As per the Oxford dictionary, perspective is the art of three-dimensional objects on a two-dimensional surface to give the right impression of their height, width, depth and position. This is precisely what architecture can do with one’s mind- to mould abstract thoughts into more concrete ones.
Most of the population lives in the built environment; thus, architecture plays a vital role in shaping our day-to-day perspectives. It can mould our perception of mundane spaces to the most extraordinary ones.
The study of architecture equips the mind to look at built structures beyond their built forms and consider the other intangible factors like the functionality of the built forms, the users, the connection of the users with the built form and their interconnectivity with other users.
The idea of heritage structure evolved from a mere stone building with arches to a building of significance. A glimpse at the structure now makes the mind wonder why it was built. It ponders the impact the building might have created once it was built. It further scrutinises whether the building still holds the same importance or if the importance has increased or decreased. The perception of the building being created after all this contemplation can take a person to the era it was built in and then attempts to understand its journey from that era till the present. It thus doesn’t remain just another stone building with arches.
Public spaces reflect what the city offers its citizens. The vision of public spaces widened from spaces of gathering for the masses to a space for connecting with the masses. They provide a platform for exchanging ideas and allow different communities to engage. Dynamic public spaces can encourage innovation, as people use space creatively and unintentionally. These are spaces of visibility with invisible boundaries, thus making citizens feel connected as community members. It is an essential means of providing the citizens with a space to relax and retreat after a long day.
To take the case of any neighbourhood park within a locality, the relevance of the park grew from an open area to cycle or walk around to a gathering area for meeting and connecting with different people from the same neighbourhood. The perception hence evolved from the idea of an open area in the neighbourhood to a space with permeable boundaries for its users and thus providing a character to the neighbourhood
As the architectural knowledge about high risers and skyscrapers grew with better study and understanding, the perception of these tall structures became much more than a building contributing to a city’s skyline.
If we look at the past, these tall structures were built to build iconic structures. However, over the years, this perception has changed with the population explosion and rapid urbanisation growth.
The need for these tall structures grew from constructing an iconic tall structure to today, planning a structure catering to the current needs and at the same time designing with a sustainable approach taking into consideration the future aspects as well.
For instance, the Shanghai tower, designed by Gensler, is one of the tallest buildings in the world. The tower has been designed to incorporate city life vertically. The public spaces are planned within the building instead of spreading them horizontally. The building has been designed with a double-glass façade that reduces the carbon footprint. Wind-driven generators power the exterior lighting of the building. The tower is planned with a sustainable approach.
Transit hubs connect different places. Once a halt point from point A to point B, transit hubs add more substance to the journey itself. It plays an essential role in bringing people and places together. It becomes a gathering point for people coming from different places. These people who are further headed to different destinations meet at this common point, thus making transit hubs a landmark for generating new experiences. Developing these hubs helps bring the city closed for the city to function effectively. In most urban cities, where a person spends a significant amount of time commuting from one place to another, these transit hubs act as extended public spaces.
As quoted by the architect Frank Gehry, “It’s not new that architecture can profoundly affect a place, sometimes transform it. Architecture and any art can transform a person, even save someone.”
Architecture can shape a person’s life constantly and progressively. It can enhance the daily lives of people. It is shaped around it. One can argue that different people will have different perceptions of the same space, but it certainly leaves an impact, knowingly or unknowingly.
Architecture creates a built environment in people’s lives. It, however, does not stop at the built forms. It holds a strong influence over the occupants of these built forms. It gives a reflection of the society that is being built and lived in.
While looking, you might also listen, linger and think about what you see. Jane Jacobs, The death and life of great American cities