“For those who are lost, there will always be cities that feel like home” – (Van Booy, 2011)

We have all taken consolation in these words, in one form or another, that we shall find our place in the world eventually, a home outside of our own. These cities, buildings, beaches, and even little room spaces speak to us so profoundly that we feel a connection with something more profound. The highest praise any architect or designer can receive: is that their work, into which they have invested their life, appeals to someone else in the same manner that they feel at “home.”

What compels the building or city to speak? 

What places do people connect with the most, the thriving public areas, the bustling metro, or the quiet tucked-in coffee shoes?… maybe it’s all of them. Is it, nevertheless, the sound of this location that speaks to us? The fact is that some public regions host crimes, that crowded subways might be the worst experience to have and that many coffee shops fail miserably – what distinguishes them from the homely spaces is the design. An onlooker may pass by without giving it much thought, but if they do, they will see that it is well-designed.

Building – Good or Bad Continues Speaking

People argue for and against having an architect’s distinctive style, but that is an argument for another day. One side of the tale is that when a celebrity architect attempts to create a building in order to leave his mark and achieve something, they often forget about the consumer.  They create sculptural, glistening structures that lack the emotion and room to communicate to people. While the other side strives to avoid developing a trademark, they nonetheless wind up making designs that people remember them by.

How we reflect 

There are places all around the world that are cherished by some and despised by others, whereas others feel ambivalent about the same. And, just as it talks uniquely, everyone has a unique method of remembering or carrying it close to their hearts. Be it a song like “The City Speaks to Me” by Chris James & The Showdowns or Jennifer Lockwood’s city of Chicago poster with hundreds of newspaper cuttings making the skyline.

The city speaks to me  - Sheet1
The City Speaks- by Jennifer Lockwood_©artisticarticleskorp.blogspot.com/2011/07/city-speaks.html

Design Principles become the Language

Design principles are one of the first lectures at every architecture or design institution, whether from the DK Ching handbook or Debbie Mailman’s fundamental graphic design principles. For many of us, this is the point in our schooling when we grasp why we appreciate some structures more than others, why some locations speak to us, and how we create places that might speak to others how we want them to. 

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Waters is an exceptional example of a structure that speaks in harmony with itself and its environment. The house is comprised of gloomy, tight hallways designed so that individuals feel compressed instead of expanding as they get closer to the outside. The rooms’ ceilings are low to guide the eye horizontally to gaze outside. The beauty of these rooms is inherent in their elaborations into nature, which is accomplished via long cantilevered terraces. Aside from their purpose, the terraces give an element of sculpture to the residence. 

The use of natural light provides a unique atmosphere both indoors and out. This crucial feature may either liven up or entirely numb the area. Like harmony in design can open up the user to experience nature and surroundings, balance and symmetry tend to provide aesthetic comfort and give a sense of relief, sitting and settling down.

The city speaks to me  - Sheet2
Fallingwater House by Frank Lloyd Wright_©www.wallpaperflare.com/united-states-mill-run-forest-architecture-house-river-wallpaper-gsczi
Aerial view of Paris_©ilnur-kalimullin-CB0Qrf8ib4I-unsplash

Paris – City of Romance 

“The chief danger about Paris is that it is such a strong stimulant.” – T. S. Eliot.   (Eliot and Eliot, 1988)

Minor design principles are the language in which the city communicates. Consider Paris, the romantic city, a label symbolic of how it talks to people, as an example of design principles producing outcomes. The city has a harmonious combination of ancient and contemporary buildings. The cobbled lanes, little alleys, and steep stairs transform into a glittering sea with the city’s Eiffel Tower and other monumental gems. All these changes the city undergoes at night make a midnight walk the perfect way to get charmed and fall in love with the city. 

The historic structures are carefully preserved to retain their delight over time. The new buildings are built using the same design principles as the old ones. Centuries of history clubbed with leading design and sustainability initiatives, the city boasts everything from hidden spots to well-known landmarks.  It has been the backdrop of love tales, battles, and revolutions while holding the personal story of everyone who has set foot in the city.

“My buildings will be my legacy… they will speak for me long after I’m gone” – Julia Morgan. 

(Kastner and Vertikoff, 2022)

The work, for better or worse, speaks for itself and, by extension, for you. People are more likely to enjoy their time when they are pleased and comfortable in their space. Every designer, architect, or city planner who puts their passion into their work, the work is acknowledged by the people, perhaps not directly, but it speaks to them and makes them feel at home. 

References: 

  1. Van Booy, S., 2011. Everything beautiful began after.
  2. Eliot, T. and Eliot, V., 1988. The letters of T.S. Eliot. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.
  3. Kastner, V. and Vertikoff, A., 2022. Julia Morgan.
Author

A student interested in understanding people and their relation with spaces better, both through the built and unbuilt. She is fascinated by little things and wants to share that feeling with the world through her words.

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