The Art of Architecture: What Makes a Great Building?
While you may not think of architecture very highly, there’s no denying its importance and significance. Often, great architecture also serves as the identity of a city such as Sydney’s Opera House and the Eiffel Tower in Paris, etc.
But have you ever wondered what’s so special about these buildings? What makes them so iconic? Why is it that when you say or even think of Sydney and Paris, it’s always these two buildings that pop up in your mind and not the countless others in their respective urban landscapes?
The answer to that question is great architecture. While that may seem relatively straightforward at first, this answer is much more nuanced and complicated than you’d think. The intricacies of this statement become apparent when you realize the fact that the definition of great architecture is completely subjective.
That being said, there are a few qualities that almost all great buildings have in common. Ranging from functionality to sustainability, here are a few traits that are inherent to all iconic buildings.
1. Emotional Resonance:
By far the most defining feature of a great building is that it’s able to inspire a lot of emotions in a person. Think of it this way; almost all tourists remember how they felt when they visited the Roman Colosseum for the first time.
Now compare that to the countless steel buildings in the USA. What’s the difference? Why is it that one can inspire us and the other has no emotional effect whatsoever? The answer is emotional resonance.
Simply put, a good building is one that is able to invoke emotion and stir the senses. Granted not every building can be the Pantheon or the Colosseum, but that doesn’t mean that architects shouldn’t try!
This one’s a no-brainer; above all else, a great design always serves its purpose. Take the Sydney Opera House for example. While most people think that its fancy design is just to create hype and deviate from the city’s skyline, there’s a secret to its unorthodox design; it enhances the acoustics of the room and makes live performances much more enjoyable.
In other words, the Sydney Opera House remains as popular today as it was when it was first constructed because it serves its purpose. Therefore, if you’re looking to enhance the longevity of your design, by far the simplest way of doing so is by focusing on its functionality.
That being said, countless architects have been guilty of compromising the functionality of a design in favor of enhanced visual aesthetics. It goes without saying that this is a harmful practice and severely impacts the quality and the longevity of a building.
So, if you’re looking to design a building that stands the test of time and is as useful twenty years down the line as it’s now, you need to emphasize on functionality.
It’s an open secret that buildings are a long, one-time investment. In other words, no one is willing to spend millions of dollars every year just to reinforce a design or on its maintenance. Therefore, when designing an iconic piece of architecture, you should use materials that enhance its endurance.
Think of the most iconic buildings in the world, what do most of them have in common? They were made ages ago. Don’t believe us? The Empire State Building was made in 1930 and the Eiffel Tower was erected in 1887, while classics like the Pantheon and the Roman Colosseum were made in 125 AD and 72 AD respectively!
Therefore, endurance is also a very important quality that most iconic buildings have in common. So, if you’re in the process of designing something new, we strongly advise you to use the best materials so as to ensure that your design stands the test of time.
4. Visual Aesthetics:
While beauty is completely subjective and everyone is entitled to their opinion, there’s no denying the fact that all architectural masterpieces are beautiful in their own way. It’s a scientifically proven fact that we like to look at things of beauty and buildings are obviously no exception to this general rule.
This is one common aspect that can be found in every single iconic building no matter the period of time they were constructed in. From the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem (built in 1561) to Dubai’s Burj Khalifa (built in 2004) and everything in between, all these iconic buildings are objectively beautiful.
So, spend times perfecting the overall design and try to make it as appealing as it can be. A simple way of doing so is making your building as symmetrical as it can be (e.g. the Burj Khalifa and the Eiffel Tower), but it’s worth mentioning that asymmetrical designs are just as popular, if not more (e.g. the Seattle Central Library and the City Hall in London).
5. Superior Workmanship:
At the end of the day, it all comes down to this. You can have the plans for the most beautiful, durable, and functional design, but if it doesn’t have superior workmanship, it won’t look extraordinary when compared with the countless other buildings in the city’s skyline. Or as Pink Floyd so aptly put it, “Just another brick in the wall”
Unfortunately, the level of workmanship and the quality of the finish is beyond an architect’s hand. These depend solely on the construction company and the on-site engineers. Simply put, if you don’t use the best onsite team, your design will always look visually bland and unappealing!
And that concludes our list of the traits almost all iconic buildings have in common. If you’re looking to design the next architectural masterpiece (be it a metal building or a steel warehouse) we at Allied Steel Buildings would love to help!
Since our inception in 2003, we have helped more than 4500 customers make their architectural dreams a reality. Our team consists of experienced engineers & expert construction partners that work in perfect harmony with each other to bring your dream architectural design to life.
For more detailed information about our services or our pricing, get in touch with us today. We look forward to hearing from you soon! 1.877.997.8335