Even before joining architecture school, the word ‘perspective’ starts gaining importance in the life of an aspiring architect; as playful as it might get, one starts drawing the regular cityscapes and interior spaces from an absurd point of view – imagine you are an ant sitting on a pizza box inside a refrigerator, a fly on a wall of a theater, a bird in a city full of skyscrapers, draw what you see? These questions try to get us to look at the world and also our immediate surroundings in a more detailed manner – we start noticing the textures, the patterns, the scale and the proportion and, in a way, start appreciating the marvel that the built/unbuilt environment is.

Third eye for detail  

After joining the school, the word ’ perspective ’ rises from the quite literal one into a multi-faceted notion that asks us to dive deeper into this age-old, constantly evolving, fast-paced sector, and there one undergoes the precarious process of learning and unlearning, and in the journey with lots of moments of gaining and losing perspectives, one finds a unique or different lens to look at the everyday spaces. The outlook that one might gain is sometimes completely distinct from what a non-architect may ever see, this may seem like before we were merely moving or existing in the spaces, but after the knowledge of architecture that is instilled in us, the same space may then seem to be experienced through all the five senses, breathing in the spirit and fondling with the aura of the existence of the built form. On a lighter note, your eyes start noticing things that were always there but somehow escaped your gaze before, like you suddenly get anxious pangs if you see a wallpaper unaligned to the wall or the wall finish is not up to the standard. 

As Eileen Gray rightly said, “To create, one must first question everything.”. In the process we understand the vast possibilities that come along with the plethora of expanse of architecture, it might range from designing a simple door handle in the first place to make the access to a certain place more inclusive to designing a skyscraper to withstand earthquakes. Hence learning more about it always seems to expand the horizons and can even pique interest in the most basic spaces which pose to be blank slates waiting to accommodate a masterpiece. Studying architecture develops the ability to understand and analyse structures using criteria other than those that are simply ornamental. It leads us to think about the origin of the form, and shape, question the material palette and at times usher us to delve into the psyche of the architect who designed the space with a specific motive like the Jewish Museum designed by architect Daniel Libeskind. Visitors are taken on an emotional trip by Libeskind through the use of light, shadows, vacuum, and volume.

Any non-architect may just marvel at the perfect setting in which the building, The ribbon chappel has been placed. The site is midway on a hill enjoying a panoramic view of the Inland Sea of Japan . An architect might notice the technological thinking behind entwining two spiral stairways rather than one along with the metaphorical thought that a wedding consists of two souls entwining into one that the architect wanted to portray by making this chapel in this form.

From another point of view - Fuelled by the knowledge of Architecture - Sheet1
Ribbon Chapel / Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP_©Koji Fujii / Nacasa & Partners Inc

The traveler inside has risen  

There has been a shift in the perspective concerning the medium of photography and travel. Many architects love to travel, and that can be for many reasons but the one reason that I find most relevant is the desire to see different styles of architecture in varying contexts. It acts as a breeze of fresh air in the life of an architect and is more than just an experience; it is more like understanding the transition of spaces: how one space segues into the other. 

From another point of view - Fuelled by the knowledge of Architecture - Sheet2
Street in Strasbourg, typical European street setting with emphasis on pedestrians and cyclists_©Author (Janhavi Patil)

Architecture and sensitivity  

The spaces can engage with our emotions and senses and this can sometimes be altered to accommodate the sensitivities that some people might have, like the members of the autistic community might feel at ease when they are not bombarded with many details or the colour palette is soothing. The sheer ability to think about the user exquisitely before designing a space and to know the effects that one space might have on people is one of the triumphs of architectural education. The power an architect has is immense and the right use of it will result in making the life of its users easy. After grasping the very essence of architecture which has a very basic demand to make any place memorable and spaces that people can identify with, and in doing so, how the situation is approached by the architect many times with an open mind, you are taught to deal with any problem by putting forth the users and their needs along with the context and other factors like local climate, technology, trends this results in a humane approach to all the problems. The design need not be complicated to be applauded but a simple design can be well remembered if achieved with utmost sincerity.

In inclusive elementary school in Tel Aviv, the flexibility in the design of the spaces promotes equality amongst the differently-abled children, thus supporting the inclusive philosophy of the organization_© https://shanihay.com/public-spaces/469

After all, “Architecture starts where you carefully put two bricks together. There it begins” – Ludwig Mies van der rohe. This holds when we start making sense of the spaces around us by experiencing them and then through our design when we try to present them wholly. 

References:

  1. https://www.dezeen.com/2020/04/03/the-first-inclusive-school-tel-aviv-sarit-shani-hay-studio/
  2. https://www.archdaily.com/594947/ribbon-chapel-nap-architects
  3. https://www.re-thinkingthefuture.com/article/travel-and-architecture-by-shreyoshi-das-gupta/
Author

Janhavi is an architect, who believes in seeing the world more than speaking about it. She's keen and observant and invested in the little things that make up the bigger picture. She believes that there are always other perceptions that need to be appreciated and literature in architecture is a crucial tool to realise another point of view.

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