Why Learn About Architecture?

All people in the civilized world live in, work in, study in, play in buildings.  Americans spend more than 90% of their time indoors.  I’m not saying this is good (in fact, as soon as you’re done with this lesson, GO OUTSIDE). 

We are all influenced and affected in numerous ways by the buildings that surround us.  Just to name a few:
"Shelter, Asbury Park, NJ Boardwalk"
Image courtesy of BriYYZ via Flickr.
"Shelter of Shepherds"
Image courtesy of das Pedro via Flickr.
  • The level & quality of shelter we get from the elements (moisture, winds, temperature)
  • Alternately, the visual and other connection that remains to the outside (isolated or protected or connected...)
  • The quality of the air we breathe (musty vs. chemical-laced vs. fresh vs. drafty...)
  • The scale and character of the interior spaces (imposing vs. cozy...)
  • The relative quality of the construction  (fancy vs. slipshod vs. handmade...)
  • The aesthetics and referential symbolism (stuffy vs. comfortable vs. playful vs. creepy...)
  • The way the building contributes to its context (a street, a square, wilderness, or rural setting)

Get Geeky about Architecture!

Most people are not going to become architects.   But as an architect, I am perpetually stunned at the number of people in every field who get wistful when they remember a time they wanted to be one. I believe it’s because on several levels, we all want to have a chance to improve the spaces in which we spend so much of our time. 

Some of these lessons will be about history, others will be about design and ideas, still others might be about technology or social responsibility or building elements or environment or physics or just why things are the way they are.

I hope that this class allows you to see the built world differently.  

First assignment: 

  • part A: Go to the zessn schoolhouse community link and ask to join.  First, you'll need to become a member of Google+.  Alternately, in the comments below this post, leave your name, age, and email address (not anonymously please: your comment will not be shown publicly).  You will be sent an invitation to join the Google+ Community
  • part B: Write 5 questions about architecture. Post them at the Google+ Community you just joined.
  • part C: Go outside!



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