Architecture is a field that creates an open-minded perspective through our daily lives because even while becoming an architecture student, learning by seeing provides perception for figuring our design principles and conceptualized projects. During an education, students can have a wide range of perception with technical requirements and going on a path of designing with basic design principles. However, what is critical for architecture is that architectural perception is not only provided by technical information gained from school but public spaces can also enlarge seeing and experiencing in spaces.

Architectural Perception in Daily Life

Architectural perception is present in every stage of an architect’s daily life because of the way of thinking and the reason can be the profession of architecture strongly connects with our immediate surroundings; at home, at the shopping mall, library, or in a hotel, etc. In a world without the architectural profession, people thought architecture is only based on using vertical and horizontal construction systems; walls, doors, windows, and slabs. However, once people started in the phase of looking in perceiving architectural aesthetics with such as Frank Gehry’s use of contrasting elements in the style of deconstructivism, architecture becomes more meaningful and essential. It can be differentiated into two perceptions: post-modern belief in the deconstructivist style of architects who use symbolism to conceptualizing projects and contemporary view for especially philosophers who design and experience space without needing stories and symbolism. For this reason, a professional look is creating a different perception in terms of conceptualization.

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Spatial Perception and Architecture_©

Public Spaces as a Reference for Architectural Perception

While starting to be a student of architecture, the first stage of an architectural perception provides a detailed and experiential view. We have been through hard times and have had limitations on travelling because of the pandemic so that every day the world becomes more digital, technologic and the way people observe the space also changed. Public spaces are especially closely related to the environment and becoming a focal point for all people. Furthermore, Winston Churchill’s quotation briefly explains this equal correlation: “We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.” (Winston Churchill) For this reason, to support academic knowledge, gaining an experiential look at our surroundings is critical for architectural perception. 

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Winston Churchill Quote_©

To strengthen the perception with the architectural manner in terms of the way of looking and observing, the significant approach can be spending time in social and interactive spaces because public spaces have more architectural elements, interactive layout with innovative solutions, and spatial relations instead of our comfort zone, houses. This can be because of the change of density per house and the public spaces. The difference can be identified with three terms: the dwelling level, the street level, and the city level in terms of privacy, openness, and density. The dwelling level can be houses with limited surroundings with familiar belongings. However, the street level has more complex and high-density characteristics with integrated urban neighborhood and spaces are with various community areas such as restaurants, bars, and exhibitions, etc. The third one the city level is the densest area such as parks, pavilions, etc. These phases of architectural spaces create a strong perspective with an experiential look of space and especially in high-density areas such as public spaces enlarge the view of architectural perception.

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ZTUDIO / MFRMGR _©Grzegorz Sztybel_Archdaily
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Superblock of Sant Antoni / Leku Studio Image_©Del Rio Bani_Archdaily

Architectural Perception Experience: Exhibitions and Biennials

Public spaces such as exhibition areas are significant places to observe the architectural elements. I also experienced the initial look for an architectural building with a biennial exhibition which is held by İstanbul Design Biennial in 2018 in a concept of ‘A School of Schools’ in Yapı Kredi Culture and Arts Building(YKKS). The building has an emphasis on its experiential space starting with the window façade, encapsulating the inner space and public outer space. In the entrance, the stairs are creating a pathway through the inner core of the building; exhibition, and library. The layout of the building creates a strong relationship between the high-density axis of İstiklal Street and creates attention with its famous sculpture by İlhan Koman: Mediterranean Sculpture. Especially exhibition areas which have hybrid facilities create a multi-disciplinary attitude of a space; Yapı Kredi Culture and Arts Building has also a concept of inner core building with the essential information which we gained from books and the surrounding is supported by the perception with art and design. This look can be a brief explanation of architectural perception of finding symbolism and meaning in space.     

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YapıKredi Culture and Arts Building_©


In conclusion, gaining an architectural perception can be challenging but the most intriguing part of having an architectural perception is the ability to combine different aesthetic disciplines. In biennials, we can make this contribution with a background of artistic look with experiential spaces, different conceptual statistical data, or an analysis of a curator made of a statue for exhibiting. These elements help people’s architectural perception in the exhibition, stimulate interactivity, increase the spatial experience, and the conceptual background of a biennial can be significant information for the observer; ‘A School of Schools’ was a concept of combining various disciplines coming together and create communication from unique perspectives. Therefore, public spaces such as exhibition areas can increase architectural perception, and biennials are powerful events to form a community hub.


  1. Cao, L., 2021. The Evolution of Shared Space: Privacy vs. Openness in an Increasingly Dense Architecture. [online] ArchDaily. Available at: <> [Accessed 6 May 2021].
  2. Medium. 2021. Spatial Perception and Architecture. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 6 May 2021].
  3. Metal Yapı Eng & Const, 2021. Yapı Kredi Culture and Arts Building. [image] Available at: <> [Accessed 5 May 2021].
  4. Teget Architectural Office, 2021. YKKS- Yapı Kredi Culture and Arts. [image] Available at: <> [Accessed 5 May 2021].

Betül Özlem Yılmaz is a 4th year interior architecture student and passionate researcher for different topics which is related to architecture and design. She is interested in reading, writing and conceptualizing the projects for creating unique perspective. Her aim is to combine different disciplines in her writings.