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Architecture: Aesthetic or beyond?




Whenever someone hears the term ‘architecture’, it often strikes them with an imagery of complex and beguiling, intricate structures; opinions and images undeniably festered by their surroundings. For example, architecture of the new age is often associated with repetitive use of curtain walls and that itself has become a paradigm of ‘modern aesthetic’, not to be confused with ‘modern architecture’. In a lay man’s world, architecture and aesthetic sense are often considered to be the same thing if not used interchangeably. However, designers and practitioners of the field know it to be so much more than that.

Architecture from the break of dawn has never been about making something look appealing to the eye but rather been a fortuitous byproduct. Future designers and students of AOA have shared their thoughts on the topic.

Ever since architecture is known to have existed, it has celebrated various forms of aesthetics, which have also often given an identity to certain specific styles of architecture. One can trace its sources in the early eras when architecture was used as a tool to symbolise power, dominance, belief systems and many other aspects. In all these kinds of examples, it is understood that the aesthetic qualities in architecture weren't talking just about the visual aesthetics, but had a deeper meaning embedded inside. Even though care was taken to beautify the elements of aesthetics, they together would form a composition that would finally give away the larger symbol.

Interestingly, philosophers in architecture right from Yona Friedman to Peter Eisenman to Patrick Schumacher and modern Indian architects like Rahul Mehrotra, visualise the future of architecture from the user's and designers point of view giving them more importance than the aesthetic quality and identity of the built. Today, in a post industrial fast paced world, we have achieved a level where parametrics of design are generated on computer, along with aesthetics. A well designed building is not the one which looks aesthetic, but one which satisfies the reason why it is designed, along with layers of circulation, sustainability, user friendliness, inclusivity etc. It is important for us as an architecture fraternity to realise that architecture cannot be bound only under one umbrella of aesthetics.

-Ojas Basargekar, 5A

Is aesthetics, which means something that is very attractive, necessary for the building to complete the design? Is it necessary for the building with good planning to look aesthetically appealing? Will the unattractive building have a lesser quality of space? Architecture is a good example of the statement ‘aesthetic is the inner beauty and not only the outer appearance.’ Architecture is about a good design which includes planning, minute details and not just about the facade and the superficial form of the building. The design can be termed as the feeling that connects the person with the whole building. According to Peter Zumthor, atmosphere is an amalgamation of design and the feeling that makes the building more stimulating, lively and appealing. The experience, the connection to spaces creates an aesthetic of the building.

-Vrushali Kulkarni, 5A

Architectural aesthetics and spatial qualities go hand in hand. Design concept plays a key role in determining the language and aesthetics of the built structure. However, concepts should not necessarily be derived from aesthetics, or something visible or extracted from the site or translated from something abstract. It can also be embodied in the spatial quality and user experience of the design. For instance, no matter the aesthetics of the built environment, a person standing in the sun for a long time would tend to go towards a shaded area. Here, the entire experience of that person changes as the physical setting of the built environment changes. This suggests that these minute details, which are beyond the superficial appearance of the building, matter the most for the design to function efficiently in real life. Hence, an architectural setting could be designed in a way that facilitates such smaller experiences along with making it look visually appealing.

-Sakshi Kambli, 5A

Aesthetics is an important aspect of design, but it should not be restricted to visuals alone. Form, circulation, spatial planning, user experience, structural planning, and other factors can be merged in both an aesthetic and functional manner to produce an integrated and a holistic design.

-Aakanksha Nikale, 5A

- Written and Compiled by Nandini Shringarpure,

Editorial Team

Survey tool: Collecting the views of students of AOA through google forms


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