Architecture is a space-time exploration. You drew up plans before they were even built. You give advance solutions to foreseen problems. When planning and designing, you literally feel like a god from the heavens observing down below from macro-level zooming in to micro-level. Traveling to do your research feels like you are a god descending from the heavens down to earth to experience what it’s like to be human.

Perspective in Architecture Begins at Home

How Architecture Changed My Perspective - Sheet1
Creating Structural Concepts using wires ©Ritchell Lozares.

You were around the age of seven when you first saw a master plan of a city through a green sort of electronics board of a broken CRT television. Though you haven’t yet seen a city from the sky or a helicopter, by staring at the composition of that green electronics, you imagined in the varying shapes and sizes what looked like a mall, a school, houses, and stores. Back then, you didn’t know about skyscrapers and high-rise buildings. You call all buildings “houses.” You proudly shared with my classmates that you are very rich living in a very big, big house. But when they tried to find out where you live, they accused you of being a liar…because they didn’t see the world from your perspective. So long ago, you learned from your elementary teacher that a house is a concrete noun while a home is an abstract noun. A house is a physical structure while a home is a glowing spirit shared by the family members inside a house.

You built houses and homes made of popsicle sticks for my toys using your Christmas savings and hung them on the potted plants at the entrance of our house. You would leave them outside with toys inside because you enjoy watching the houses exposed to real rain. Indoors, you would play with your younger brother, a board game that you invented in which…you would choose a toy character…roll dice to know which vacant lot your character would land, represented by flat boxes, notebooks, or anything…earn money represented by unused fast-food discount coupons, amount varying for every lot…buy any objects that can be found at home (wallet, shoebox, stool, bottle, pencil case, etc.)…and used those objects to build houses, without limitations, with space inside for your toy character. Even a fallen mono-block chair could be an airport in which the toys would fall in line on the four legs of the chair while waiting for their airplane. You could imagine anything where my toys could fit in a house.

They say that you will know if a person is an architect by looking through the eyes. I didn’t mean the eyebags because of sleepless nights. You will find an architect gazing at buildings as if they were tourist spots.

How Architecture Changed My Perspective - Sheet2
A Reflection of Heritage Building_ ©Ritchell Lozares

When you were an architecture student, you loved to wander and wonder. Wherever you go, you would read buildings from floors to walls and up to the roof. Walking along the streets of Manila to attend your class, you could see the past and its future through the random alternate of mid-rise to high-rise buildings and heritage houses that survived the World War. You have this professor in Professional Practice whose strong love and passion for heritage structures would make you feel like wanting to take the same career path every time you listen to his talk. He taught you to appreciate, conserve and protect our heritage buildings because they are evidence that backs up our history of who we are as a civilization and for the next generation to see and hear our story.

You figured out the so-called ‘spirit of the place.’ In your own words, the spirit of the place is the vibe that space is giving off that makes your senses conscious of the present. Without the spirit of the place, architecture would be as lifeless as toys. Playing as a big boy, you’re now designing the architecture for real people.

Without the spirit of the place, architecture would be as lifeless as toys.

Watching the Fiesta Republica at Malolos Bulacan_ ©Ritchell Lozares

In your Building Utilities subject, you had a field trip to a factory of fixtures. In your Architectural Planning subjects, you had this Immersion Activity in which you literally immersed yourselves in heritage towns and you even attended a fiesta. In your History of Architecture subjects, you had this fun activity to locate and to see in person a list of heritage structures then to take pictures with it. In Professional Practice subjects, you interviewed inspiring architects to see the world of architecture from their point of view. The best part for you is looking back at those old pictures because that makes you feel alive to the present.

In your Architectural Design subjects, you would travel to places with friends related to your design problems to experience, to study cases and to make designing easier. You interviewed people to hear their feedback and opinion. You would visit the site to come up with firsthand research data. During the schematic design phase, you would identify different types of building users and try to put yourself in their shoes to come up with the flow diagram of their activities to identify their spatial needs corresponding to an architectural space. Your favorite part in designing is coming up with a design concept because it pushes you to see and think abstractly that would materialize as a design solution.

The next time your architect-boss instructed you to prepare a coffee, you should ask if ‘hot or cold,’ ‘sweet or bitter.’ Same with designing buildings and structures. You used to believe that architecture is about its architect, not realizing how self-serving that was. Growing up, you start to realize that architecture is about service—service to the owner, building users, community, country and the whole world.