Did you ever sit at Marine Drive late at night and just sat staring at the endless sea along with the lit skyline of Mumbai just beside it?
That is the play of how architecture plays with the perception of people. It provides you with a frame that makes you see the world a certain way and tend to remember that space accordingly. In addition, we as people always tend to remember those spaces in terms of some image or a story relating to that context. This image or the memory of that place could be bad or good, but every person has a different tale to tell about space, and without even realizing it, it subconsciously becomes part of that story. All of this contributes to the way we perceive the environment around us, and this vision even broadens when we know more about architecture.
Subsequently, it could be said, “buildings tend to influence the society and its way of living and behavioural pattern”. Expressing the feelings through building and creating an impact through space were through power during the past. Architecture is something which is beyond construction or building; it is a feeling that people tend to pour in to create perceived reality and experience. It is the pure imaginative ideas put forth in the physical world. The biodiversity, the culture, the society, its people, ecology, and the whole environment around are influenced by it. Hence, architecture is what we can call building and developing our race through creating space.
Impact on Mood
Then, is architecture all about building a shelter or building skyscrapers or about building space with four walls & a roof?
The architecture of any building, essentially the social and cultural products, are influenced by the ideas, beliefs, functions, relations, and values of the environment, which it sustains as well as the user who is using it.
Not all the impacts are positive; sometimes they could be harmful as well. Architecture in general, not only affects society at a macro level, but at the micro level, it has a profound impact on the user as well. Everything, from the layout of the space to its tiniest details, contributes to occupants’ health, mood, and productivity.
Brutalism, cold, sterile, and concrete jungle-type unimaginative buildings tend to create uneasiness among the user, which affects the mood and health.
For instance, in the 1950s Pruitt-Igoe housing complex in St Louis, Missouri – designed by Minoru Yamasaki, also responsible for the World Trade Centre – whose 33 featureless apartment blocks quickly became notorious for their crime, squalor, and social dysfunction. Some argued that the wide-open spaces between the blocks of high-rises discouraged a sense of community, and a sense of openness, particularly as crime rates started to rise. They were eventually demolished in 1972.
We feel somewhat relaxed, happy, and engaged when we experience a space that is more connected to nature and a well-lit space. Imagining those open public spaces we come across in our everyday lives is one such space where we can see many social interactions, which could sometimes be cultural or economical, although throughout the day as these open spaces act as a breathable void that provides a getaway from the concrete jungle-type housing in present-day cities.
Impact of Pandemic
The urge for more such open spaces that connect the societies was faced even more when Covid -19 hit the country. Even though people lived in their fully equipped luxury apartments, due to being locked in those edgy housings, people felt restricted from interactions. Therefore, these public spaces served as living rooms, gardens, and corridors of urban belts.
Despite being so important, these spaces are often poorly integrated or neglected in planning and city development. However, with covid, awareness has been generated even among the communities as well as the architects.
Along with such needs, the pandemic even hit the profession and the education of architecture as well. Due to covid, education and practice were stuck in online working mode. Where students, as well as professionals, are in the comfort of their house working and learning remotely.
There are no doubt positive advantages as well, but at the same time, many negative impacts also. People did have access to the sea of global data available online, many research data, and with the advancement of technology, communication made it easier. However, as the field of architecture is more concerned with fieldwork, individuals need to work physically over the site, to learn and engage. However, this was disrupted, which affected the profession and the practice at large. Some urbanists said that this sudden change of mode of working might even affect future development. Nevertheless, eventually, people are getting aware and many architects are working more towards the sustainability and social aspects of city design.
In conclusion, according to the Zen teachings, “If a tree falls in a forest and there is no one to hear it, would it still make the same sound?” Similarly, if there were no people, the influence of architecture and the built environment of society would not exist.
- Bond, M. (2017). The hidden ways that architecture affects how you feel. [online] Bbc.com. Available at: https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20170605-the-psychology-behind-your-citys-design.
- Vangelatos, G. (2019). How Does Architecture Impact Society? A High-Level Look | Thought Leadership. [online] HMC Architects. Available at: https://hmcarchitects.com/news/how-does-architecture-impact-society-a-high-level-look-2019-10-18/.
- RTF | Rethinking The Future. (2022). Tales of spaces: when architecture speaks. [online] Available at:
https://www.re-thinkingthefuture.com/narratives/a7208-tales-of-spaces-when-architecture-speaks/ [Accessed 24 Jul. 2022].
- mindspace. (2018). Architecture and Storytelling. [online] Available at: https://mindspacearchitects.wordpress.com/2018/04/05/architecture-and-storytelling/.
- https://www.facebook.com/philip.kennicott (n.d.). The pandemic has shown us what the future of architecture could be. [online] Washington Post. Available at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/magazine/2020/07/13/pandemic-has-shown-us-what-future-architecture-could-be/.
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- Img 2 : https://www.archdaily.com/870685/ad-classics-pruitt-igoe-housing-project-minoru-yamasaki-st-louis-usa-modernism/590cbddfe58ecee9b200002b-ad-classics-pruitt-igoe-housing-project-minoru-yamasaki-st-louis-usa-modernism-image
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