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Thoughts on Architecture

Thoughts on Architecture

Architecture is probably the most important of the visual arts. We are surrounded for the most part by the built environment and not only do the buildings we live and work in need to be functional for their specific purpose, I would contend that they should be aesthetically pleasing.

Classical Column

Sadly, much of what we build today seems to lack any semblance of beauty. It is either unutterably bland or downright hideous. We seem to have lost both a sense of beauty and in many cases the ability to develop a new narrative. Much of the new suburban housing is bland pastiche whilst cities are adorned with a mixture of the good, the bad and the ugly.

There are some excellent examples of modern buildings that are appropriate to their space and surroundings and complement the older existing architecture but too often we are assaulted with that which is either brutal or does not fit with the human sense of order, proportion and innate beauty. This is a great pity as we have to endure our built environment daily and for many years into the future and when it fails in its aesthetic appeal it then may fail to attract people to live and work within it which can in turn lead to decay, dereliction and crime in such areas.

Tower Block in London - echoes of Art Deco

I am not sure that I have an answer that will solve the problem but might suggest the following for those wishing to pursue a career as an architect -

To be an architect - according to the RIBA the pathway requires 5 years of study plus two years of practical experience.

I would embellish this by suggesting that those who wish to study architecture learn a trade (particularly carpentry) and work on a building site for two years prior to studying architecture. The practical knowledge gained would give the student a deep understanding of how a building is constructed and what to avoid when later designing future buildings.

A further enhancement would be to spend a year or two in Rome or Florence to study the works of the master builders and architects of the classical and Renaissance periods.

Such a pathway could take 15 years which is indeed a considerable amount of time. However, it takes roughly 15 years to become a surgeon and I would suggest that the noble profession of architecture is every bit as important to the well being of society as that of medicine.

Contemporary and traditional buildings side by side
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