AVOIDING FAILURES IN ARCHITECTURE: THE USEFUL ROLE OF NATURE AND CULTURE IN ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN

Journal Vol.: Volume 9
Author(s): R. A. OPPONG
Address(es): Lecturer, Department of Architecture, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana. Abstract: Good and successful architecture is probably the most difficult thing to evaluate. It however, should be with utmost certainty the final goal of all architects, but this is not always the case. Perhaps, architects are doomed to failure because of the peculiar nature of the discipline; or perhaps, due to negligence of certain basic elements of life such as lack of respect for nature and culture. Architecture, properly understood, is considered civilization itself, and understanding architecture, is not the same as being able to determine the style of a building by certain external features. It is not enough for one to see architecture, but one must experience it as a way of life. This paper, therefore, seeks to analyse nature and culture as useful antidotes to good and successful architecture and brings to the fore, how some architects achieved good and successful architecture through the learning and application of the secrets of nature and culture. There are selected few of such architects in the world. Ideally, the analysis of the conceptual framework of nature and culture should have been on Ghana, but for lack of data on Ghanaian architects, this paper focuses on Alvar Henrik Aalto and Frank Lloyd Wright, since the tenets of nature and culture are holistic and shared by all. Alvar Aalto was a Finnish Architect, Town Planner and Furniture Designer. He gained the fame for buildings that imaginatively combined modern design principles with traditional materials especially, wood. Aalto often used flowing, wavy forms that marked a strong departure from the strict geometric lines favoured by other modern architects. Frank Lloyd Wright, on the other hand, was one of America’s most influential and imaginative architects. He had a career of almost 70 years during which he created a striking variety of architectural forms. His influence on architecture was great but indirect. He had an excellent taste for the use of wood and other materials as they appeared in nature. He tried to blend most of his buildings with the natural surroundings.

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