Architecture ofttimes goes unobserved, almost behaving as an unobtrusive mise-en-scène of everyday activities serving a designated purpose for its actors. Subsequently, its onlookers overpass the meticulous network of finicky details used to design the totality of these spaces for an effortless and efficient routine, utilising the power of architecture’s coherence on a myriad of scales—from products and furniture to walls and fenestrations—that programs the eventual urban fabric of a region. B. V. Doshi once said, ‘The more you miniaturise, the more expansive you become.‘ Thus and so, changing one’s perspective on the definition of architecture is simply appreciating and analysing the dynamic shaping of a city patiently and statically, one brick at a time.

In that context, the following notes conjure up architectural terminologies to retrospect on and embrace their influence on an architect’s perspective.

From Locations to Sites and Contexts

Each physical manifestation is grounded on a location and—nowadays—an address-the primary symbol of recognition for any space. Beyond these layperson’s terms, every architect is additionally concerned with the politics of the to-be-designed site and its dialogue with the surroundings, which generates a new identity for the same space by either boldly standing out or elegantly fitting in. For instance, the design of Fallingwater House by Frank Lloyd Wright resonates with the surrounding forest by seemingly floating over the natural stream on site, anchored visibly only with quarried sandstone to integrate the riverbed strata with the building’s construction. Therefore, a building’s identity is not appraised solely in isolation but rather in response to the collective fabric and the design’s negotiations with the surrounding geography, history, topography, culture, environment, and economy-diversifying one’s perspective—firstly—on the context within the broader definition of architecture.

Dexterity to Devour Design - Sheet1
The Fallingwater House as a Piece of Nature_©H_Mark Weidman Photography

From Buildings to Space, Form, and Function

Miniaturising from a collective to a unit, we come across the building and its inseparable relationship between solid and void, between form and space that configure its function. The three-dimensional shape of the building defines the volume inside and around it through structural elements, materials, light-play, and proportions to design a unique and harmonious interplay between form and space. In addition to the functionality of a building and the elegant servitude of its purpose, the visual delight of form and space reflects architecture’s acumen and splendour. Mies van der Rohe‘s neoteric and minimalist design form for a skyscraper, the Seagram Building in New York, earned a celebrated status due to the unconventional 100 feet setback from the street, providing a grand space in front for a generous open plaza, successfully morphing the generic skyscraper’s alliance between space, form, and functionality. The pastiche of such architecture and its resolution of space has since been perceptively aggrandised sometimes and often partly diminished, issuing the age-old perturbation on form versus function.

Dexterity to Devour Design - Sheet2
The Grand Plaza of the Seagram Building_©Ken OHYAMA from FUNABASHI, Japan

From Drawings to Architectural Representation

Through all this, the language of architecture has remained consistent with technique adaptations—from hand-traced drawings to photochemical blueprint production and digital drawing software today—essentially producing plans, elevations, and sections forming the syntax of communication among architects, clients, and builders. Every architectural design journeys from conceptual sketches to on-site documentation, perceiving the structure in totality through this form of representation. The magnificence of the masterpiece of Gothic architecture—the 128 m-long Notre Dame Cathedral in France—is difficult to rationalise at first glance without studying the drawings, giving an additional dimension to the sense of sight. The inconceivable proportions of structural resolution for this massive cathedral with flying buttresses, vaults, and supporting piers achieved soaring heights while allowing the walls to be non-structural to proffer ample space for the wonderous stained glass interiors, intuitively calculated by masons through elementary drawings in the 12th century. In resonance with any other language, the cognitive ability to learn architectural representation as a structured system of understandable illustrations (with significant variations over time) has helped encode and decode the perspective of design intentions thoroughly for aeons.

Dexterity to Devour Design - Sheet3
The magnificence of the Notre Dame Cathedral_©Ali Sabbagh

From People to Public Spaces

The patrons of architecture are always the people. Thus, remaining heedful of people’s social concerns and communal necessities while designing ensures neighbourhood revival, forming a network of public spaces amidst the urban gaps. The abundance of public space fosters familiarity amongst the streetscape and becomes a cardinal and distinctive part of its culture, providing hospitality, character, diversity, and festivity for its people. The exemplar of such community-based architecture with joint-family homes is the Pol of Old Ahmedabad and its dense clusters with ample public spaces for daily activities. The central courtyard inside each house for collecting rainwater acts as a space for habitual family interactions, the adjoined terraces in a cluster are utilised pragmatically and playfully for drying grains, clothes, and flying kites, and the otla—or the entrance porch—in front of every house marks the transition from the pol (street) to house and becomes an informal gathering space for groups. A designed public space is deemed successful through the perspective of its organic curation, encouraging adaptation and variation while generating a sense of belonging among the people.

The Interiors of a Pol House_©Tom Parker

Apprehension of the site and its contextual affairs, the romance of space, form, and function, the dialect of representation, and the public’s social causes befitting society in the furtherance of design elevates one’s standings on the meaning of architecture by being fittingly aware in this constantly-evolving modern society. These notes introspect on how one augments their critical thinking abilities towards approaching architecture and learns to generate alternative perspectives of devouring and digesting a design project in its entirety.


  1. Relationship of form and space (2023) Archi-Monarch. Archi-Monarch. Available at:,%2C%20materials%2C%20colours%20and%20textures. 
  2. Perez, A. (2010) Ad classics: Seagram building / Mies van der Rohe, ArchDaily. ArchDaily. Available at:
  3. Mccarter, R. (no date) Fallingwater House. Architecture History. Available at:,%20Fallingwater%20House,%20PENNSYLVANIA,%20UNITED%20STATES.html.
  4. Context (no date) Context – Designing Buildings. Available at:
  5. Context (no date) Context – Designing Buildings. Available at:
  6. Design Everest (2023) What do architectural drawings usually contain?, Design Everest. Available at:
  7. Language (2023) Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Available at:
  8. Gattupalli, A. (2023) Architecture as celebration: The Philosophies of B.V. Doshi, ArchDaily. ArchDaily. Available at:
  9. Gangwar, G. and Kaur, P. (1970) Traditional Pol houses of Ahmedabad: An overview, Civil engineering and architecture. Available at: