We Shape Our Buildings Thereafter They Shape Us

15/05/2017

We shape our buildings thereafter they shape us is a well-known quote by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, in October 1943 regarding plans to rebuild the bomb-shattered House of Parliament.

They do indeed shape us, architecture is the process of planning, designing and constructing but the physical structures of a building can have a significant influence on a person’s mood and their overall perceptions of their surroundings.  What do you really see when you look at a building?

A building is an interaction between the eye and the brain
A building is an interaction between the eye and the brain and the environment that people live and work in has a huge effect on how they behave – human psychology is directly related with architecture.

Some of the oldest buildings in the world have played a significant part in the design and influence of architecture and continue to attract tourists. The construction of the Eiffel Tower, was the beginning of the skyscraper race, and was shortly followed by the Empire State Building.  The Colosseum in Rome has been the inspiration for many modern-day stadiums and the Pantheon, built almost 2000 years ago, continues to influence architects throughout the world. The Dome of the Rock is a masterpiece of Islamic architecture and the Leaning Tower of Pisa is an outstanding example of European architecture. 

Design of a building affects the people who are influenced by those designs
Nowadays, architects have the responsibility not just for the design and shape of a building but of the public’s well-being, human behaviour in buildings can be divided into three groups:

  1. time related: actions according to time
  2. environmentally related (green buildings) achieve a certain purpose  
  3. specific objectives relating to certain issues.

Architects have the capacity to conceive, visualise and inspire
Architects create vision and value to their communities and appreciate how important the design of a building is to a community as the structure and appearance of a building affects the quality of the surrounding environment. Architecture is the art of developing a space whether it be open or closed space – it is in a nutshell the art which combines, function, firmness and beauty.  However, today a building must not only be pleasing to the eye but must comply with planning regulations, budget and maximise energy efficiency.

Energy efficiency in the design of architecture is now crucial
Buildings consume a third of the world energy supply and they are responsible for 20% of the global pollution, but energy efficient buildings balance all aspects of energy use and one of the most important factors of the advantages of green buildings is their decreased use of electricity and energy. Architects should be leading the debate about our future built environment, particularly as the global population is set to increase, and inspire politicians throughout the world.

Green buildings are essential because they respect “the human dimension”
The growth and development of our communities has a large impact on our natural environment. The manufacturing, design, construction and operation of the building in which an employee may work will influence the health of an employee as well as their productivity.

What kind of workplaces are we likely to need in the future workplace? 
Competitive environments affect corporations as most people want to work in nice surroundings,
they want space, good indoor air quality and as far as possible a healthy environment. More responsibility is therefore being placed on the role of an architect as behind every green building lies the work and planning of the architect. 

Architects are appreciated for their unique ability to translate requirements into solutions that result in higher productivity, brand value as well as staff retention.  Green buildings provide protection of the environment in its design and lessens the burden on the environment.  Green design also reduces construction and operation costs.

All matters must be considered such as windows, doors, lighting, air conditioning, stairs, storage space and computer space as all physical structures influence human behaviour.  The planning and design of a healthy workplace is essential, as occupant comfort means satisfaction which results in employee loyalty and retention.

The construction and visual appearance of a building influences human behaviour and does indeed shape morale.

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