Architecture has a profound impact on our lives. From shaping our health to mood to productivity, the design and layout of the built space we occupy, whether it’s our home or workplace, plays a huge role. Good architecture combines both art and science and draws elements from the diverse domains of occupant psychology, economics and politics of the region, sociology and a lot more.
A good architect should be able to relate to the emotional reactions that built spaces trigger among the occupants, since these feelings can’t really be quantified. It’s a process of constant learning of human emotions and deep research into the human psyche that can conjure elements to create a successful design.
“Architecture is a tool that moves life around us, which directly or indirectly impacts the way we react, the way we live and our well-being,” observes veteran architect Vinoo Chadha.
What are the different ways that architecture impacts our lives?
While architecture has a massive impact on society and the environment in general, it also has the power to affect us psychologically, impacting each individual in a unique way. Here are a few of the many ways we are influenced by architectural language:
# Our perception of spaces: We all perceive spaces in our own ways, and this perception is shaped by demographics, period, cultural nuances and a host of other factors. The power of architecture plays with our emotions as we react to built spaces very differently at a micro level. At a macro level, the architect’s endeavour would always be to design in sync with the environment.
# It affects our health, mood and productivity: Yes, architecture has the power to do all this. A sensitively designed space can elevate our mood and enrich us with a sense of well-being by eloquently relating to the environment. A space designed for abundant natural light and exuding a sense of openness, aesthetics and freedom can surely lift your mood and subsequently, improve productivity.
# Impacts community development: The impact of good design is reflected positively at the community level as well. Imaginatively designed built spaces can serve the purpose of connecting people and nurturing a sense of community bonding and togetherness. This can go a long way in determining the quality of life in societies and communities.
# Impacts technology, energy and environment: At a time when cutting-edge technology and digitalization have been re-shaping every industry, architecture has been adapting to this digital and build-tech revolution adroitly and at multiple levels. The marriage of design with modern technology has resulted in cutting down on energy consumption and manpower requirement, reducing carbon footprint and thus helping take built spaces into a sustainable future.
Some of the revolutionary technologies currently being utilized by the architects’ fraternity include biodegradable building materials, solar panels, prefab modules, smart digital controls, water-efficient tech, etc.
# Can help social causes: Architecture also has the power to alleviate the miseries of underprivileged people, climate-change and war refugees and those facing social injustice of various forms and lack access to basic needs like food, water and sanitation. Good architecture can design sensitive shelters to bring communities together and minimize their hardships in many ways.
# Help combat climate change: The ravages of climate change are impacting lives around the world like never before, often putting a huge premium on the basic need for shelter. The need for shelter can be used to counter the devastating effects of global warming, forest fires and flash floods. More and more green buildings are the need of the hour, since they use fewer natural resources and consume less energy which can go to the national grids.
# Socio-cultural impact: People around the world in different geographies have different socio-cultural beliefs. Stellar architecture has the power to bring people of different cultural ethos together, while providing them with a shared space to emote, celebrate or pray.
# Can promote social interaction: Carefully designed built environments like city centres, gardens and plazas, hotels and parks and entertainment hubs can promote social interaction and forge powerful partnerships and inter-cultural relations. # Help combat natural disasters: While we are helpless in the face of Nature’s fury in the shape of floods, earthquakes or cyclones, responsive architecture can provide short-term mitigation as well as help build more tolerant structures to combat natural disasters better in future.
# Can boost tourism: Unique structures, ancient or modern, like the Acropolis, the Pyramid of Giza or the Eiffel Tower and the Sydney Opera House, can act as magnets to attract tourist traffic and hence boost the economy. Behind every such magnificent edifice across the world lies the element of brilliant design.
# Impacting public health: The way built spaces are designed, directly affects public health. Hence, architects have to put their minds to ensure that their design solutions are aimed at minimizing pollution, encouraging physical movement and offering ample green spaces and parks to promote healthy living.
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