Since ancient times, the evolution of architectural forms has conformed with our way of life. Recalling our past, we may see depictions of our way of life in practically all architectural forms through art. Be it the monumental places of worship or one’s own home; architecture has influenced our lives and vice versa. However, do we continue to enjoy the “concrete jungle” that modern times have paved the way to?

The technological advancement has resulted in the development of newer techniques being deployed in the field of architecture, thereby facilitating ideas that seemed nearly impossible. With growing trends, the need to connect with the user psychologically has been overlooked tremendously. While architects strive to achieve balance, professionals from diverse fields often pay no attention. The impact of architecture on our lives is both an opportunity and a menace. Spaces are intended to heal people, rejuvenate and enhance their moods. Ill-conceived and inferior architecture can promote stress, encourage exhaustion, induce psychosomatic symptoms and even cause physical discomfort. Many structures contain deficiencies of various types that are not always obvious. 

The ‘Better’ side

Many structures make an impression on us long after we have left them. On that note, the way architect Daniel Libeskind perceives built form is a striking example. One of his exemplary works includes the Jewish Museum in Berlin, where he deeply connects with the user by reminiscing the historical past, effectively ensuring the inherent message of the war, the struggles and pain faced is delivered to the people just right. The building serves as a reminder of their previous tribulations and how a new life may emerge from the ashes. The interior of the structure uses dark, lengthy, and narrow passages to make the user feel dread, worry, uncertainty, and hope. Libeskind’s Jewish Museum stands clearly, in the light of unpresentable architecture. 

Architecture in our Lives - An opportunity and a menace - Sheet1
Jewish Museum Berlin_ ©httpssg.trip.com

While this may be on a small scale, large-scale spaces also have a good influence on people’s lives. The Quartier des Spectacles in Montreal, Canada, is a classic example of how design in a public place influences people’s lives. Although the district is a relatively new endeavor, the region has a long history of culture and entertainment dating back to the late 1800s and early 1900s. The neighborhood grew over time, with additional theatres, museums, and attractions, but by the end of the twentieth century, it was in desperate need of renovation. The objective for Quartier des Spectacles was not to establish a new cultural area, but rather to identify and develop the existing cultural infrastructure. The significant public spending since the Quartier des Spectacles project’s acceptance has had a more than tenfold impact on real-estate economic impact, thus proving correct the initial prediction that this investment in culture would have a favorable impact on the growth of Montreal’s downtown core, that was a success by the effective intervention of architecture. Architecture has embraced people providing them the warmth they need. While we appreciate it, we fail to realize the adverse effect that it has on our lives.

Architecture in our Lives - An opportunity and a menace - Sheet2
Engagement at Quartier des Spectacles_ ©httpsmagazineluxe.com

The ‘Bitter’ side

While there may be beneficial effects on our lifestyle, the state of architecture on a larger scale in cities is most certainly having a detrimental impact on our lives. The lush green areas that formerly existed eventually morphed into threads that have now vanished totally. Cities have become concrete jungles. The development with age has led to the abundance of contemporary forms that indirectly continue to affect our lifestyle drastically. Global warming, climate change, and a series of environmental issues are on the rise. The Urban Heat Island effect is increasing exceedingly. Aside from that, they cause psychological disruptions, affecting one’s lifestyle entirely. Specific patterns of behavior are promoted by spatial structures, and designs and equipment excite us with certain methods of dealing with and using them. Dilapidation, incorrect usage, and vandalism are all examples of structural issues. Such repercussions can be avoided if design fosters a positive and emotional link to places and strengthens a feeling of responsibility. The incorporation of natural elements and mindful designing strategy plays a vital role in shaping our lives for the better. 

Concrete Jungle_ ©httpswww.flickr.com

The Balance

Finally, the organization, equipment, and dimensioning of places, as well as their design, have an impact on human patterns of movement, acts, and usage. When environments are designed in a way that contradicts our routines, it might impede our emotions and behaviors, causing rage or dissatisfaction. Alternatively, they might reinforce the systems of ordinary life and help us feel at ease. Well-designed architecture and the emotional attachment people have to it are not easily quantifiable. However, we’ve all had the experience of coming into a place that simply seems right. It is not only useful, but it also speaks to you on a subliminal level. While building for a function is vital, it is also necessary to tap into that emotional connection, since they both speak to the sensation of experiencing architecture.

References:

  1. Medium. 2022. 1# ARCHITECTURAL PSYCHOLOGY: The Influence of Architecture on our Psyche. [online] Available at: <https://medium.com/archilyse/1-the-influence-of-architecture-on-our-psyche-f183a6732708#:~:text=In%20the%20positive%20case%2C%20however,can%20influence%20how%20we%20feel.> [Accessed 24 July 2022].
  2.  (The Libeskind Jewish Museum in Berlin, the unpresentable and experience, 2022)
  3. 2022. The Libeskind Jewish Museum in Berlin, the unpresentable and experience.
Author

Kriti Shivagunde is a hopeless list-maker. She makes lists more than she breathes in a day. She writes too much, sings too much, and loves hummus too much. She is passionate about sleeping and helping animals. An architecture student from the unfortunate 2020 graduating batch, she hopes to one day call herself an Architect.

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