Nowadays, architecture is developing at an enormous pace together with an increasing number of technological innovations. People use Internet as a daily routine and the main source to communicate with each other. This convenience makes our lives much faster and more mobile but we also forget about benefits of “face to face” contact. Positives of personal communication and interactivity are not appreciated any more. People walk in the streets, sit in the train or even sit at the restaurant table with their noses in iPhones or iPads. Mostly, they do not realize what happens around them and how much it affects their lives. It is not that there is anything wrong with these innovations I also use the Internet and computers every day. But I have a feeling that we have lost control over it. Computers give us a lot of possibilities but they cannot replace body language and emotions that are so important to fully understanding each other. Some people unconsciously are losing contact with the rest of existence deeply involved in the world of media.
In the age, where communication between people increasingly takes place in the non-physical space through the media and Internet, the architect has responsibility to create an actual physical space and direct communication between people.
Besides power of emotions and nonverbal communication there is another very interesting aspect that influences humans perception. Wherever we are, there is space that surrounds us and – very often - influences our emotions. Being a very social person, I observed during my travels how many cultural differences divide the world in a myriad of ways. Often surprised with the misconceptions that people have about other cultures, I noticed how space affects the communication between us. Things I have noticed are my motivation to research its reason.
At this point I realized that, as a future architect, I have a much bigger responsibility than just creating “beautiful” or functional spaces. So many individuals - potential users - require me to be a great psychologist first to understand their needs and problems. I see my role not only as a supplier of creative ideas but also as a doctor who, through true design, stimulates the mental health of people and solves their problems.
A great aim of my career is to design spaces that encourage people to collaborate and engage meaningfully to “break walls” in an effort to create a more integrated world and to facilitate the ability to solve every-day societal problems. To enrich my skills and become fully mindful on every step I will make in my future projects as an architect, I like to research the consequences of design in comparison to its users.
I realized how many different components influence perception of people, which also means that many things can stimulate it. The amount is colossal but the truth is, even when we know all of them, we still cannot design buildings that “work” if we do not focus on the future user! People are so diverse that there is no one recipe to design for all of them. I have learned that design can stimulate an individual’s perception the way we want it only after we truly and respectfully focus on the exact needs of the future user.
Since we observe carefully and see what others do not, we are able to create the right functional space that responds to the needs but also “asks” for their moves and emotions. With “asking” I mean that open space invites people to collaborate and socialize; interior that brings exactly those feelings and memories we strive to create. Specific space can also ask to interact through flexibility of interiors that encourages man to think before using it or even rebuild it first.
Architecture becomes the language that lets us stimulate peoples’ perception. In summary, the biggest challenge is to create a language that is understood by the person/community we design for. Involving them in the design process fulfills the conditions of our observations and “breaks the walls” between architect and users we design for. We should make them part of our design team, which gives them meaningful awareness of decisions and engages them more with their future environment which we will create. Without it we cannot entirely understand the language they speak.