Understanding architecture is much more than analyzing a buildings aesthetic value. Although aesthetics play a very important role in the design of a building, the framework (how the building came to be) explores the architect's thoughts and ideals.
Ideas to keep in mind...
Locating Architecture in the Physical Realm:
As stated earlier, architecture can be understood in terms of framework.
It is composed of things that have weight, are understood by our senses that occupy space, have size and format, and can be compared to other things.
There are two ways to understand the physical realm of architecture:
Physical Ways (measure)
Metaphysical Ways (speculate, theorize, imagine)
6 Oppositions that Underlie the Emergence of Architecture
- man and physical nature
- climate and enclosure
- gravity and movement
- permanence and entropy
- mass and form
- material and tool
Mount Athos, Greece Mount Athos, Greece
These spiritual and material factors had important repercussions on building activity on Mount Athos. Athonite architecture reflects architectural ambition and a diversity of influences - the latter being particularly apparent in the later (eighteenth-twentieth century) buildings. This marriage of different cultural and architectural inputs and the use of craftsmen from different regions gave rise to organic building complexes which served as prototypes for other Orthodox countries. After the fall of Constantinople in 1453 and the Ottoman dissolution of the Byzantine empire, Mount Athos, which was directly subject to the Patriarch of Constantinople, became one of the most important centres of artistic activity in the Orthodox world and perhaps its leading architectural centre.
How does the built environment affect who I am? Well, in order to answer that question, I think it is important to understand how the construction and design of a building explains who the architect is. The design of a building deliberatly implies a feeling to the viewer. This feeling can be directly coorelated to the architects feelings as well. Mount Athos is a great example of how the built environment defines who you are.
Each monastery is a large complex with its own character, consisting of many buildings constructed in different periods and in different architectural styles and showing different influences.
Each architect that worked on this building took existing elements and made them reflect their own ideas.
Much like the feeling an architect tries to portray with their design, the built environment has impacted me and my ideas as an architecture student. My first year in college, I was unsure of what I wanted to do with my life, so I decided to go to Europe for a few months. While there, I was completely infatuated with European architecture. I spent a lot of time traveling and admiring the buildings. I really enjoyed the "older" architecture. Once I got home, I started to really notice the buildings around me and appreciate them.
I would best describe how the built environment affects me by revisiting Mount Athos. The building(s) reflect each architects own influences and ideas. Living in a small town and having a traditional family (if there is such a thing) is definately reflected in the built environment.
Saynatsalo Town Hall, Alvar Aalto
"Saynatsalo Town Hall" by Alvar Aalto is probably one of my favorite buildings. I guess you could consider it a "simple". The brick exterior of the building and various shaped roofs allows the building to flow into it's surroundings. The building is built into the environment. I really appreciate the idea of not creating a superficial environment. Aalto created a beautiful building to fit its existing environment.
You may ask how this building reflects who I am. It is simple, Aalto doesn't try to immitate the modern buildings. He takes his own sense of environment and desgined a building that reflects his ideas. I think this building really reflects my ideas as an architecture student.