What is Architecture
Architecture is a creative discipline that utilizes physical evidence to illustrate designs, plans and impressions of how the world operates around us. It is a multi-disciplinary field which combines the work of artists, engineers, and scientists to examine the relationships between the environment and design. Architecture attempts to provide innovative and meaningful ways of looking at space, symbolically and aesthetically. Its main goal is to shape our human experience through the physical world by providing spatial forms and organizing activities that fulfill our needs, hopes and desires.
The History of Architecture
Architecture has been around since the dawn of time and was used to construct dwellings for early civilizations. Across the world, ancient ruins still stand to honor what was once a thriving agricultural or civic center, appreciated for its beauty of form, function and technology. In the 20th century, new movements developed from the historical groundwork set by figures such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier, and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, providing us with a greater understanding of what architecture can be. Today, architecture is used in many public or private contexts, ranging from civic and governmental buildings, to corporate offices, homes, and interior design services.
Architecture is often taught as a joint-degree program in most institutions, along with engineering, planning, and design. Due to the intertwining of these disciplines, the faculty of architecture will typically include specialists in design, structural analysis, history, programing, construction, and any other subject which may contribute to the full realization of a project. Of course, each school has its own variation on what department or faculty architecture belongs to, but typically the faculty houses the departments of architecture, engineering, planning and design, and in some cases urban design or landscape architecture.
Career in Architecture
A career in architecture requires knowledge in many different areas and skill sets such as communication and problem-solving. Students must acquire a strong foundation in design and creative thinking, while also developing an understanding of research and analytical methods. Many architecture programs offer internships and field experience which allow prospective architects to learn how to apply their knowledge in the real world. Architects are responsible for designing aesthetic, safe, and well-functioning buildings in addition to identifying construction materials, maintaining budgets and meeting codes. A successful career in architecture requires an understanding of design, a passion for the field and the ability to work with project managers, bureaucrats, and other people.
Architecture in Education
Today, a number of higher educational institutions have created departments devoted to architecture. Numerous curricula both undergraduate and graduate have been developed from the combination of science and art, technology and design. In addition, students may qualify for architecture-specific courses such as structures and structures design, CAD and design systems, building science, and the role of technology in design and planning. While a degree in architecture may provide students with the necessary preparation for a professional life within the field, participating in other extracurricular activities, such as presenting at conferences, joining societies, and gaining experience within the larger community can be just as beneficial.
The National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) is a nonprofit professional organization dedicated to establishing standards for the education of Architects. The board approves programs, which are often accredited by the American Institute of Architects (AIA). For those seeking a professional qualification in architecture, the NAAB provides a comprehensive suite of criteria to evaluate education and skillsets, which are endorsed by the AIA and other relevant organizations. This approval system sets standards for the academic qualities of a program that provides students with the tools and resources to pursue a successful career in architecture.
Design Thinking in Architecture
The evolution of design across the centuries has introduced human-centered design approaches and theories to architecture for the purpose of offering a more viable and user-centric service. Design thinking or human-centered design methodologies emphasize user-experience and iterative design, the focus is on creating a desired user experience by establishing a deep understanding of their needs, motivation, and boundary conditions. To do this successfully, architects must learn to employ tools such as journey mapping, interviewing, observation, prototyping, and usability testing. Design thinking in architecture echoes the need to shift away from traditional and linear design processes, and instead, move towards a more responsive and interactive experience.
Concepts in Architectural Design
The ability to properly apply knowledge and create effective design solutions is a fundamental skill in the field of architecture. This requires a deep understanding of not only the fundamentals of design theory and practice, but also of essential concepts in architecture. In this regard, concepts such as form and function, proportion, scale, and composition are central in design. Through the study of architecture, students learn to create structures, landscaping, and structures that are not only aesthetically pleasing, but also structurally sound and cohesive.
Adaptive Reuse in Architecture
Adaptive reuse is the practice of taking existing environment and transforming it for a new purpose or use. This practice is constantly evolving and is directed towards creating innovative and sustainable solutions in urban planning. To be successful, adaptive reuse projects must consider a variety of factors such as economics, community, the environment, and user experience. Through adaptive reuse, architects are able to create unique and compelling design solutions that promote sustainability, preserve resources, and create a better living environment.
The Role of Technology in Architecture
In recent years, technology has become essential in modern day architecture. Through the use of new tools such as Building Information Modeling (BIM), architects are able to create more precise, efficient, and cost-effective projects. In addition, technology is also being utilized to aid in the design process, allowing architects to explore multiple solutions and collaborate with stakeholders to create better solutions. Technology is not only a necessary tool in the field of architecture, but it is also opening the door to a wider range of possibilities and projects.
Sustainability in Architecture
Sustainability is an integral part of modern day architecture. It is the core philosophy of this important field and is focused on creating solutions that will have a long-term positive impact on the environment and communities. To become a successful architect, individuals must develop an understanding of sustainability principles and practices that can be applied to any design project. Sustainability principles consist of a combination of resource-efficiency, energy-efficiency, and social responsibility, which allows projects to account for natural resources, climate change, economic stability and human well-being.