Do we need architecture?

I hope the title of this post doesn’t scare anyone into thinking I don’t see the value of architecture! I study architecture, I intend to practice it, I admire and adore it, but this last week, I have been pondering it.

For the past week I have been sorting out my new student house in Belfast, cleaning it, putting up curtains, all that fun stuff, and along with a fellow architecture student  and best friend I visited ikea, obviously haha.

Ikea is mesmerizing. They have whole houses designed in the smallest space, showing you all you need for a kitchen, bedroom, even your garage. You walk along, and come across another strange little abode in the middle of a warehouse, and it looks great. They genuinely look nice, like you could set up residence there immediately. So we buy a few lamps, a side table, coffee table, and fill our rather nasty student accommodation with our things, the nicely designed furniture, the ambient lighting, and suddenly, our bedrooms are lovely places to be in. And it made me wonder, does interior design affect how people experience a space more than architecture does?

When I began to think about this, a lot of my favorite places, are my favorite places because of the stuff in them. The quirky oddities, the interesting posters, the soft candles with the melted wax spilling and collecting on the glass bottle they’ve been stuck on top of. Or even the music of a place can make it dear to your heart. Nothing makes me happier than when I sit down in a cafe or restaurant, and they offer me dainty mismatched china tea cups and saucers. Objects bring life and personality to rooms, can architecture achieve this too and to the same extent?

I know architecture affects how people enjoy space, it can even affect their behavior there. Light can make or break a room, as can circulation space, orientation, scale, materials, but…If you had a truly awful room, with terrible layout, bad light, could a lovingly put together interior fix it? and make you love it? I don’t know the answer to this question! And I know that there are buildings that I adore, purely because of their architecture, the Tugendhat house by Mies van der Rohe being just one of them, this is just one of my many musings! Is architecture just as powerful as interior design? Do they go hand in hand? Could one out-weigh the other? Let me know what you think 🙂


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