You may not realise it, but the architecture governs everything you do around you. Would you find it comfortable to focus on your assignments if you were surrounded by tightly packed walls in a dull colour? Would you find it easy to study in a disproportionate classroom? Architecture not only affects the way our brains work but also tells a lot about the society we live in. Yes, architecture books can be quite an excellent source for learning besides what our schools and colleges teach.
The top five architecture books every architect must read at least once:
- Form, Space, and Order by Francis D.K Ching
- The Architecture Reference and Specification Book by Julia McMorrough
- A Field Guide to American Houses by Virginia Savage McAlester
- The Future of Architecture in a 100 Buildings by Marc Kushner
- A World’s History in Architecture by Michel Fazio
Architecture books aren’t only about buildings. It is also about the culture and human psychology surrounding those buildings. Let’s see what architecture can help you learn apart from what is taught in schools and colleges.
1. Reflects culture
Your history or geography books aren’t the only subjects that can tell you about the culture of a specific place. Look around you. The architecture of buildings can also tell a lot about a place’s culture. Architects work in a team to shape their buildings and convey a more profound and richer set of values. The shape and colour of different buildings define how cultures see themselves and their world. This is also why we feel so relieved and empowered in a soaring cathedral. Similarly, this is also why we feel connected and thriving in a busy public plaza.
- The best example to prove this would be that of pyramids and the Sphinx. Take a look at these structures, and you’ll understand how they regarded their religion, their rules, and the qualities of their land. The first pyramid, for example, was built in the 27th century BC. It consists of six steps culminating in a flat top indicates that it was probably a staircase for the king’s spirit to go to heaven.
- The Gothic architecture that made up the towering feats of delicate stone masonry indicates that the structure emerged somewhere in the Middle Ages. The stone masonry reflects the period of grim instability during which this structure was built. Imagine how many pages you had to read to gather this information.
- The architecture after the Industrial Revolution is mainly built with steels, and that was a breakthrough among architects. The manufacturing of steel increased almost tenfold after the Industrial Revolution.
Architecture has always been persisted as one of the most important reflections of culture. From the Roman Colosseum to the Notre Dame, each building reflects the story or culture of its time. All you have to do is look around instead of looking into your phones. History is right there in the buildings and not just in the textbooks of your class.
2. Tells a lot about society
Architecture impacts society more on a personal level. From the occupants to the layout of the space, every bit of architecture tells a lot about the society we live in. Planning assignment help expert Monika Juneja has said that the skyscrapers would be looked at the same way the modernists looked at the concrete tower blocks that gained popularity post-war. No wonder there’s a saying, ‘The way we build is a reflection of the way we live.’We don’t see high-profile individuals living in a one-storey poorly built structure, do we? We can take a look at someone’s house and determine his/her class in society.
- The 21st-century people may not realise the detailed contribution of architecture in their surrounding ambience. But it is everywhere. For example, the inventions of solar harvesting roads, electric-driven elevators, magnetic levitation trains, power-generating textiles, social VR, etc.,show that our society encompasses all categories of utilities these days.
- Modern architecture is a smart blend of art and science.It has brought forth a wide slew of products such as advanced modes of transport and luxury textiles. These architectural products show that our society has started maintaining a smarter, healthier, and a higher quality lifestyle.
- Initially, we didn’t have elevators. People had to use staircases to climb multi-storeys. And now we can imagine a future with flying vehicles. It is just a matter of time when architects, along with engineers, will make even that possible. So, if you look at architecture carefully, you’ll understand how the demands of our society have changed over time.
Architecture is about improving the quality of life and serving society. It is a physical manifestation of the demands of the society we live in. You need to understand that architecture is a discipline that draws on psychology, economics, politics, and sociology. Buildings and the entire built environment are the products of social and cultural beliefs.
3. Conveys human psychology
Schools and colleges do not teach you about human psychology. Do they? Consider a prison in this case. Have you ever seen a prison that consists of bright colours and vibrant designs? No. That’s because the purpose of prisons is not to make someone happy after they have murdered someone. The grey coloured walls and the monotonous structure of the prison tend to lower the prisoners’ moods. Similarly, children’s day-care centres are usually very brightly coloured and spacious. Architecture has the power to control the psychology of people living under a roof.
- According to Deinsberger-Deinsweger, ill-conceived and inferior architecture can encourage exhaustion, promote stress, and induce psychosomatic symptoms. It even promotes utter physical discomfort to the people residing in such a structure. These effects may not be visible to you immediately. Butit appears over months or even years. And by the time you realise how the architecture has affected your mental wellbeing, it might be too late.
- A pleasant indoor climate is not the only criterion that determines a comfortable environment. Other factors, such as construction methods, light, materials, plants, air conditions, and temperature, matter as well. And architects are the ones who can get all these elements right for you. These factors can stimulate your positive responses, thereby providing a calming effect. So, the next time you find a pleasant environment in someone’s house, you better get their architect’s number.
- A spacious environment contributes to strengthening an individual’s sense of satisfaction and self-esteem. An uncomfortable living environment causes dissatisfaction, alienation, restlessness, and listlessness. Your course textbooks will not teach you how someone’s living room can tell a lot about his/her personality.
Danny Friedman, a housing and social policy researcher, figured out correlations between an individual’s health, wellbeing, educational attainment, and poor housing conditions/neighbourhoods. He conducted a study and found out how poor housing conditions are directly proportional to educational underachievement, criminal grievances, and the rise of health issues.
Schools and colleges educate us on a wide variety of topics. From philosophy to science and economics, there is a textbook for every chapter. Butarchitecture can teach you a lot more about our society, its needs, and demands, the socio-economic status prevailing in the country, etc. Most importantly, someone’s building can let you know about his/her personality and mental wellbeing. How many textbooks can help you here?