Architecture; More than just Buildings

Architecture; More than just Buildings

Architecture is an art that occupies a unique place in the life of democratic societies. Because procuring land and building in it expensive, most buildings get built because a corporate entity or a financially capable individual commission it. Mostly the private concerns of other citizens do not matter when a building is commissioned. Even if nowadays it is easy to get assistance with school projects from resources like, colleges should emphasize on the importance of not putting financial gain as the major priority when designing a building. Financial advisors and architects have stopped working together to help investors develop structures that benefit the society.

This is a dangerous trend as most of architecture is for public good, the rest will also influence the society in one way or the other as other people would still have to interact with the built structure. What any corporation or individual builds, the others must live with.

How then do we make the structures that we build serve the greater good of the public?

The Late Ada Huxtable, a former architecture critic suggested that we do this by using free and forceful press. Huxtable’s views on architecture was that it was not like other arts like paintings, drama and dances which you can choose whether to see or not. She wanted the world to understand that built environment envelops us all. Everyone is forced to see and experience it. Huxtable was very passionate about the societal imbalance between the wealthy clients, designing architects and the public who were voiceless.

According to the conflict put forward by the Late Ada, the ideal thing is that architects are supposed to create works of art or structures that have lasting value. They must not only serve the interests of the procuring client, but also provide order and elevate the human public conditions literally, mentally and even spiritually. That is what every architect should commit him or herself to, in his/her design career.

Commitment to that architectural mission, in truth, in todays world, may not be enough. Architects must be prepared to do more because most of them have completely turned their backs to social design and focus only on aesthetic design. Architects are no longer visionaries of the society but have narrowed their professions to administrative roles tat lead the society on a diminishing path.

It is high time architects change their perspective.

There is need to develop design diplomacy in the public practice of architecture.

By expanding architectural design from its constrained aesthetic sense and allowing it to incorporate people, society, and quality of life issues, we will be able to transform the paradigm of modern architecture, which focuses on the design of buildings, to influencing the design process and solving societal problems.

The aggressive and adversarial methods of current construction will be transformed into diplomatic, constructive and inclusive processes that will lead to structures that will benefit the client and the society for generations to come.

The realization of architectural design is not just a technical matter, the cultural dimension also plays a big role in it. It is not only because the public are the ones that use buildings that make architecture a social art. Construction includes the architect’s engagement with the client, the community, contractors and other people so as to make the construction possible. Architects who waste all their creativity by designing on paper without engagement undermine the process of architectural design.

By nature, architects are supposed to be constructive, cooperative and creative problem solvers. The key in that sentence being, ‘problem solvers.’ How would they solve problems without interaction and communication to know the problems therein?

We live in a critically interdependent world. All professions and industries overlap, all playing a part in influencing the community and society. Whether an economy will flourish or it will diminish depends on the relationship between all the stakeholders of a society. Every action by every party should take into consideration the effects on the rest of the stakeholders.


Published by Samantha Brown


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