Building buildings is not Architecture - The Job and Everything that Comes Along with it
July 31, 2021at6:30 PM
by Devayani Bapat
Architecture is a complex discipline. The concept of architecture is often misunderstood. When one thinks of an architect, more often than not, people tend to have this preconceived notion regarding what they do when on the job. A common misconception is that architects only build buildings.
Is architecture merely building buildings? Not at all. There’s so much more that comes along with the job. One needs to look at the bigger picture and understand that architecture is an amalgamation of culture, history, tradition, nature, design, and the creative marriage of technique and economy and not just slapping on some cement on bricks to then make a tall building.
What Truly Encompasses Architecture
1. What is Architecture - the cohesive coming together of culture, climate, terrain, finance, and technology.
2. Who is an Architect? Not just someone who builds buildings, the design options are in fact unlimited.
3. Architecture is vast and entails a lot more than building buildings.
1. What is Architecture?
So what is architecture, one might ask? Architecture is the cohesive coming together of culture, terrain, finance, and technology; to provide a wholesome design to suit the situational requirements of society. As one travels across the world, even across the contiguous United States, one will get to see and experience a variety of different types of textures, designs, and colors. This varies based on everything from the climatic conditions in a particular region to the religious and traditional values that the inhabitants of the area believe in. For instance, if one visits Turkey, the architecture in the country is a visual treat consisting of hues of white, grey, and blue along with domes and conical doorways lining the streets whereas when one visits LA the homes are big and spacious with pools, backyards and a patio with some summer seating which exhibits how homes are tailored to the weather conditions in the area.
2. Who is an Architect?
While culture and tradition play an important role in shaping the way architecture is viewed, discussed, and implemented in a particular village, city, country, or continent; technology and finance plays an equal role in the coming together of infrastructure in a given place. An architect not only puts the design for a space in place but also has to put forth a blueprint that is technically sound. Apart from this, the job of an architect also entails ensuring that plans for spaces are made in accordance with the economical funds available. In short, it is an architect's duty to not only build a building but understand the religious, cultural, financial, technical, and societal needs of a project and create a design that is in sync with the clients' needs, keeping in mind all of the above points mentioned early on.
"Combining local craftsmanship and local materials helps in many different ways as it creates new opportunities. Being true to your culture, true to yourself, while empowering local artisans, has its own benefits, now more than ever." - Olubunmi Adeyemi
Quite often, people believe that an architect knows everything. From how the lights are to be installed to how tiles are to be installed, to ensure a home gets a proper water supply, a client expects an architect to be an electrician, plumber, carpenter, and handyman all in one. This is not true, for the profession comes with a team of workers and is not merely a one-man army leading the show.
3. Architecture is not just building buildings.
Architects do not just make buildings, the designing options are unlimited. Architecture comes with various verticals that range from residential design to commercial design to furniture design, to name a few. If one wants their garden to be beautified, a landscape architect will tell you exactly how to level your uneven land, guide you with the best combinations of plants that are sure to thrive in your garden, and present you with a garden layout that’s sure to keep you happy and smiling.
When one thinks of structures such as the Pyramids of Giza, The Great Wall of China, or The Taj Mahal, each of these monuments were designed, created, and finally stand tall thanks to architecture visionaries who utilized situations to their benefit to create wonders for the world to see, wonders that continue to stand tall today. From planning a city to building a bridge to designing a waterfall, to building a home, an architect's job goes beyond mere construction. It involves the development of an understanding of people, their emotions, their requirements, tastes, and the ability to utilize their skill set to then deliver a culturally, economically, and technically sound end product. While many might laugh at us and say that psychology plays no role in architecture, we believe that architects, in some ways are similar to therapists as they essentially help you build and create a space straight out of your mind, that makes you feel at home and peaceful all at once.
Reducing the skills of an architect to the mere designing of buildings is ignorant. Architects create spaces, social settings, and places that bring joy to people. They can employ their skills in other spheres too! An architect can use different materials such as wood, glass, and cement to build a building, but they can also use the same materials to conceptualize and bring to life murals, artwork, and structures. Architects are creative individuals that use their skills to add color to the world. While one may argue that architecture is nothing but building buildings, commercial or residential for cost-effective prices, we would like to argue by saying with history as our witness, that architecture has always been about developing spaces based on the lifestyles of individuals. If one is to consider the architectural wonder that is the Colosseum, it too was built in Rome to serve the purpose of cementing the roots of the Flavian dynasty in Italy. The monument is a symbol of cultural significance and although in the larger picture can be looked upon as merely the ruins of a building, goes beyond that and was designed by architects to represent cultural and political posterity.
An architect does build buildings, but the job goes way beyond that. Building buildings is just a part of the job, but Architecture is not a form of self-expression, it is in fact a form of art that helps the artist understand the requirements of the client and express the client’s needs and emotions in an interpretative manner. Architects help build societies, and buildings, but mostly help build a lifestyle that flourishes on culture, tradition and psychological happiness of the inhabitants of spaces be it men, women, children, workmen, consumers, or animals.
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