The Relevance of Architecture
Though our natural surroundings have been extensively modified with the creation of built environments, we seldom pause to consider the impact that these have on the lives of individuals at all levels. In fact, who we are as a people is reflected in our architecture and, in turn, that architecture is a key factor in shaping us.
The origins of architecture date to prehistoric times and, even as a formally studied discipline, it has a lengthy history. Architecture has undergone rapid evolution in recent decades with the development of technology, new materials and dramatically changing societal needs.
Constructing and maintaining the structures for living, working, and leisure activities consume a large share of the world’s resources. In turn, the deployment of those resources and optimization of their use is a function of architectural design.
In Canada, some 40% of energy consumption is directed to the heating and cooling of buildings. Accommodating to our changing climate and bringing about necessarily related conservation measures will require modifications to our built environment and hence to our architectural approach.
Population growth is likewise exerting pressure on our urban centres with increasingly severe and deleterious effects on our environment. Adequate housing is considered to be a human right. Architecture is a key tool with which to address these complex issues.
Architectural aesthetics are a function of our culture and play a fundamental role in defining the stature of our country, affecting the well-being of its population. This is particularly important in our major cities and their suburbs. Pleasing, well designed and attractive buildings have the potential to foster innovation and productivity.
The architecture of an age or a people reflects their technology, historical events, artistic styles, political processes, social organization and so much more. Consequently, the study of architecture is integral to understanding the human condition.