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What Makes Good Architecture?

The question “what makes good architecture” is one of the hardest to answer from an architectural academic point of view simply because there are various interpretations as to what constitutes good architecture. As in interior design, some people find west coast flooring to be appealing while others try to avoid having it in their homes. In architecture, the most important thing is to understand one’s wants and contrast that with what the major schools of architectural thought have to offer.

In this respect, perhaps it is worthwhile to look at the aspects by which one can judge architecture. Without having to visit site or go to an example website, here are aspects that one can use as a starting point for evaluating the merits of an architectural piece:

Function. Almost everything with architecture begins with function. Buildings can be eye-catching and even iconic but if these do not serve defined functions, the building is nothing more than decorative material. In many today’s designs, one of the most important facets of “function” that comes out is eco-architecture or green design. This refers to harnessing the environment in order to make the building more earth-friendly, energy-saving, and efficient. In home remodeling, for example, the use of skylights and big open windows helps to introduce ventilation and light into the home reducing its need for energy. In the eyes of some, architecture is good when it meets the design demands for eco-construction and while not everyone agrees with this, it is a safe bet that many find this extremely valuable when assessing the merits of an architectural design.

Style. This is where things get tricky when it comes to valuing architecture. Unlike, say, a virtual phone service or Parental Control software where it is easy to quantify its value through its service, style is more random. Some, for example, like Victorian buildings while others prefer simply, almost non-descript designs. There are also others that like a striking modern design with bold curves. At the end of the day, it is important to have a design that is neat and one that is in harmony with the surroundings, in a way that is pleasant and soothing. After all, architectural masterpieces are designed to provide comfort and value to its users.

Regardless of one’s definition as to what makes good architecture, it is important to realize that we all have our own preferences and one building or another need to please everyone. In the same way, there is no universal “click here” guide to good architecture and we must all learn to appreciate buildings for how their designers envisioned them to be; because when you think about it, isn’t beauty something that is only in the eye of the beholder?

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