that lies within every architect. We hear the clients’ briefs but do not necessarily blindly follow them. Clients have come to us with their problems and we have to understand every bit of it. We question their intentions and requirements, try to figure out what they want and care for, and then make suggestions by deeply understanding the scenario and knowledge. The client wants to know what he thinks he knows but doesn’t know, and we are here to find out the answer to that puzzle.
Other than wellness, materials, and cost, climate, geography, and sustainability are always a given. That has been poured into us as a compulsory factor to take care of. I am not sure if builders do take care of such factors when it comes to designing for humans. We invest on our health by visiting doctors and medical facilities in the fear of disease or death, we invest on lawyers for legal expertise, we invest on Chartered Accountants for handling our accounts then why not on an Architect who could design a space you spend your 90% of the time in? Why do people think they know how to “build” buildings when they are unaware of most of the values that lie hidden? Is it worth it? Then why do we give our buildings in hands of those who don’t care about well being but money? When will the clients understand and recognize the design importance and are willing to devote funds to it? If people realize how much design matters, they would care, and if they do, our built environment will change.