How Does Architecture Reflect a Culture?

Some people say that architecture is nothing more than a product, designed by and for the people that created it. And the architect’s job is to design buildings that are functional and present a space that reflects the community, however, their job is to build not only for today, but also for the future so that people can benefit. The have been many studies between the relationships between a culture and its architects, but as time passed, so has this relationship. Architects now design not just for the present, but how a culture will change in the future, so the buildings can change to the need.

Big is Not Always Best

Humans have a love for ground-braking design and big buildings. We want to see the tallest skyscraper, or the biggest sports stadiums, it is in our nature. Every city has its tallest building that its citizens are most proud of, but its size does not necessarily reflect its function. Today architects are designing buildings that primarily make use of their space and are not just design and build masterpieces. An example of this is the recent Beijing Airport, which was designed by Sir Norman Foster, not only is it the largest in the world but it is also one of the easiest to use and navigate around.

If you look at older airports that were not designed for the future, say JFK in New York and Heathrow in London. They simply were not designed to handle increasing numbers of travelers, and the experience of using them is very poor.

Building Should be Responsive

In the past, architects designed buildings that would fit the available space and also match the essentials that it was built for. This was true about commercial buildings, civic buildings or domestic homes. These were designed to meet the needs that were current of the day, buildings purposes rarely changed.

Today a building has to be designed to be responsive to future needs and functions, and technology must drive the design. The invention of the computer and the widespread use of it in office buildings meant that raised floors and so forth were needed. So, our culture of creating new technologies has directly affected the architecture we are now designing. It is so important to think of adaptability in our modern building plans. And to think just how our life will change in the future.

Future Proofing

Architects are now future proofing our buildings in an expectation of what is to come. But flexibility is still very much a guessing game as nobody truly knows what is ahead. The big problem architects have today is to know what is to come and be able to design enough flexibility in their buildings that they can respond to the needs of the people in the future. Our current culture in design is to get as much from a building as possible, but this is rapidly changing. Buildings now as ever reflect our culture, but unlike in the past where a stylish facade was considered important, the culture today is about mindset, adaptability, and purpose.