Progressing through my education in Architecture, I am often faced with a lack of appreciation and respect for design from people outside of design careers. It can be considered superficial, on the thought that there are far more important issues in the world than the bricks in a bar or the orientation of a city’s central square.
I understand that as architects, we are not curing diseases, counselling the emotionally disturbed, diminishing famine in the world or other such endeavors. We have the capabilities to help in the solving of these complex issues, however, through providing infrastructure and innovating form and material that is sustainable and useful in many of these fields. We coexist with the doctors, scientists, educators and all other members of society to form the whole. Design is a portion – an integral one – of how the world works.
I also understand that this point of view of disregard for design is held by people who have never given a thought to design’s true capabilities, and its’ role in their own lives. Architects design houses, not societies, not solutions to global dilemmas or environmental stress. Design is simply the store’s colour of lighting, not the very thing that dictates how I act or feel in a space or how communities interact.
With time, I am learning. Learning what the role of an architect can be in society, and the integral nature of design in any other field one could imagine.
Cities cannot thrive without the infrastructure and careful city planning of designers. Healthcare cannot flourish without architecture, infrastructure and spatial planning. Communities grow and interact around the spaces they are in and the spaces in their proximity. The environment cannot be protected without careful consideration of architectural materials, waste and design. Education is vastly impacted by the surroundings and accessible spaces of pupils. Defense thrives off architecturally engineered materials and facilities. The industries of film making, gaming and media use architecture as an integral platform for their work. Technology is architecture, and architecture is technology. Architecture is integral to the solutions for homelessness, species extinctions, conservation, disaster relief. It is integral to every part of society. A small bar’s material choice and situation can influence how people think and behave, a room can be therapeutic or cause mental chaos, and mass housing design can give homes to thousands. The scale of architecture’s impact in different parts of the world ranges from minuscule to tremendous.
Architecture is everything. Every building, and every empty space. The architecture of every city, and the architecture of coral reefs under the ocean – organisms and entire ecosystems revolve around it. Design is the foundation for life.
In the Shots of Awe episode above, Jason Silva introduces the psychological importance of spaces we are within, their effect on human subjectivity, and the overall role of an architect as the designer of cities ‘in which we unfold’. It’s a start. It’s a child’s fingers dabbling in the ocean; starting to consider the role of architects and designers as something significant. What I would like to delve into is something greater. Slowly, I am figuring out the intentions I have for this blog.
I will be posting more regularly in the future and expanding on not only my experiences with design and my own musings, but thoughts, research and links that will expand on the aspects of design discussed in this post. The potential for architecture is vast and endless, and I intend to explore it, write on it, and use it to inform my own work but also my readers’ perspectives of the built world around them.
A thought on design: it matters.