How To Compliment Architecture

Appreciate the Great Design

When it comes to architecture, perhaps the best way to appreciate its beauty is to simply admire it. The beauty and grandeur of buildings and monuments are something that can only be experienced when looking up close. From a distance, one can only appreciate the overall shape and form. But up close, one can take in the curves, the details, and subtle differences in the design that make the structure stand out. Nothing speaks louder for admiration than appreciating a structure for its unique design, built to last years and even generations.

Analyze the Design Philosophy

Once we understand the basic form of a building, the next step is to analyze the design philosophy behind it. What was the designer trying to achieve? How did he or she try to express it? What was their intent? To really appreciate a structure, one must understand the artist’s vision as well as the intended end result. By looking at not only the physical structure but also applying a design philosophy to it, one can see the entire picture and appreciate a structure for what it’s trying to accomplish.

Study the History

Another way to pay a sincere complement to architecture is to study its history. This can provide meaningful insights into the design and the designer, while captivating the audience. Everyone appreciates things differently, but having some knowledge of the history allows everyone to appreciate and understand the complex mechanism of a design.

Listen to the Colors

Colors play an incredibly important role in architecture, and use of them has greatly evolved throughout history. From bold to muted, architecture has utilized an array of colors, textures, and patterns to make their design more aesthetically pleasing and interesting. Colors can make a statement, inspire emotions and set a mood, so it’s important to take notice and appreciate the use of color when admiring a structure.

Appreciate the Symbolism

Symbolism adds meaning and depth to a structure, making it more meaningful and significant. In some cases, the symbolism may be obvious or maybe a bit more subtle. Analyzing the structure and trying to decipher the symbolism can exponentially increase the appreciation of it, as one can understand the purpose and message behind the design.

Respect the Proportions

From the carefully measured dimensions to the symmetrical patterns, architecture has its own language of mathematics and proportions. Being able to appreciate the logical thinking behind a design is a key component of admiring architecture. The attention to detail and clever use of proportions make the structure unique and should be taken in and appreciated.

Appreciate the Context

The context of a structure can provide tremendous insight into the design and reasoning behind it. Understanding the geography, climate, and cultural context can be important in understanding why a designer might have chosen a certain style or materials over another.

Understand the Intersection of Function and Beauty

At the end of the day, architecture is an art form that is meant to serve a purpose. It is the intersection of beauty and function that make a structure truly stunning. Appreciating the design for how it serves its intended purpose is something that all admirers should take into account when appreciating a grand design.

Familiarize Yourself with Famous Landmarks

Familiarizing oneself with famous landmarks from around the world can provide a needed context in understanding and appreciating design. Many of these structures use both innovative and traditional designs, making them stand out from any other structure in the world. Appreciating the designers’ works can provide inspiration and insight for what is possible when it comes to architecture.

Know What You Like and What You Don’t Like

Architecture is a subjective art form, and not everyone will have the same opinion on structures. That’s okay! It’s important to distinguish what you like and what you don’t like and to be able to articulate why. This will help when evaluating design, and it’s necessary when paying a sincere compliment or criticism to a structure.

Learn About Unusual Structures

Exploring outside of the norm and checking out less popularized structures can offer a nice change of pace. There are some truly interesting, unique pieces of design out there, and it’s a real pleasure to stumble upon these gems from time to time. Learning about unusual structures can be a fun and eye-opening experience and lead to newfound appreciation for the craft.

Research Users Experiences

Hearing stories from the people who use the spaces defined by a designer is another great way to compliment architecture. Getting an inside perspective on how a structure is used, how it impacts people’s lives, and how it helps achieve organization’s goals can provide valuable insight into a structure. This can help when complimenting the building, as it can draw attention to the real-world impact a design can make.

Learn Different Architectural Styles

Different architectural styles exist all around the world, each telling their own story on how a designer tried to solve a problem. Learning about these different styles can help provide context to appreciate a building even more, while also showing respect to the cultural influences at play in the design.

Go to A Museum

Another great way of paying a sincere compliment to architecture is to visit a museum that focuses on the history of design. Being able to appreciate the progression of design across different eras and different parts of the world can add context that can be hard to get anywhere else. The insight one can gain from a museum visit can help hone in on the appreciation for design even further.

Don’t Overwhelm Yourself

Finally, when it comes to appreciating architecture, it’s important to avoid becoming overwhelmed by it. Appreciating architecture requires patience, concentration and effort, but it can be incredibly rewarding. Don’t rush it, take the time to observe and take it all in. The appreciation will quickly follow afterwards.

Anita Johnson is an award-winning author and editor with over 15 years of experience in the fields of architecture, design, and urbanism. She has contributed articles and reviews to a variety of print and online publications on topics related to culture, art, architecture, and design from the late 19th century to the present day. Johnson's deep interest in these topics has informed both her writing and curatorial practice as she seeks to connect readers to the built environment around them.

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