“Architecture is really about well-being. I think that people want to feel good in a space… On the one hand, it’s about shelter, but it’s also about pleasure.” – Zaha Hadid
Many people ask architects; what is it that inspires us to do architecture? What do you see when you look at a structure? Is it concrete buildings standing tall over you or a tranquil green space that invigorates your mood and senses?
There can be many responses to this, but there is one expression that stands true; the devil is in the details. Architecture is an ever-evolving art form. Since many centuries ago, various styles have emerged leaving people in awe of the design. There exist several spaces that act as multi-functional; be it community spaces, public places or even skyscrapers.
Learning about architecture essentially changes the notion of how people perceive spaces. We explore, we imagine, we extract!
Searching for Inspiration
We as architects have a habit of analyzing every structure and place we visit. We design and detail out every project we set our mind to and each project becomes a success due to the imagination process that we develop through years of studying architecture. We study architects and their projects and we gain a different perspective while designing our projects.
What does the design of the structure communicate to you when you glance at it? You would have seen many skyscrapers or communities in your life but before actually observing the building, you could only see the mass of the structure. Although when you start observing the details, you find the structure to be more complex or simple than what you had imagined.
Another aspect to ponder upon is how architecture ushers changes in your behaviour. When you visit a public place, the energy of that place insinuates a natural and emotional response in you such as fear, tranquillity, happiness, etc.
Making way through to Imagination
While architecture paved its way to change the perception of how structures are seen, imagination proceeds to be a significant aspect of that very perception. The Sheats-Goldstein home by John Lautner is an example of such an architectural design that exhibits a functional space acquiring the use of the materials at great lengths.
The ceiling of the house is designed in a waffle pattern such that it acts as a ceiling as well as a wall. The waffle pattern is meant to create a rhythm. The glass bottles embedded in the waffles act as skylights and create an ever-changing pattern on the floor according to the sunlight.
The concept used in the design of this house depicts a time-evolving abstraction. The waffle design shows a futuristic approach to consolidate the seating area and the outdoor area with the swimming pool.
Diving into Architecture
One of the architects who inspire us to change our perception of architecture is Geoffrey Bawa. Known as the most influential architect across most Asian countries, he strives on the principle of ‘Tropical Modernism’.
Bawa’s philosophy of breaking barriers between the indoor and outdoor environment led to characterizing his work as rather intuitive and sustainable. His work certainly changed the perception of many people by his ‘out of the box thinking.
The Kandalama Hotel
The Kandalama Hotel was built on a north-facing cliff across the reservoir of Sigiriya overlooking to attain the view of the Citadel i.e. the Sigiriya rock. The entry to the hotel is on the topmost floor which is furnished to look like a cave. The entire hotel merges with the cliff to give astonishing views from each space of the hotel.
The stretch of almost a kilometre following the shape of the cliff opens up to a lounge where you get a view of the reservoir. At the edge of the cliff, below the lounge, three staggering swimming pools will be discovered. The rooms portray a space outside that interconnects the landscape with the built structure. Visiting the Kandalama Hotel gives a sense of being in a different sphere altogether where people connect with nature on a different level.
Transforming a rubber estate into a country home, Lunuganga is Bawa’s most passionate work. Lunuganga ultimately reveals the soul of Geoffrey Bawa, who spent over fifty years since 1948 when he purchased the site, modifying this place into one of the most captivating gardens.
The rubber estate, sitting on the precipice of Dedduwa Lake, surrounds a wide field of thickets swaying upwards to Cinnamon hill. Lunuganga is a culmination of the elements of Italian Renaissance Gardens amalgamating classical Grecco-Roman statues and grotesque sculptures.
The personal Tropical Eden of Bawa defines the senses to the views of the built and the unbuilt. The vast expanse of the estate is designed in the simplest of forms with a meandering flow of the houses, gardens, lake to harmonize the light and sounds of nature to experience the surreal creation of Bawa.
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” – Leonardo da Vinci
Communicating with architecture is a relatively similar way as communicating with a person. The characteristic of the structure tells you about its history, geography, and also the style of architecture inculcated in the design.
The psychology that is considered while perceiving any space whether it is a residential complex, a hotel, or a public space is similar to that of a human mind. The architectural language of a space is defined by the functionality and the emotion that is prompted by the user which changes the very perception of viewing any space.