Architecture is an art for the people, by the people, and of the people. It’s beyond designed spaces and built environments. It embodies strong emotions, beliefs, values, and culture. It stands as a representation of society and the world we belong to. Architecture is the living proof for all the ideologies of existence, over time. Therefore, this may raise a question.
Isn’t architecture a way of life? Aren’t we all a part of it? Right from the minute we wake up to falling back asleep, we constantly are in and around the buildings. Both consciously and subconsciously, architecture plays a vital role in shaping our lives. (As Sir Winston Churchill quote, in 1943) “We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us. “Is a quote to think about?
Architecture: More than Just a Building
Architecture has the power to impacts our lives. And are all impacts positive? On a micro level, it has a profound impact on an individual’s life. Every minute of the day is influenced by architecture. Imagine you waking up to a space that just feels right. Everything, from basic the layout of the space, proper lighting and ventilation, materials and colors used, impact a person’s physical, mental and physiological well-being. In this fast-paced world, an average human being spends 90% of the time indoors. A well-designed building is beyond aesthetics and functionality. A well-designed architecture connects with its users on another level.
It generates a positive impact and a genuine connection with space.
For example, a well-lit space with ample lighting and ventilation can uplift a person’s mood, health and increase the productivity of work. A simple mindful connection with nature generates a positive impact on one’s life. Many researchers have proven that proper sunlight helps the human body to produce the hormone melatonin, which helps to regulate our body’s clock, sleep pattern, and digestion. Also, visible light helps to stimulate the production of serotonin, which helps reduce the symptoms of depression.
On the other hand, proper indoor air quality also improves the health of the user. Hence well-ventilated buildings add up to the health of the occupants indoors. As we are constantly in and surrounded by the buildings, these spaces have an impact on how we feel, think and behave. Good architecture shapes our lives, leaving an everlasting positive impact on our mind, body, and soul. Therefore it’s important for both the users and architects to think twice before we consider any design for our buildable environment.
Up Above: The World so High
Rising high above the ground, skyscrapers have become the prominent structures of modern cities. These giants in the sky leave us with bustling thoughts and imaginations. Imagine yourself walking down the street, surrounded by tall buildings. What would be the first thing your mind would perceive? Is it the fulfillment and the joy you experience when your eye meets the sky or would you imagine yourself living/working on the 50th floor of that building with breathtaking panoramic views of the city’s skyline? Or on contrary, do you feel shadowed and intimidated by the gigantic structures in your vicinity?
Our mind communicates in pictures. Witnessing these architectural marvels might have a certain kind of varied impact on different individuals. This different perception of tall buildings impacts our living, in and around them.
Modern-day architects are running discussions about the people’s perception of tall buildings, concerning various architectural factors. A tall building might be an indicator of sculptural marvel, standing out as a country’s status promoting its economy and tourism. On the other hand, it might be a norm of architecture in the growing cities that are running out of land due to rapid urbanization.
Looking at these gigantic structures, from the architect’s point of view, leaves us with the thought to create a performance-based design that adds value to the lives of people living in and around these structures. Good architecture should consider all the physical, economic and, social aspects of the world. Buildings shape our minds with varied perceptions they carry. These perceptions impact our lives, our way of thinking, and our behavior.
Architecture: Unity in Diversity
The architecture of public spaces is as important as the architecture of buildings. Public spaces act as a network connecting various buildings across the city. A well-designed public place is a breath of fresh air, pumping life into the urban gaps, in between the concrete. Public spaces tend to control the character and the identity of a city. The varied perception of public places influences the mindset of the public, to their behavior, identity, and relationships they develop. People from different walks of life; get to cross paths with each other, to find a commonality among the differences they embrace.
Imagine yourself walking down a public park or a road or a public square filled with hundreds of people around you, would you feel safe and secure? Or would you feel suffocated in the crowd? Depending on the way we perceive a place, our mind signals our body to react in a certain way in a certain environment. A public place can make you feel better, by encouraging you to be an active part of society, interact with people, exchange warm relationships that tie the neighborhood communities. On the other hand, there may be spaces that trigger negative activities like theft, vandalism, and crime. Public architecture has the power to shape societies and build the world. It can impact the city’s mental and physical health. As architects or designers, our perceptions are rooted in the context. We aim to design a place that is open, freely accessible, user- friendly, and safe. With the mindset of creating an absolute democratic and safe build environment.
A built environment can change the perceptions and mindset of people. Every place we experience leaves us with everlasting stories that resonate through space. These spaces awaken our senses, by broadening our perceptions. Architecture is a universal language and space is its medium of communication. Architecture is a powerful tool that makes or breaks societies. Throughout history architecture stood as the representation of a nation’s values, reflecting its successes and failures, leading to the rise and downfall of civilizations. This raises many unanswered questions. It leaves us with this question; does the architecture of our environment have an impact on our lives? Are they all positive?