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The Principles of Architecture

spiral staircase
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Through architecture, we can experience beauty. Buildings seemingly mimicking nature’s arrangement of objects and forms will affect us emotionally.

In some cases, changes or defines our behavior, we may not explain it, but it makes us feel good. The principles of architecture explain why we feel this way.

I had tea one time. Just sitting there, sipping the hot tea got mind working, and when my mind starts to work.
It got me thinking, why do we do architecture? Humans need shelter to protect us from the elements but, do we need it to be a pretty shelter? Do we need art in shelter-building? Taking into a broader context, do we need art in everything? Not only in architecture?
Is it better to only focus on what is more practical or useful instead of spending time to make things beautiful? Why do we want things to be beautiful? How can we see the beauty around?

Dissecting the Thoughts

My main point: Humans are part of nature.
What makes us part of nature is the fact that we eat and reproduce, just like the other living organisms—our ability to react to the natural environment as proof that we are part of nature. What separates us from the natural world is that we are intelligent. We have a sophisticated thought system. But let us focus on the “natural” part to make things simple here, which is the basis of the idea of why we appreciate and seek beauty.

So, why do we seek beauty, anyway? Let’s look at the role of emotions.

the principles of architecture in architecture

Emotions guide us on our way through the natural environment; for instance, fear triggers our flight response so we could get away from something that threatens our well-being. Anger triggers the fight response, necessary for us to protect our well being in times of conflict. Sadness tells us to pause and seek help from others because something hurts us. Happiness tells us that we are in a state of contentment. Finally, disgust tells us that something is unsafe, so it should be avoided.

Emotions

Emotions play essential roles in our survival as an individual. As a species, emotions make us form social bonds. Humans, as a group, are more reliable and able to survive as a species. Because of the long process of evolution and series of natural selection, emotions that are rooted in us become instincts. Instinct makes us automatically act on external conditions, thus making our natural environment very close to us. Believe it or not, we appreciate beauty because of nature.

There is no concrete evidence about the connection of nature with our appreciation of beauty. Psychology also kept on wondering why do we perceive beauty. But looking into an evolutionary perspective, we learn to appreciate beauty because evolution taught us that when something is beautiful, it is necessary for survival.

Here are some examples

A fruit with bright colors and a flawless look is nutritious and filling. A big and beautiful animal looks like a valuable and nutritious food. The symmetric and face and body of a fellow human perceiving as a potential mating partner. Therefore, beauty is equivalent to survival; something necessary for us to live.

Beauty is significant to us that we try to find the one that instills it on us – nature. So how do we see the beauty in nature?

Beauty in nature

We see the beauty in nature in several ways. We want to be around a natural setting like forests or lakes, which is why some people like hiking or mountaineering. Other people seek the comforts of pets for companions and even assistance. We want plants inside our homes, or we want to have gardens on where we could relax and unwind. We also like natural patterns and fractals in designs of clothes and buildings. Therefore, we appreciate the beauty of nature because we can experience it. Through experience, we feel emotions; that is why we integrate “nature” into our arts and crafts.  Appreciation of beauty is our innate tendency, notice that we like incorporating natural patterns of figures into our designs.

The Principles of Architecture

A good way to explain the beauty and its connection to our nature is through the principles of architecture. The principles summarise the most basic rules on how nature organizes everything. These principles greatly influenced the way we do our crafts and designs.

Architecture is part of nature – immersive and enthusiastic. Whenever we experience architecture, our five senses are activated, and our emotions put to the test. The principles of architecture tell a lot of things about nature; described by the following:

Axis

Nature is very sophisticated in the way that it tries to seek order. One way to achieve order in nature is to distinguish points. A line established by two points in space, about which forms and spaces can be arranged in a symmetrical or balanced manner – as defined by Francis D.K. Ching, “Form, Space and Order.” Axis imposes direction.

Symmetry

Balance is the thing nature wants to achieve. We see symmetry in things around us, on living things, plants, and animals.

We appreciate symmetry because our instincts tell us that symmetry is beautiful. According to us, symmetric objects are pretty, and pretty things mean good things, these objects are programmed in our brains to be safe and essential to our lives. Like, we find people with symmetric faces attractive because attractive people are suitable mates. It is hard-wired to our brains that we try to seek things that are in symmetry, and of course, we would try to incorporate it into our designs.

Hierarchy

Nature is never boring; there should be an anomaly in order. A striking thing should always be present to a monotonous flow.

Take, for example, the flow of the water in a stream. The rocks emphasize what plain and calm water is. The disturbances that the rock on the stream introduces dynamics and nature like an anomaly seek dynamics; they are never dead. Hierarchy introduces dynamics on designs. Adding an element that stands out makes the design more exciting like nature makes everything exciting by introducing surprise.

Datum

There must be something that should put order to everything. Just like the axis, a datum makes elements organized. There must be a point where things begin and end. There must be boundaries to everything, so we could distinguish and appreciate one thing to another.

Transformation

Nature is in constant change. This change involves years and years of continuous transformations. As nature is never really still, it always changes whenever it sees fit.

Rhythm

Everything follows a pattern–a flow. Nature is indeed not random, and yet we somehow don’t know where is the pattern of movement is coming. Is it randomly created? But there are no such random things. So nature tries to be organized but random?

rhythm is probably the most prominent principles of architecture
spiral staircase

Absolute randomness does not exist; even mathematics sees that total randomness does not exist. Nature seemed to have a pattern, but we don’t know where the design came from, nor how it started making patterns.

In Conclusion

Why do we have to make things beautiful? What do we make building pretty and attractive to us?
The answer lies in our emotions. Emotions play a big part in our lives what makes us survive the difficult life on earth. It makes us connect to other human beings. It also a constant reminder that we are part of the natural world – that we are all connected.

Through architecture, we can experience beauty. Buildings seemingly mimicking nature’s arrangement of objects and forms will affect us emotionally. In some cases, changes or defines our behavior, we may not explain it, but it makes us feel good. The principles of architecture explain why we feel this way.

“You employ stone, wood, and concrete, and with these materials you build houses and palaces. That is construction. Ingenuity is at work.

But suddenly, you touch my heart, you do me good. I am happy and I say” ‘This is beautiful.’ That is architecture. Art enters in.

My house is practical. I thank you, as I might thank Railway engineers or the telephone service. You have not touched my heart.

But suppose that walls rise toward heaven in such a way that I am moved. I perceived your intentions. Your mood has been gentle, brutal, charming, or noble. The stones you have erected tell me so. You fix me to the place and my eyes regard it. They behold something which expresses a thought. A thought which reveals itself without wood or sound, but solelThe principles of architecture help us explain why we feel goody by means of shapes which stand in a certain relationship to one another.

These shapes are such that they are clearly revealed in light. The relationships between them have not necessarily any reference to what is practical or descriptive. They are a mathematical creation of our mind. They are language of architecture. By the use of raw materials and starting from conditions more or less utilitarian, you have established certain relationships which have aroused my emotions. This is architecture.”

Le Corbusier
Towards a New Architecture
1927

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