I’m often asked why I chose a career in Architecture and my response goes something like this… Throughout my time at secondary school I thought I was pursuing a career as an interior designer, and it wasn’t until a careers advisor highlighted that my interest wasn’t in decoration, fitting and furnishings, but it was the spaces themselves. There’s an obvious link between the professions, but upon this realisation, I began to pursue a career as an Architect.
I studied at the University of Dundee where they taught us to become excellent designers. We analysed and learnt what others have successfully done before us, this education helping us to rationalise our own designs. I had the opportunity to design buildings such as a cartographic institute, consulate, and prison. Each of these building typologies had their contradictions, private versus public, environmental constraints such as light and temperature control, and tension between exterior and interior. University challenged me, most notably when I had to present to peers and tutors, and I had to defend my decisions. It quickly became apparent that while design is based on objective reasoning, it is often interpreted in a subjective manner.
How people engage with a design is important as Architects want their building to be memorable for all the right reasons. Architecture is more than a series of connected spaces contained within an aesthetically pleasing envelope, it is also formed by a person’s impression and how they observe the space. The way people emotionally connect with a building is important and Architects attempt to understand human behaviour and tendencies to inform their design solutions. What is the effect of light? How about the tactile experience? The sounds, the smells, the temperature? How does the building make you feel? We provide coherent designs but there is more to a space than its form. It’s in the detail.
Check back mid-August for the next installment.