Architecture through Rose Colored Glass – It is pretty apparent that those who have studied or fully comprehend the built environment perceive its components differently than those who have not. We travel to different places and just go about our regular lives without stopping to think, acknowledge, or understand our surroundings. We subconsciously skim through everything and anything until our perspectives begin to shift relative to the moment we gain the necessary knowledge on a specific topic, at which point we begin to pay more attention.

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©Photo by Timo Wagner on Unsplash, Rose Colored Glass

Buildings are viewed as shelters before any knowledge, which is a basic human need to protect us from the elements as well as for privacy and security purposes. When we become aware of what we have in front of us, our attitude and approach to it shift as well. Anyone can look at a structure and think, “Wow, that’s a great or poor design to look at,” but still, it takes a lot more to get past the façade and into its essence and functionality. Memories that are created within the walls of buildings can last for generations. That’s why, when everything else becomes too much to bear, we often go down memory lane. Some return to their childhood homes, playgrounds, or neighborhoods, communities… We simply revisit the places where we have created some of our fondest memories, seeking inspiration, refueling, and reconnecting. During the day, one can only think about the built environment in terms of what it shows on the outside, such as its form, details, compositions, and contrast… However, at night, once the daylight gives way to the artificial light that radiates and reflects throughout the space, the presence of its users can be felt and seen.

Public space | Rose Colored Glass

Public spaces are well-known for being the places where we meet for appointments, meetings, and celebrations with our friends, colleagues, and family. Its use, however, goes beyond that. Public space might be open (beach, park, plaza, playground, etc.), closed buildings (library, religious institution, museum, gallery, etc.), semi-opened, or closed (café/restaurant terraces…). They are vital to a city’s survival, with the potential to engage the road’s edges through the creation of amenities.

They are locations designed to provide a sense of relief and escape from the concrete jungle that has come to define our modern cities. They enhance human relationships and social inclusion by making themselves accessible to everyone regardless of socioeconomic background, but this is insufficient to foster inter-ethnic contacts, which are easier among the younger demographic than among the elderly. To be honest, there is always a subtle sense of prejudice or exclusion inside every gathering place. People are just terrified of approaching something they don’t know or comprehend.

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©Photo by Diane Picchiottino on Unsplash


They convey the impression of authority and strength to someone from a small town because of their intimidating demeanor. The concept of limitless potential such as the assumption that there is nothing a person cannot achieve or become if they are prepared to put in the appropriate effort, “How do you define a skyscraper? Anything that causes you to come to a halt, stand up, crane your neck back, and gaze up.” (T.J. Gottesdiener, architect).

One could believe that the drive to draw attention, achieve respect, and boast about richness and supremacy is the driving force behind the construction of skyscrapers. While this is partially true, it is also entirely incorrect. Nations nowadays strive to see who can build the tallest skyscraper. Skyscrapers were formerly emblems of a strong economy, technological advancements, abilities, and the availability of resources to keep them standing. However, we can now see that they have progressed above that, and the bar has now been established as to who possesses the world’s highest structure. It’s no surprise that right beneath all the towering, gleaming, light-reflecting façades that make up skyscrapers lies the reality of society, the same one we dismiss and pretend doesn’t exist, which are, for instance, the slums or the homeless individuals who seek shelter in incomplete or abandoned buildings.

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Community areas | Rose Colored Glass

With the world in such a precarious situation, sustainability has gradually become the order of the day. Nations are now being obliged to reduce their carbon footprints and reliance on non-renewable energy sources to help save the planet and prevent current species from being endangered. As a result, community area ideology is being encouraged and fostered. A community area is a place where people with similar or opposing opinions, ideologies, religions, or mutual interests join together to live in a specified region. Although such settlements are made up of a handful of individuals, living in them has significant benefits. Improvement in mental well-being, availability of support and safety, connections, acceptance, sharing, and facilitating interactions among members are just a few of the benefits that communal areas offer. They are often low-rise buildings that share similar architectural aesthetics and are located within very reasonable proximity of one another. 

We didn’t know how much we needed to go back to our old ways of living in a community and being there for each other until recently when the pandemic hit the world. Individuals were seen going out of their ways to help each other by providing basic needs to the less fortunate and many more.

©Photo by Patrick Schreiber on Unsplash

References: Rose Colored Glass

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Nadjath is an architecture graduate, traveler, and part-time freelance writer. She believes that the built and unbuilt environments are more than just about form and function. In a fast-growing culture where people are reading less and less, she is enthusiastic about transmitting the essence of architecture via words.