Encounter with the word architecture
Architecture is the study of design, buildings, and construction. It has the power to shape one’s perspective in several ways. It can influence us physically, environmentally, culturally, and socially. After coming into the field of architecture, I believe that my perspective towards my surroundings and spaces has changed immensely. I still remember when I was in 11th grade figuring out what to do after my 12th on the internet, I came across an article that had a number of professions listed, but my eyes got hooked on the word “architecture”. Well, I knew architecture had something to do with buildings, but I was not sure what exactly it was.
Architecture creates the physical environment in which people dwell, work, play, and exist. Its purpose is not just to create four walls with a door and a window but to expand our abilities as human beings when we look through that window and enter or exit the door. Since architecture is an interdisciplinary field that draws on a wide range of knowledge and skills, with architects having to collaborate with various professionals like engineers, urban planners, landscape architects, etc., it made me explore myself more and learn a bit about everything that makes architecture a whole.
How architecture changed me
Now, after being in this field for about four years, studying and making designs, it has influenced how I view and experience my surroundings. It has changed how I interact with and understand the built environment. Through the manipulation of light, space, and form, architecture evokes emotional responses and creates memorable experiences. It broadens one’s understanding of history, culture, and environment and inspires a deeper appreciation for the world around us. It has always been about creating spaces that would enhance the community culturally, physically, and emotionally.
Before coming into architecture and needing to know what plans or design concepts were. Whenever I enter a building, my only focus is on how it looks and how it makes me feel. After understanding how buildings are made and knowing all things that go under in bringing a building to life, my focus is not only on the things that are right but also, I observe all the negatives of the space. Focusing on functionality has just become a part of who I am today. Walking down a street, being late for my class, my watch is not the only thing I notice. I notice those broken walls, rusted balustrades, the uneven pedestrian walkway, and the insufficient headroom of a gate. While entering a room, my mind automatically opens SketchUp, and I rearrange the layout in a way that would be more comfortable for me. While going up or down a staircase, as I am holding the handrail, I figure out the height of the riser and often think to myself, ‘Oh! No standards have been followed here.’ As they say, good design is 99% invisible, but almost everything becomes visible after becoming an architecture student.
As Ludwig Mies van der Rohe said, “Design is not what it looks and feels like. Design is how it works.”
Designs that changed my perspective towards design and life
The Glass House by Philip Johnson (1949) – This iconic modernist residence in New Canaan, Connecticut, was one of the first examples of using glass as a primary building material. It challenged traditional notions of privacy and the separation of indoor and outdoor spaces.
The Sydney Opera House by Jørn Utzon (1973) – The iconic Australian building’s sculptural forms and unconventional use of materials revolutionised architectural thinking about the design of performing arts venues.
The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao by Frank Gehry (1997) – This museum’s striking, curving forms and use of reflective materials, such as titanium, helped establish Gehry as one of the most important architects of his generation and also helped revitalise the city of Bilbao.
The Burj Khalifa by Adrian Smith (2010) – The world’s tallest building at 828 meters, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, was a dramatic departure from traditional skyscraper design with its spire-like shape and unique exterior cladding.
The CCTV Headquarters by Rem Koolhaas (2012) – This headquarters of China Central Television in Beijing is known for its innovative and unconventional design, with a looping, twisting shape that defies traditional architectural norms.
Architecture can also shape our perception of the world around us. It shapes our sense of place and belonging by reflecting the culture and history of a specific community. It significantly impacts how people experience and interact with their surroundings. Good architecture can enhance the quality of life for individuals and communities, while poor architecture can detract from it. It influences humans by creating a sense of place, influencing behaviour, impacting health and well-being, and reflecting cultural values. Overall, architecture can influence our emotions, perceptions, and sense of identity, and that’s why it’s so important to consider the design and planning of spaces.