Every day we all walk in and out of several buildings which each have their own specific purpose in our lives. Some of you, assuming I’m not the only one, had classes today (Friday) on campus. At some point, you probably walked out of a building and to another one to get food. At the end of the day you go back to your house, dorm, or apartment or maybe out to a friends house or even a place like a bar. We all know that the buildings on campus are used for academics, and your home is a place for you to sleep and live in, while the bars are always good for balcking out.
What we all seem to overlook when it comes to buildings is how they represent their function. I guarantee that most of you rarely think about each building you walk into, but everyone would all have an innate sense that something is out of place if your typical lecture class held in one of the many academic looking buildings on your campus was suddenly transformed into a disco night club. While that is a very extreme example, it hopefully brought you to my point.
Architecture is not only about erecting buildings, but also about studying what the intent of the architect was with the building. Architects, believe it or not, are people too, all with their own differing opinions. When they were contracted to design and erect a specific building, they looked at its future functions in society and asked themselves “How can I make this building physically represent it’s intended function?’. This being the basic question asked by architects leads into the subcategories like modern architecture versus Greek architecture when you consider the historical and political aspects of that architect. What were the times like while this building were being made? Are they in a highly populated urban area or the spread out country land of a ranch? What about a government building in the United States used for political matters in comparison to the Paris Opera catering to the cultural arts of France?
If we think about these specific variables in the buildings that we use today, we realize that we are surrounded by structures that directly reflect our past in a combined historical, cultural, and political setting. Architects have used designs like placing two columns at each end of a table in certain office buildings to represent the idea of democracy by getting rid of the hierarchy of the head and foot of a table.
If any of you disagree with me in any way or have any extra input on what I have posted above, please let me know in the comments. I am currently writing an architectural paper and forming a presentation on how to write about architecture, so any extra advice at this point would be greatly appreciated so I know I’m on the right track.