In 1943, Winston Churchill postulated that “We shape our buildings, and afterwards our buildings shape us“. Verily, we are surrounded by space in all manner of ways. Be it buildings on the streets, immense houses or tiny rooms, parks or squares, and so forth. Each individual has an unparalleled way of interconnecting with space and entertaining a distinctive experience with it. With that comes about diverse perspectives and perceptions.
Pursuing architecture is analogous to taking the Jacobite Steam Train on the greatest scenic journey in the world. This Hogwarts Express casts a magic spell that alters the passengers’ perspective perpetually. If you have already booked a ticket for such a journey, you will relate to this article to a large extent.
The forming of a trained analytical mind
Perhaps, the most prominent aftermath of this so-called ‘Perspective Changer’ spell is the forming of a trained analytical mind. When you are looking at space – whether it be a building or a city in its entirety – you see it for more than just what it is; you try to get to the bottom of its creation, how it was planned, designed, how it was built and how it works. As soon as you walk through space or interact with it in whatever way, you evaluate it and try to comprehend the design’s concealed logic and philosophy.
In this regard, not only does architecture mould your perspective, but it also compels you to seek answers to Why’s and How’s. You will find yourself, ipso facto, pondering what materials were used and why – thinking about structure, load aspects, stability, and things that have never crossed your pre-architectural mind before. Your eyes become trained to grasp aspects of functionality and detailing. The sharp view you build up makes it that – instead of a normal window, for instance- your mind draws an exhaustive picture with components such as the frame and weather sealing.
When you are introduced to Neufert’s Architects Data, you use what you have studied about areas, proportions, and scale to analyze your living environment first. Thenceforth -as you are frequently, if not constantly analyzing and evaluating the quality of spaces and their arrangement- nothing seems arbitrary. You reason about shapes, geometrical forms, volumes, and composition. Even your perspective about aesthetics changes seeing that the appeal of a building is no longer a matter of merely beautiful or ugly.
You take into consideration proportions, symmetry, alignment, movement, patterns, textures, context, and many other combined effects.
Different space experience
Just when you take a walk around the city, thinking that you can clear your mind, empty sites start to appear as an opportunity to imagine a new project, and random construction sites become a chance to sharpen your knowledge about the construction process. An unpreventable mental exercise indeed. As a bargain, inspiration may surface anytime and everywhere, and anything can be the starting point of a concept. Hence, sketching tools have become an inseparable friend of yours. Speaking of concepts, you might become fond of the idea of immateriality -like many starchitects- you explore and experiment with light, shadow, sound, and wind. You also take notice of non-visual senses and develop an understanding of the human mind’s multisensory nature.
Over and above that, a critical view of urban and architectural design aspects is incorporated into your everyday life. By way of example, you analyze connectivity, access, space, and building necessities, while your mind comes up with feasible solutions and potential alternatives. “What if?”, becomes a typical question. On that account, you create new fiction built on narrative, critical analysis, and scrupulous observance, observing and documenting how your sensibilities cut across the surroundings, things, and spaces you are looking at. Although it might seem overemphasized, it is true that an architectural perspective makes you run and maintain two streams of consciousness concurrently:
- The way things are
- The way things could be
On another note, travelling becomes different as you are more attracted to architectural marvels than shopping malls, local food, and typical tourist spots. You look around for architectural inspiration. In this regard, the Norwegian architect Christian Norberg-Schulz asserted that: “Even on a leisurely walk through a park, an architect could deconstruct the space around them and “perceive” physical or virtual features, which define a certain place, within its broader space.”
Working on different projects and studying precedents makes you more aware of various sites, their context, climate, history, economic, social, and cultural aspects, and many other features as if you were a walking geography encyclopedia.
Professedly, you have been enlightened with a deeper understanding of why and how things are built and made.
Eventually, if this sounds like you, you have always thought that architecture makes you see the world differently, haven’t you? You are not alone. For every architect or architecture student, there is a different story and a personal journey; and there no one walks out of this adventure empty-handed without a remodelled view of the world surrounding them.
“I do not claim to know what space is. The longer I think about it, the more mysterious it becomes. About one thing, however, I am sure: when we, as architects, are concerned with space, we are contending with, but a tiny part of the infinity that surrounds the earth, and yet each and every building marks a unique place in that infinity”. (Peter Zumthor)
- Forbuddingarchitects.com. 2022. [online] Available at: https://www.forbuddingarchitects.com/post/how-has-architecture-changed-your-perspective
- Visualconstructionmarketing.com. 2022. Understand How Architects See the World to Sell More Building Materials | Visual Construction Marketing by Jason Yana. [online] Available at: https://visualconstructionmarketing.com/understand-how-architects-see-the-world-to-sell-more-building-products/
- Medium. 2022. How to Travel Like an Architect. [online] Available at: https://medium.com/@seembu/how-to-travel-like-an-architect-2bfce8e094f0