Even though it affects every aspect of our lives.
Architecture is one of those words that I never really heard about growing up. I was from a low-income household, but my mother’s biggest bill was my private education. Still, the word architecture never penetrated my radar until I was in 10th grade.
The funny thing is I have always been receptive to the built environment. There are stories of my young years when I would cry because the places we’d go had “weird light” or “the tile was upsetting”. Mind you, I was from rural Puerto Rico, I was not one of those Puerto Ricans living in concrete mansions by the beach or luxurious high rises. But just as much as money can’t buy taste, I was born with a keen eye and intuition about when “space felt right”.
I saw my father build with his own hands. Benches, walls, tables, decks, chimneys, brick ovens. Nothing was too small or too big for me and my father to tackle. My grandfather was a contractor, he built with concrete and rebar. My father and I with lumber and rocks. Throughout my life, while I didn’t realize it, I had role models that taught me that building with your own hands was the way to go — the machinery was expensive and mostly quickly unattainable in the day-to-day budget of an impromptu project. In my eyes, building buildings was always attainable, as long as you’d be willing to put in the work.
This brings me to the point of this whole article. Nobody cares about Architecture because of the following reasons:
1 — They don’t understand how it works.
For many, building something is almost like magic. Most people understand that it needs to be structural, and have an entrance, and some windows. While those are all components — they’re not even close to the core issues of architectural design, just a mere small part of it that depends on many other variables that don’t get often discussed. These variables are key — they are what highlight the difference between a building, and architecture. Architecture is design. Architecture is intentional. A building is just pure function without any consideration of the humanity that will use it. Architecture will give you both intention and function — and while it can be difficult to marry the two, it is always worth it.