Architecture and people, along with their perspectives, have been running hand in hand from the dawn of time. One has been shaping the other even before someone has understood what a ‘point of view’ or architecture means. Unaware of the depths of architecture and what it has to offer, people keep building mental perspectives subconsciously throughout their lives. 

The sweet memories of the village courtyard house, the dear school corridors, the first cinema hall moment or even the safety of home, all are specific to the person experiencing the space and time.

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Vinu Daniel’s Shikhara Residence in Pothencode – Image ©Jino Sam https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/why-kerala-speaks-its-own-design-language/article31875421.ece

People and Places

Why are places so important? People and places are connected strongly because of the memories and feelings attached to them. A place one visits only once a year, like a seasonal destination or a summer house, has a special spot in the person’s heart and mind. It is the same for other places someone frequently visits; the local grocery store, the park nearby, that favourite restaurant, or a place where someone spends a considerable amount of their life; school, college and home. 

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Buildings in use: Skanderbeg Square in Tirana, Albania – image ©Laurian Ghinitoiu
https://edition.cnn.com/style/article/architectural-photography-awards-2019/index.html 

Architecture and people are always closely equated as places play a role in shaping people throughout their lives. People not only have personal experiences but also gain shared experiences with near and dear ones. The intensity of feelings people develop depends on various factors like who they are sharing the experience with, what they are doing, how long they have been there and the overall vibe of the place. All of them together are accountable for shaping the feeling of a ‘place’ in a person’s heart.

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Nanasawa Kibounooka Elementary School by Architect Ben Nakamura – ©Japan Times

Image source: https://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2014/03/02/issues/thinking-outside-the-usual-white-box/

Places and Perspectives

Places are surely important to people, but does everyone have the same perspective about them? Well, of course not. 

The perception of a place in different people’s minds is far more distinct and divergent than one may believe. A park with little to no people in it could be scary for someone but peaceful and quiet for another. A public place buzzing with activities could be enthralling for one but noisy and cramped for another. The daily or weekly market trips could be a cherished chore for someone but a cumbersome task for another. 

An empty alley may be thought of as a good place for a leisure walk or a shady place by different people. Architecture and people may be codependent but have a lot to learn from each other.

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High School #9 at Los Angeles, USA – ©www.cnn.com
https://edition.cnn.com/style/article/worlds-best-school-designs/index.html

No matter what perspectives people have about the different social, private or public places, they are all valid. The affecting factors like time, company, experiences, etc., collectively shape a person’s perception of a place. Every second of every day slowly contributes towards building these outlooks. Over time, people get used to viewing a place based on preconceived notions of similar settings. 

For example, if someone has had a bad experience in an amusement park sometime, they would probably avoid going there again or would be constantly on their toes the next time they have to visit one. Maybe someone has had a bad occurrence at a fast food point, most likely they wouldn’t go to that particular place or any other similar one again. These predetermined perspectives may dictate how certain places are viewed and are personal to every individual. 

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The Private Nueva School, California, USA – ©Kyle Jeffers/ Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects https://edition.cnn.com/style/article/worlds-best-school-designs/index.html

Perspectives and Architecture

Architecture, essentially, is the science of building places. It has everything to do with space, time and people. The perspectives people develop of places are directly linked to their architecture. The power a setting has to make you feel excited, dull, weary, confused, enthusiastic, melancholic or happy depends on its built and other people and activities. 

Architecture and people are fully involved in this game of coordination between time and space, which when played well, can bring out the best of experiences. Time is constantly ticking and humans are dynamic creatures. With two string volatile factors like these, creating a space for people to have the best time is a challenge no doubt. That is where the intensive study of architecture comes in.

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Pedestrian Friendly Street, Superkilen Park, Copenhagen, Denmark- by BIG – Bjarke Ingles Group – ©www.land8.com

There are many existing perspectives regarding the current social, public and community spaces; they are not up to the mark, or under-equipped, or need to be larger and so on. But when a conscious design effort is seen which caters to the needs of people, they do appreciate it. Perspectives, too, are variable. No two angles would give the same view of a building. Similarly, people have different points of view about places. 

These changing perspectives come with evolving built forms, which are material proof of progress. These material changes can be immediately seen and recognised, giving way to fresh perspectives about places. 

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Starfield Library in Seoul, South Korea – ©www.veranda.com

Architecture and people have the power to shift this perspective by innovating forms based on the preexisting concepts. It is basically taking from the community to give it back. This constant reciprocity between architecture and perspectives is what keeps things exciting. Architecture is capable of much more than just changing perspectives, it can shape lives, benefit society, make or break a deal. After all, the practice of architecture in its entirety is to make lives better!

Author

“Neha Sharma, a 24-year-old Architect and Artist from India, is fascinated by all the subjects involving art and humanities and believes herself to be a people person. Having a diverse set of interests like doodling, dance, photography, watching anime, writing and collaboration made her pursue Architecture and Design.”

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