Aren’t we all modern-day, Flaneurs?  I love architecture school because it teaches us to observe the smallest things around us. I don’t remember the first time I started observing architecture. Is it after they asked us to go for case studies? Maybe it is. Now if you ask me, every day is case-study day. Walking around the cities and streets has changed; every usual street has become intriguing, and the details are fascinating—the rhythm, pattern, symmetricity, the rest and many more.

Observing the Details

The crooked tiles on the floors became increasingly irksome. The red and purple, and pink colours in the same building? The worst colour combination ever. What material did they use? Isn’t it too smooth for that wall? Using the worst combination of materials in the same building became visually unpleasing. What is up with the proportion of that building? The two geometrical shapes on the same building did not complement each other. And the complaining while walking down the streets starts. It is so easy for the architects to feel annoyed for no reason at all. 

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Before and after joining the architecture field_©Leewardists

It isn’t always displeasing to observe, though. Sometimes architectures are extremely impressive that you cannot stop looking at them. It is simply gratifying and calming. The colour choice for that building simply matches each other, “I should adapt it in my next project”, you think. The flooring material of that dining hall was rustic, and it suited the hall perfectly, “I should add it to my material library.” From observing the small balconet with beautiful flowering plants enhancing the whole building to visually trying to measure the sizes of the elements, architecture unquestionably trains your eyes. And if you ask me, I pull out my phone or camera immediately and start taking pictures randomly from each angle. Sometimes when I am taking pictures alone on the streets, the local passerby, who has no idea why I am taking pictures, starts looking up at the building, trying to inspect the building from my perspective, and when he finds nothing interesting, looks at me in a complete weirdness and goes away. I am sure I am not the only one in this situation.

The Main Characters of your Photographs are now Architecture 

Taking pictures of architecture becomes your hobby, and the buildings and parks start looking like 3D renders. The people in the parks appear like a human-figures that you extract from your 3D warehouse. Children, elderly, teens, and adults of different shapes and sizes and skin tones, are not normal human beings to you; they are human figures to your imaginary renders. Contour hills with small houses start looking like physical models. You begin contemplating the scale of the city through your eyes when travelling in a plane. Even when taking pictures of yourself or your friends and family, the architecture is your main focus and not the person you’re taking pictures of. I surely had started missing the times when people were my main focus while clicking the picture. I couldn’t agree more with the webcomics published by Leewardists

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Picture taken by normal people vs the architects_©Leewardists

Streets, buildings, and parks start looking even more fascinating if you live around historical sites. The smallest of the details of the temples and palaces seem enthralling. The same temple and buildings I’d seen for decades are now astonishingly unique and breathtaking. I would spend the whole day looking at the details of the doors and windows alone. Each window and door embody unique traits, not to mention the other features and their details. Temples that look identical are unalike if you look at them closely. You start noticing the difference in proportion, height, details, and styles, which were completely invisible to you. The open spaces that were simply a place to hang out started giving you design theory lectures. It starts teaching you about robustness, permeability, legibility, etc. The 4,180 sq.m. plaza isn’t just an open space now; it is an opportunity for you to visualise and learn what a huge vacant space is capable of. You start fusing the history lectures and buildings, and it starts becoming yet more captivating. 

The Drift in Your Topic of Conversation

The topic of conversation between you and your friend is architecture now. You both jointly start observing the same things, Your friend will fill in the details you missed, and vice-versa, you start discussing architecture even when you are on vacation. Sometimes when your opinions don’t match, arguing on the roadside or at the restaurant you’re eating in is enjoyable. Now that architecture has already been imprinted in your mind, have you realised what you do while going out with your non-architecture friends? I cannot stop giving lectures about the architecture and history behind that building. I don’t even notice if they’re paying attention, I simply love giving speeches about the ramp’s angle, the width of the roads, the height of the building, and its effect on the entire neighbourhood. Guilty of saying this, but sometimes when I am out with my friends, I don’t even give my thoughtful attention to what they’re talking about and simply drift my focus upon the area’s architecture. 

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What mind of an architect occupies vs the normal people__©Leewardists

Conclusion

Architecture simply trains your mind to focus on the little things; you start observing the world differently. From being the centre of attention of the photographs you take to being the topic of each conversation, architecture occupies your whole mind, and there’s no way out. In my opinion, being trained to enjoy and be fascinated with things you see daily is a blessing. Apart from the stress that the architecture school delivers, this is one of the things that keeps me going and interested. 

Author

A motivated architecture student who is curious and constantly learning. She is keen on exploring the branches of architecture in all manner of ways and is fond of observing and documenting the influences of architecture in everyday life.