Architecture is the art and science of designing buildings and has always played a key role in the perceptions of people with its design, spaces, forms and built environment. It is an impactful element in the societal fabric of life, meaningfully providing a safe space for people to dwell. Very often, the architecture of a building has left many awestruck with its marvel in design, or the magnificence of its visual impact like that of the Heydar Aliyev Center, with its free flowing form creating a beautiful experience for a visitor. 

There are two distinctive factors of a design that are interconnected to each other and play a key role in the successful design of any space – They are the form and function of a design. Form is the element of design that symbolises the visual identity, and artistic element of the building and the functional element represents the requirements and practical necessities of the space. Both form and function have always been intertwined with each other, as they both interplay in creating a beautiful design narrative.

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Hyedar Aliyev Centre _ _©

Form & Function- The Quest For Balance

In the earlier times, Architecture was only about function and not anything else. People needed a roof over their heads to keep off the animals, heat, dust, rain and other climatic barriers of daily life. This simple concept of having a shelter for protection thrived throughout the early civilisations of human beings. The designs were never complicated, they served only one purpose and that was to dwell and protect the inhabitants of the space. If this purpose was fulfilled, it was considered a great design. It is safe to think that the Early Homo Sapiens never would have thought if they wanted to live in a minimalistic setup, or maybe a gothic designed dwelling. This contemplation would have not been a part of their thinking style. They only needed a place to eat, and sleep without being worn off by the climate or worse becoming a meal to the animals around.

With time as society progressed, People started to develop a need to look at the aesthetics of a design. So far, Structural stability has been the only concern and now there is a call for Eye-pleasing design and form. This shift brought a question that architects are still concerned about, The question being – “What is the level at which form can have an influence on the function and Vice Versa”. This question has led to varied outcomes, and opinions from different architects, everyone having their unique perception about the same. 

The Interplay of Form and Function Exploring Artistic Elements in Architectural Design-Sheet2

Artistic Forms – Novel, Quirk & Funk

Most of the time, Architects generate a form and then design upon it the requirements of the space. In certain situations sometimes form has overtaken and outshone the actual identity of a space. The Guggenheim Museum in Spain Bilbao is also a great example of a splendid form with titanium curves and angles, but visitors often get lost in its spaces. The form as such is a design marvel, and viewing it as a whole is a sight to behold, yet the functional aspects of the navigation should have been given more consideration as much as the form.

Some designs are also extremely bizarre in the name of symbolism, with exact replicas of certain elements of nature like the fish building. This kind of symbolism serves no purpose and only makes it look like no thought has been given to the design and functional aspects.

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Guggenheim Museum_©

Function First –  Requirement & Utilisation

When it comes to design, function and utility are the foremost aspects that have to be well thought off. Function plays a key role in the compilation of a design narrative.They are buildings that will serve a purpose and be able to fulfil the utilitarian aspects of the requirements, but won’t be considered deserving participants of a beauty contest. 

For some picture in this narrative, one can think of Brutalist architecture and its nature of remaining raw and true to the nature of the materials without any form of adornment or ornamentation. For some, it’s a form of symbolism and metaphor of the raw nature of life, but most would assume it to be simply plain and boring. These designs might be appropriate for spaces like parking, government offices etc. But would anyone consider them as options for a wedding venue or a boutique resort? An easy guess would be on the negative side.

Form & Function Go Hand-In-Hand

As of now it is understood, the relevance of form and function individualistically. But the real magic occurs only when the designers strive to achieve a perfect blend and balance of form and function, where you get breathtaking structures and perfect design usability. 

For Example, The Sydney Opera House is a grandeur display of design form and a functional and usable performance space. The aesthetics and built form of the place attract visitors and the functional ease and usability make them want to come back, making both the aspects  into a win-win situation.

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Sydney Opera House_©

Significance of Architectural Design Forms And Their Evolving Nature

Exactly when did all of this begin to matter? Why would anyone care whether a building has a beautiful form or is usable enough? This is because designs can enhance and improve our experiences while influencing our emotions. A well-designed building can inspire people and foster a community of productivity and development. It can transform simple structures into historical pieces of art and make them landmarks for the region, making people want to experience it.

Design also plays a key role in sustainability impacting our future. Architects should prioritise both form and function based on the needs, and design ecologically friendly buildings that are also energy efficient while also being useful and functional. This blend and balance would help create a harmonious relationship between the planet and humanity.



Fariya is a budding Designer & Writer wanting to create an impact in the Architectural Writing Landscape. She is a Poet herself, and is passionate about history, traveling and teaching.