The Architect’s Perspective: The Built Environment, In Photos

What are you looking at?
Why are you waiting so long to take their photo?
What are you photographing now?
Why are you lying on the floor?

These are questions I have been asked on more than one occasion as I explore new areas while traveling, or even during a routine walk around my neighborhood. The answers are quite simple. For example, I might answer:

Look at that incredible Shutter Dog. Such a beautifully crafted detail for such a utilitarian purpose.

Architects POV Photo 1

If I wait here long enough, I can see the beautiful alignment of architecture and art. Look at the way the archway draws your eye to the piece. Someone took great care in its placement. I only wish to respect it.

Architects POV Photo 2

The termination of this handrail and the way it embeds itself in the brickwork is simple, yet elegant.

Architects POV Photo 3

If I get my camera in just the right position, I can see the alignments of forms that create the architecture. I can also feel the energy of the light coming in and the way it plays with the curvature of the overlooks. It draws your eye up to the skylight above.

Architects POV Photo 4

As individual explorers of our world, each of us has a different perception of space and the built environment. Our interactions with the environment, especially buildings, are based upon so many things, not the least of which is our profession or field of study.

  • A lawyer may walk into a space and notice every possibility for litigation (slip and fall, etc.).
  • A psychologist may walk into that same space and notice the way people are interacting within it.

As an architect, I perceive the balance, proportion, and symmetry of place and notice the details that create it. I am drawn to look at every minute detail. It is both my blessing and my curse.

Exploring the world through the eye of an architect means:

Analyzing the textures of the built environment and how they layer to create more than just a simple wall.

Architects POV Photo 5

Looking for those unexpected and often overlooked details: even the most trivial of objects on a building façade can be treated as pieces of art.

Architects POV Photo 6

Seeing alignments that are not meant to be seen as important. Yet, their subtleties create your mental balance within a plaza.

Architects POV Photo 7a

What we as architects see is what everyone else feels. This is the eye we bring to every project. It is this level of detail that drives us in the way we layout every space and determine every detail. It ignites the fire that creates such a level of focus to not only see these things, but to remember their importance when we create spaces. There is thought, context, education, history, and rigor that goes into every decision. If we have done our job right, even the most important details may go unnoticed, but the harmony will be evident in the experience.

So, next time you see someone lying on the floor taking a photo, or intently studying a handrail, I invite you to appreciate the study that person is undertaking to better understand the environment so that they may continue to build and develop new environments that will awe and inspire each of us for years to come. And, perhaps, you might take a moment to join them in their study. You may see something you would have never noticed.

Architects POV Photo 8