Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Architecture is More Than Skin Deep

Architecture is more than the outside of a building.
1. The classic dome of Gustav Vasa church in Stockholm.
It is a common misconception that architects take care of what we see from the street and interior designers take care of the rest. When this happens, it is the result of an architect’s abdication of his or her true realm: creating spaces. Interior designers collaborate on the final resolution of those spaces with colors, textures, hardware, and furnishings. However, if the architect has not provided worthwhile spaces from the beginning, then everyone else -- from interior designer to lighting consultant to landscaper -- can only place band-aids on an injury. They can only try to fix what was never right to begin with.
2. The Air Force Academy chapel interior (Colorado Springs)
is a direct expression of exterior forms. 
3. Air Force Academy chapel exterior.

Perhaps the idea that architecture is only the outside of buildings comes from its representation with exterior photographs in magazines and books. These flat simulacra are mere shadows of architecture. They are not the real thing. Yet we commonly judge buildings by pictures without considering the total experience. Architecture is more that the exterior elements. It is the interior space, It is sounds reverberating through a building. It is an environment of aromas. It is feeling the warmth of the sun radiated by stone and mortar.

4. A house designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
5. An interior designed by Charles Rennie Macintosh.
We cannot detach architecture from its environment and study it as an isolated object. The sounds and scents of nature contribute to the feelings we have about our buildings. The mood of the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto is different from the environment of an Italian villa. Neither can be removed from its surroundings and maintain the same meaning. Environments establish the character of architecture. Context matters.

Architecture is more than the outside of a building and great architecture is more than the sum of its parts.

6. The galleria in Milan.
7. Santa Maria del Carmine, Milan.
1. Xauxa.
2. Hustvedt.
3. BigacSC99.
4. Hunterian Museum Collections (Public Domain).
5. Public Domain
6. chensiyuan
7. Giovani Dall'Orto

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