In no particular order, here are some quick reasons off the top of my head why architecture is the coolest thing in the world:
- ARCHITECTURE IS EVERYWHERE
Take a second to remember the maddest, most infuriating moment of your life. Now think back to the saddest. Or try to think back to when you shared an intimate moment with a high school sweetheart. I’ll be astonished if architecture was not involved in the majority of your key life moments. Architecture is easy to ignore because it is everywhere. It can become a beige backdrop to the play of our lives but the fact remains that it frames our existence all the time. It is there for our special moments, sure, but it colors the hum drum monotony of life too. Something that plays such a large role in our lives deserves respect and attention.
- ARCHITECTURE IS LASTING
Buildings are cultural products that last ages longer than many other artifacts and because of their permanence and presence, they have a powerful ability to recall memories of the past, highlight the spirit of the present, and even project our ambitions and expectations of the future. In this manner, buildings show us the rich depth of time.
- IT IS MUSICAL
Would you be surprised to hear a building described as punk? Well, Robert Venturi’s house for his mother essentially screams ‘F@#! THE ESTABLISHMENT!‘ and raises a big middle finger in the face of modern architecture. We use architecture to make daring statements, to entertain, and even to just fill the void of silence like elevator music. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe famously called architecture ‘frozen music.’ Experiences of architecture can easily be described (and analyzed and designed) with words like crescendo, rhythm, and harmony AND–just like music–some people are naturally inclined to enjoy certain genres better than others. The music in our buildings can be hard to detect and frankly it’s because most architecture isn’t musical and most of it sucks. Hopefully that will change.
- IT MAKES LIFE WORTH LIVING
Black people, Muslims, old white dudes, Latinas, children… EVERYONE can thrive in cities. Despite all the bigotry and violence we see on the tv, the truth is we are a cooperative species and we live to help each other (even if only to ultimately help ourselves.) Our differences are our strengths and damn is it fun to see how strange we all are. Certain well-designed places encourage the confluence of all sorts of people for all sorts of benefits, and the people watching is pretty awesome too.
- IT IS HOME
You’re barfing all over the place, you haven’t stopped shaking since you woke up in a puddle of sweat, but hey, you’re home. Wouldn’t it suck if you were anywhere else? Shelter is one of the most basic human needs but having a home is such a precious thing that we take for granted. Most of us have always had one and it’s kind of hard to truly picture life without one. Our homes are a huge part of us and we are a huge part of them. Winston Churchill said, “We shape our buildings; thereafter, they shape us.” You can hang Skrillex posters all over your walls and move in whatever furniture you like, but believe it or not, your home is going to shape your behaviors, your mindset, your impact on the environment, your family relationships, and much more.