Importance of Architecture in Everyday Life

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‘Architecture provides spaces, the vocabulary to communicate with us by making us feel.’ As they say, “without architecture of our own, we have no soul of our civilization.” Throughout history, the importance of architecture has faced contradicting views among philosophers, designers, architects, engineers, builders and end-users. Architecture is meant to provide us shelter, comfort, and safety.

Architecture is an interdisciplinary subject. It faces the continual challenge to find the balance between the knowledge it gains from different subjects that need to be incorporated into the process of design and the idea of creating something new or providing for the community at large.

Before knowing the importance, let’s first understand what is architecture design? It is a concept that focuses on components or elements of a structure.

Now, let’s take a deep dive and know about why is architecture important and what is the purpose of architecture through this blog:

Architecture – In Relation To Man

Daily architecture influences us in some or the other way. We are surrounded by architecture in every aspect of our lives, right from living in our homes to visiting beautiful cafes or restaurants or going to work at our office or visiting monuments during vacations. Architecture encompasses a wide array of experiences that it provides us with and guides us through life, without us even realizing how dependent we are on it. Daily architecture influences us in some or the other way.

Architecture in relation to Man
Architecture in Relation to Man & Places he Visits Usually

As the renowned architect Zaha Hadid says, “I don’t think that architecture is only about shelter, is only about a very simple enclosure. It should be able to excite you, to calm you, to make you think. ” Architecture bestows the spaces with a sense of how it demands to be used by giving them a certain character. Often, the underlying principles used while designing a building guide the movement of the user through it.

For example: While a strong axis leads the user towards the structure in a linear manner as seen in the Taj Mahal, Salk Institute, or the Eiffel Tower, a certain rhythm is established due to the repetition of columns that end in arches in a seamless symmetry in the Karla Caves. To guide you with this, we have a detailed blog on how symmetry and rhythm has its importance in architecture:

Even in our own homes, we move through spaces in a certain way as the basic planning and organization of spaces guide us.

Rhythm followed in different Architectural places
A certain rhythm followed in different Architectural places

We suddenly feel the need to be disciplined or composed in a temple and instantly beat ease in our own homes.

Interior view of Temple
Interior view of Temple following a certain rhythm due to the repetition of columns

We feel mesmerized by the beauty of iconic buildings and crave to travel to different places in pursuit of finding new experiences. Humans need change. Architecture breaks the monotony of everyday life by creating spaces that invoke emotions or stir memories. Imagine if each space was meant to be used in the same manner, would we be able to realize the beauty of difference?

Here, it is also important to put a shadow on what is good architecture, which can only be defined by talking about the making of it. For long periods in history, architecture has been reformed and molded owing to the various styles and purposes that it has been obliged to serve- be it the classical era or the Gothic era, the Renaissance or the Baroque times, or Art Nouveau and Modernism. Each stylistic movement changed the way man responded to architecture and the built environment. It made us realize how there is beauty in repetition as much as there is in change.

A building that may seem beautiful and mesmerizing to one due to its simplicity and minimalist design, may seem dull and unappealing to another. A building that may be beautifully designed as a piece of art may fail in functioning well for its inhabitants. It would only respond to people who see it from far or visit it by visually appealing to them but not residing in it- as was the case of Villa Savoye designed by Le Corbusier.

Front View of Villa Savoye
Front View of Villa Savoye

Although they say that the architectural design of Villa Savoye has greatly influenced modern architecture, it has got a darker side that only few have heard about. After it was completed, the family did not feel the comfort that the country house should have provided them. The house experienced roof leaks and poor heating systems due to which the house remained moist and cold. It also suffered substantial heat loss due to large glazing.

Architecture- in Relation To the Context

Have you ever been able to observe a building or a space in isolation? What would your home look like if it was surrounded by nothing else but vast farmlands and fields? Imagine the house, “Fallingwater” designed by Frank Lloyd Wright or the “Kandalama Hotel” designed by the famous architect of Tropical Modernism, Geoffrey Bawa, without the surrounding context in which they have been designed? Would they have the same impact as they do right now?

Fallingwater
“Fallingwater” designed by Frank Lloyd Wright
Kandalama Hotel
“Kandalama Hotel” designed by the famous architect of Tropical Modernism, Geoffrey Bawa

Have you ever realized how quickly, but unknowingly you tend to associate architecture with its context? The moment you think about the place, an image of something very peculiar about that place comes to mind. We tend to relate the spaces we have visited or long to visit by associating them with memories of an image that we have in mind. The image consists not only of a building in isolation unless it’s an iconic monument that gives the place identity, but we think of the urban fabric in which the building is located as well.

For example – Paris reminds us of the quaint cafes and beautiful streets, New York brings to mind the avenues lined with skyscrapers, Santorini’s blue and white houses come to mind when you think of Greece, a characteristic feature of Goan architecture are the colorful facades and Mumbai reminds us of the contrasting urban fabric of chawls versus the high rise buildings that make its evident skyline.

This is aptly paraphrased by Paul Goldberger, Anatole France’s definition of a critic’s work, ‘The greatest joy of Architecture is in the discovery of its ability at least sometimes to be Art.’

Impact of the Built Environment – Ordinary vs. Extraordinary Architecture

Architecture is not limited to the bounds of four walls, doors, windows of a residence or an office; it extends beyond the spaces we use in everyday lives. It connects us to other places that make a part of the urban tapestry, interlinks cities through a well-designed network of roads, it provides us with spaces to work, eat, gather, relax, contemplate, and many other activities that we do in our daily lives which cannot possibly happen within the confines of our homes.

Architecture acts as a catalyst for building communities, uplifting lifestyles, inculcating cultures, and creating spaces that improve the overall development of the cities we reside in.

Winston Churchill once said, ‘We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us’. From this remark, it is realized how often, we feel the need to stay in places which we can most relate to. But on the contrary, John Ruskin, a philosopher, writer of the Victorian era, after an exhaustive study of the buildings of Venice, noted that very few people were actually at all affected by the city’s urban fabric, which is one of the most beautiful urban tapestries in the world.

Buildings of Venice
Buildings of Venice – city’s urban fabric – one of the most beautiful urban tapestries in the world

One of the many challenges of architecture is to find the right balance between how the building makes us feel versus how it impacts the larger context in which it is set. While ordinary architecture or the architecture of everyday lives is often left unacknowledged, it is also what helps us sustain and makes our life better without asking for much attention, so it’s easier to take it for granted. At the same time, extraordinary architecture or masterpieces are the ones that create experiences that we haven’t had before because their creators were risk-takers and passionate designers who pushed the boundaries of making their imagination a reality.

Architecture- As an Emotion

From many instances in the past, we have often heard architects talk about how architecture is much more than a building- be it Pritzker prize-winning architect BV Doshi who mentioned, “Architecture is not really the design, but a way of creating moods, situations, images and stories” or Geoffrey Bawa who stated, “Architecture cannot be explained, it can only be experienced” or John Ruskin who states: “We seek two things of our buildings. We want them to shelter us. And we want them to speak to us – of whatever we find important and need to be reminded of.”  

Architecture guides us, mesmerizes us, and reminds us of the need to observe our surrounding environment. Architecture, as an emotion, has the power to trigger memories of a distant past or create vivid imaginations for a better future.

Architecture is the language of spaces – all we need to do is sit and carefully listen to their whispers as it is by listening to them that we lead our lives – consciously and subconsciously. Hence, the architecture meaning and importance has been thoroughly summarized through this article.

I hope our blog on the importance of architecture in everyday lives has opened a different perspective of architecture in your dictionary. Similarly we have another article on the same niche which will also open a new perspective on:

Influence and Importance of Architecture in Building Design!

Now that you have known the importance of architecture, do you not want to explore various Architecture Trends? If yes, then we have a link below for you:

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Author Bio

Shaymi Shah – Shaymi Shah is a freelance architect by profession and a creative writer by passion. She was not a born writer but a cultivated one. Fascinated with her everyday world, she started writing insights on her daily observations, goaded by her own experiences. Time and again, she has attempted to find meaning in the simpler things, to find the beauty in the ordinary through her writing. Today, through a lot of practice, she has successfully imbibed in herself the skill of weaving stories- stories that one can easily lose themselves in. She believes that life is as natural as anything gets and there’s no way of really writing about it aptly with utmost detail- one just has to experience it and live in the moments.

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