Architecture changes perspectives and views of life. She never knew how much until she heard them talking.

Her name was Edna. A student of Architecture in the early 2000s. She was a look of pure wonder and astonishment as she stepped into the halls of Archipit, in the Architecture department of one of the prestigious universities in her country.

Life was pure and simple; full of naivety and undiluted confidence in her drawing skills from her Technical drawing class in high school, she made her way to her class. She barely had a chance to adjust to the realities of the course when she was swept off her feet by the sleepless night after sleepless night that was required to pass the course.

Her confidence shattered and she painfully admitted to herself in the quietness of her hostel, as she pondered on the saying, “Truly, truly, the crunchy sound and the taste of the bitter kola, as one chews on it, are not the same”.

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Burj Khalifa. _©

The sweet tales of Architecture as just a field of 2Bs and 3H pencil points soon fizzle away as she struggles to face the daunting task ahead. She scurried and sort to catch up with her mates whilst failing a few courses. As the student years rolled by, she got a grip, and her perception of life evolved with it.

With practice and constant exposure to drawing and design, her confidence in her skills grew again. This began during her internship with an Architectural company. Architecture became more than sitting down to draw or design a building; Architecture came to life as she began seeing it in every area of life.

As she grew older, Architecture showed her the power of design; not just of the building, but as a tool for creating solutions to human needs. She stares at towering, magnificent skyscrapers, and while the general public is oohing and aahing, her mind dismembers the various parts of the building and works to understand why the designer choose this material and not the other, why they chose that shape and not this shape, why that colour and not the generally accepted one.

Architecture became a living being to her, something one conceives and birth, a machine of some sort, different machines, not coupled, just parts of it, complete parts of it, waiting to be discovered and coupled; to render a solution to a given need.

She admits that another way Architecture changed her perspective was in the area of context and its application. Take, for instance, lessons learned from the study of the history of Architecture, the symbol of utilitas (useful, functional) and firmitas (durable, of good quality), of the need to maintain esthete (beauty, aesthetically pleasing), in pursuit of a design.

Architecture was and has always been an art but it’s also a functional art. The functional part of it gave rise to Architecture being more than just a space. Her perception of Architecture gave her the power to manipulate and create beautiful and inspiring spaces; how she turns a line into a square, a square into a form, a form for humanitarian use.

She has each design responding to its immediate environment; from the shape/form it takes, to the needs it fulfills, from the climate conditions of the weather to the culture and traditions of the people that will use it; each building design responding to the era in which it was designed in.

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Burj Al Arab. _©

Buildings such as the popular Burj Al Arab responded to the culture of the people by following the symbol of a yacht. It responds to the modern era in its furnishings, and it responds to the climatic conditions of its environment, utilizing curvilinear shapes, shapes that help it brace, absorb and dispel windy conditions.

Architecture also changed her perspective by improving her critical thinking ability. She doesn’t look at a bottle design as just there. She studies why a bottle takes a circular shape to fit into the human hand and why a square-shaped bottle is uncomfortable. Why the undulating designs on a bottle makes for a firm grip. Why a circular object sports a stud by its side to keep it from rolling off. Why our palms shrink after having been inside water for a long time, if not to create friction to help in gripping anything in the event of danger.

Every design idea solves a problem (utilitas), should be pleasing to the eyes (esthete) and should stand the test of time (firmitas).

As she went on learning more about the social and environmental implications of the built environment, she also says that Architecture changed her perspective by showing her the impact she could make by sharing her knowledge with the public through writing. She began to share how good Architecture makes for the preservation of natural vegetation, how good building material choices could improve the quality of life, making for an aesthetically pleasing environment, and how bad architecture lowers the quality of life and in extreme cases, could lead to death.

She deemed it worthy of note, stating that she is proud to have studied Architecture, as it is said to be one of the few life endeavors that have successfully fulfilled the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development goals as written in the Architecture Guide to the UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals and compiled by UIA-Architectes.

Sustainable Development goals. _©

So while she visited her alma mater and strolled along the corridors of a place she once thought she would never leave, she heard them talking, this lecturer, said thus to his students, “Edna, is one of the finest Architects we have ever trained. Her perception, details, and approach to life are things you all should study. While she visits, do your best to apply what she says to you concerning this study”.

Edna smiled and walked past the classroom.


Ebelechukwu Ubaka is an Architect and a Writer with a zest for creating healthier and happier lives through Architecture solutions. She shares her views and opinions about Architecture and Architectural practice in Nigeria. She is on a mission to educate clients about how architects play a major role in their lives and how they can take advantage of such services.