Architecture and Philosophy

Understanding the deeper philosophical implications of the spaces we inhabit


The design of a building goes beyond just its aesthetics and functionality. It can also have a profound impact on our sense of self and our relationship with the world.

As architects, it is our responsibility to create spaces that not only serve practical purposes but also communicate philosophical stories and values. These spaces can serve as ideograms of distinctive symbols and aid in the higher purpose of human individuation. They can symbolize our individual identities, universal patterns, archetypal-ideal forms, etc. and can contribute to the process of self-discovery.

It is no coincidence that we often have dreams about buildings, houses, towers, bridges, and cities. Our surroundings, including the buildings we live and work in, play a significant role in shaping our dreams and memories. As such, it is crucial that architects approach their work with a sense of purpose and consideration for the philosophical and psychological impacts of the spaces they create.

According to Aristotle, the purpose of a building is to serve a specific function. This concept has influenced the way architects approach building design, with a focus on creating spaces that are efficient and practical for their intended use. However, this “intended use” can be a principle or a symbol.

For example, an office building should be designed to facilitate the work of its employees, with features such as ample natural light, comfortable ergonomic furniture, and well-equipped conference rooms. On the other hand, a hospital should be designed to prioritize the safety, comfort, and well-being of patients, with features such as private rooms, easy access to medical equipment and facilities, and a calming environment. These different functions require different design approaches, and architects must consider the specific needs and requirements of each type of building in order to create functional and effective spaces. In the realm of symbolic representations, both of these buildings have their own missions. You will not design a hospital in the deconstructivist style, since the philosophy doesn’t apply well, or doesn’t contribute to any specific meaning.

Note: We do not consider deconstruction dialectical in any practical sense, ergo it can not be used as a symbol of “analytical thinking” for school design. This has happened multiple times before.

However, a building’s function can also have symbolic or cultural significance beyond its artistic style. For example, a church may serve not only as a place of worship but also as a symbol of the community.

However, it is not only practical considerations that shape architectural form. From the ancient Greeks to the modernists, architects have been influenced by aesthetic principles such as proportion, symmetry, and balance. These principles help to create a sense of order and harmony and contribute to the overall aesthetic impact of a building. For example, the Parthenon in Athens exemplifies the use of proportion and symmetry in ancient Greek architecture, while the Bauhaus movement of the early 20th century focused on the use of clean lines and a minimalist aesthetic.

From the practical considerations of function and place to the deeper philosophical concepts of identity and the human experience, philosophy has played a crucial role in the development of architectural thought and practice. But it is not just the philosophers and architects who have contributed to this relationship. The users of buildings also play a role in shaping the philosophical foundations of architectural form. The way we inhabit and interact with spaces has a profound impact on our sense of self and our relationship with the world around us. Just a simple walking from one room to another is the mathematical algorithm of logical play by different groups (rooms), and you as a relation structure (Ego), the interpreter of that reality, between them. Rooms, both past and present, represent visually logical images. Images that represent ideas such as walls, ceilings, chairs, or libraries. All of these constituents have their own values and aesthetic grammar. The interconnectedness between all of the stages is the language of architecture.

As we continue to explore the philosophical foundations of architectural form, we can better understand the role that architecture plays in shaping our sense of self and our relationship with the world around us.

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