The most dominant similarity between art and architecture is – “Art shouldn’t be explained; it must be experienced.”

A place has no feelings aside from humane experience there. Architecture is that personal, enjoyable, necessary experience. A person perceives and appreciates space and form from three distinctly different but interrelated attitudes: from the physical, from the emotional, and the intellectual. The architecture experience evokes a response that fulfills physical, emotional, and intellectual needs, effecting a pleasant interaction between the person and therefore the building. But, does a Passerby with no architectural perception experience the same?

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©Steve Dininno (

Architectural perception of each space from a macro to micro scale makes us as professionals actually ‘See’ to what is beyond a confined space, it answers to the question ‘Why?’ and provides a reason for each aspect of the frame so as to serve its purpose. 

Few of the instances highlighting these perceptions include the following:


The Cambridge dictionary defines a skyscraper as ‘a very tall modern building, usually in a city’ Generalizing with a common feature of having a steel framework that supports curtain walls. This definition is the exact perception of the passer-by for a skyscraper. Nonetheless, it’s much beyond distinguishing just by adding an architectural filter.

We perceive to see its form and how it stands out or blends with the environment around it. How the services of the high rise are blended without affecting the external façade and obstructing the internal circulation and ambience of the spaces confined with ease. 

One of the most important features which is alleged is the firefighting system. Its incorporation into these high-rise structures and the provision for safety has always been an overlooked aspect by a layman. Apart from all the basic and the necessary features from the sprinklers, smoke detectors, Fire staircase, and Fire lift, there is the necessary provision of the refuge floor. 

It can be observed in the high-rise residential towers and commercial towers as a vacant floor area where people can take shelter in case of fire. This area is provided at particular heights of the structure depending on the norms of the city it is located in. In Mumbai, India, as per the norms, there is a necessity of providing a refuge floor at every 24m or 7th floor of a high-rise building with any building beyond 9 or more floors being termed as a high-rise structure.

The new age Skyscrapers have the provision of the refuge area as ‘defend-in-space’ strategy in which occupants can be easily isolated and protected from the nearby danger, or they are also allowed to prevent and catch their breath during a protected environment on the way down just in case of a full building evacuation. These refuge areas are separated from the most structure of the building by a two-hour fire-resistant construction. It is also air-conditioned and pressurized, to mitigate the migration of smoke. 

One such example of this provision is in the tallest skyscraper to date; Burj Khalifa located in Dubai, UAE. It is these spaces that catch an individual’s eye in an architectural insight and create consciousness.

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Visible Refuge Floor Bands in The Masterpiece, Hongkong ©Ralf Roletschek/

Health Care Centres/ Hospitals

Hospitals are one of those chaotic and dull spaces which are in-turn required to be tranquil. There are several features which are incorporated by experts specializing specifically in health care designs, who study each aspect of the function of the space and its impact on the user. They provide the best possible solution to each of these aspects. A person feels safe in a hospital; they feel guided and welcomed, less confined with much comfort.

When observed closely these features get reflected in various forms. Be it the highly visible entrance with spacious lobbies and the soothing artwork including photographs and paintings of mainly nature, makes space contribute to these experiences. Several kiosks and check-in counters provided, help the people dealing with social anxiety. 

Large glass doors and floor-to-ceiling windows make the space much brighter and allow the visitors a glimpse of the inside before they enter, which lessens their anxiety. Light coloured walls with a natural colour scheme give the appearance of cleanliness and also reflect light. These features help the user to remain calm and tranquil and in turn speed up the healing process and the user’s wellbeing.

The main change in perception is the realization that these reflected features make the health care facilities look less like sterile medical centres and more like a cozy home away from home.

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Bryan Hospital Atrium ©2021 Weigand Construction
Hospital Of Mollet_ ©Pepo Segura

Public Spaces

Public space is a place that is generally open and accessible to people from all walks of life. For instance, a Public park is a public space where people from varied age groups engage in various activities within the society. The users perceive this space as a serene environment within an urban cluster with lush green and fresh air breaths for relish. 

Each person’s perception of a park includes the vast plain tapering lawns, paved pathways, semi-covered seating, artificial streams, covered picnic areas, fountains, etc. These features are precisely identified and painted in one’s mind while holistically defining the parks around the globe.

A higher angle is looked upon and reasons for each of such features defining the park spaces is answered by an architectural perception. The provision of a fountain is one of the most common observations in a public park, as the provision of a water body serves to cool the surrounding environment. 

Airflow influences the cooling potential of the fountains by evaporating and dispersing the cool air, which in turn reduces the temperature of the surrounding by a few degrees especially in locations with extreme heat seasons. The stream serves a similar purpose with an add-on feature of providing the tranquil sound of moving water and the ambience created by the purposefully placed rocks, which makes the mind calmer and also reduces stress. 

Sheltered spaces in parks offer both friendly and intimate spaces to sit and interact as well as safety during inclement weather conditions.

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Diana Memorial fountain ©1997–2021 Viator, Inc.
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Community Spaces

In a day and age where constant productivity is predicted, leisure in its conventional form is greatly valued but few have the time for it so why shouldn’t the town, in particular community spaces, evoke a replacement quite leisurely through the spatial experience that we get through a multi-sensory journey. 

A physical gathering space may be a necessity to encourage community: places where people can stay dry from the rain, where they will make food and eat together, where they can have a coffee and sit down on a comfortable chair and share the newest thing that made them feel angry or inspired or content. 

These walls and windows and bricks and cement and electrical circuits and ventilation systems and internet wiring and paint and blinds and furniture, all of those unimportant, inanimate things come together to make a shelter that becomes a living part of that community, under the activities that happen inside the walls. The community spaces serve these and several other sectors by providing this space.

People usually perceive these spaces as leisure spaces for a specific group and an easy way for engagements. On the contrary, community spaces are planned as a place and not as a design, it brings several cohesive features to serve society and meet its purpose. One such instance used is ‘Triangulate’. Holly Whyte said, “Triangulation is that the method by which some external stimulus provides a linkage between people and prompts strangers to talk to other strangers as if they knew each other”. 

In a public space, the selection and arrangement of various elements about one another can put the triangulation process in motion. For example, if a bench, a wastebasket and a telephone are placed with no connection to every other, each may receive a really limited use, but once they are arranged together alongside other amenities like a coffee cart, they’re going to naturally bring people together (or triangulate!). 

On a broader level, if a children’s room is found so that it’s next to a children’s playground and a food kiosk is added, more activity will occur than if these facilities were located separately.

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Kenmore Hangar ©Andrew Pogue (
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Kenmore Hangar Entrance_©

The term ‘architecture appreciation’ is employed to market the thought that architecture is often enjoyed, very much like the performing or visual arts, physically through the senses. Just as music appreciation and art appreciation, Architectural appreciation is something which is learned. In music, it is learning how to hear. In art, how to see. In the case of architecture, it’s learning the way to perceive. 

Enjoying buildings requires some knowledge and a few practices in perceiving space and form. You need to understand something about buildings, you would like to hone your awareness and you would like to understand something about yourself too. Space perception is happening everywhere, anytime. Wherever people are, there are buildings. Where buildings are, there is spatial experience.

Winston Churchill said, “We shape our buildings and afterwards our buildings shape us.” The perception makes us more conscious and aware of the space around us and its need in society. On a macro scale, it is this perception that makes us realize that a ‘public park’ is not just a space for leisure and activities or places which take up built-up areas but are instead, these green pockets in our urban society which lets our concrete jungle breathe a little. 

On a micro-scale, the element of ‘Façade’ in any structure when perceived impacts different characters of laid hidden interiors. The shells of the buildings function as filters between within and without, serving to bind or separate the private and consequently the public and draws a line between exposed spaces and secluded retreats.

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Central Park, NYC ©getamericas
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So as Dory once said, “Just keep swimming” – In this ocean of changing spaces with changing perspectives, sitting on the edge of our seats, questioning; ‘What’s Next?’



A final year Architecture student from Mumbai who believes architecture is not just about function, but intention, not just purpose but inspiration and emotional connection. Keen on listening to each take of each person for each space. Learning, writing, inspiring one scrawl at a time.