Why do I want to be an architect?

Driven by this idea and the belief that architects are interesting people with interesting lives, I got into the Faculty of Architecture. Math was not my favorite subject. Hours devoted to designing passed forever. The nights were too short and the projects were never finished. The turning point was one of the exams, during which a question was asked that I did not expect. It read: can you find the pleasure of architecture?

It changed my view of the world. I started to think differently. And live differently.

I started looking.

A sensory experience of space.

I found that apart from the interdisciplinary and creative approach to the world around me, this pleasure can be found in simple, everyday phenomena.

It is an awareness of space, thanks to which I can derive pleasure from shapes, measures, proportions formed in a thoughtful way. Architecture can be experienced with different senses. The sounds of the city and the dynamics of life going on there are an inseparable part of it. The sound of the pavement on which you are walking, reflections of light reflecting in the windows of old tenement houses, the smells of regional dishes sold in a square full of people – all this affects the specificity and uniqueness of places and buildings. The sensory experience of spatial compositions, material combinations, shaping details, a dialogue of colors changing depending on the light, texture of materials, changing shadows, proportions, forms and shapes – all this creates a specific city scenery which is an inexhaustible well of aesthetic impressions.

figure 1. diploma project; River Site Gallery – a terrace allowing contact with the river; Portugal, Mertola;

Architecture has its own area of existence. It has an exceptionally bodily relationship with life. In my mind, it is essentially neither a message nor a sign, but a setting and background for a passing life, a sensitive vessel for the rhythm of footsteps on the floor, for concentration at work, for the silence of sleep.

Peter Zumthor

Multidimensionality of architecture .

Architecture draws from the knowledge resources of many disciplines depending on place, time and people. Good architecture is always about space, people and time. It is inscribed in the context of the place where it is created, meets the needs of people living there and is a witness to our times, the development of technology and possibilities. The forms that surround us, elevations, proportions and colors are capable of conveying meanings and are a record of our culture. There is a story behind the walls and each building is a different story. Each interior has a different rhythm, reflecting the pace of life of the people staying there. The immobile architecture, which is the background of the flow of people and images, becomes a kind of stage on which our life unfolds. As an architect you can be a director, set designer, actor and spectator at the same time.

figure 2. diploma project; River Site Gallery – a stage for local artists; Portugal, Mertola;

Spaces for people .

Architecture is an interdisciplinary field that requires constant research and learning, driven by the addictive need to create a better, more beautiful world and people-friendly spaces. Creative work requires mental identification, empathy and understanding as well as sensitivity to the world around us. I share the belief that the external order, order and harmony of space subconsciously translates into the inner peace of users. Functional space saves time and a better quality of using it. Architecture defines the space we live in. It is the background of the passing life and the stage of our everyday life. The basis for human perception and interaction with stationary matter are the events and emotions it awakens in us. Good architecture, which includes, among other things, the right proportions, texture, materials – such architecture gives experience. It makes us feel a place in some way that is specific to us. It is not only material. It is expressed through the most subtle and sometimes difficult to capture moments, such as the light entering the temple through an opening. It is not accidental. It is thought out in such a way as to capture the mysticism of space. It is a response to people’s needs, respect for the place and skilful use of its potential. Real architecture makes us experience the fullness of being here and now. We feel the atmosphere of space and place before conscious observation takes place.

fig. 3. diploma project; attractive view of the hill and the waterfront; River Site Gallery; Portugal, Mertola;

Architecture in its final dimension poses a question about the needs of people and their behavior in a specific space and how they would like to feel there. It is the most useful of the arts. Beauty, durability, usefulness – all these factors are equivalent. What an architect designs based on his knowledge and many years of experience ultimately comes down to whether people feel comfortable in a given place and whether it responds to the needs of a given community. Engineering precision turns into fleeting, unforgettable moments and impressions which can be staying on the terrace and experiencing the view unfolding in front of you. The direction of the people there seems to be involuntary, but the architect designed the space in a way that allows experiencing this beauty combined with the comfort of use.

“Is it worth being an architect?”

By replacing the word “is it worth” for “do you want”, the question takes a more personal approach to creativity related to this profession. In my opinion, the creative value of this profession and the potential of an architect are not in income, but in finding meaning and pleasure in what you do. Instead of asking someone if it is worth it, it is better to ask yourself whether this field can become fascinating for me in some way. When we do something with all our potential and commitment, we want to do it the best we can. Passion breeds professionalism. Professionalism gives quality. My experience so far shows that the design process requires so much patience, commitment, courage and constant readiness for changes that without liking what you do, you cannot force yourself to live in this way. In the broader sense, dedication does not bring success. Success, which is a source of professional satisfaction, can be achieved thanks to commitment and steadfast search for the best solutions. The search comes from being curious, and the curiosity from believing that what I’m doing makes sense.

Why do I want to be an architect …?

For me, architecture is an endless adventure that presents new challenges every day and requires a new view of the world. It is a way of living, experiencing space, feeling the composition, looking for beauty, catching the sound of the floor on which you walk, catching the rhythm of the city and the life going on there. It is a multidimensional experience, experimenting, curiosity about the world. It is constantly discovering new places, meeting new people and their needs and responding to them. And probably the most important thing: it is a constant, even addictive need to constantly change for the better, to ask questions and seek answers to them. One thing in particular: can it be better and how to do it.

I will end the answer to the question why I want to be an architect a bit ideologically, because every good project begins with an idea that will guide our subsequent activities. I want to be the creator of experience-giving architecture, the director of unforgettable meetings and events in the urban space, the author of buildings that age well, becoming witnesses of our times.

I want to be a participant in the spaces where the life of free and happy people goes.

Does architecture join? Is it that what you really, really want to do more than anything in the world? If that is the case, you have made the right choice, you go for it and you live it every living second of your life. If you don’t believe in it that much, you have to find sth you believe in, sth else. It doesn’t really matter what it is because in life everything is creative.

Norman Foster, architect

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