Guest blog by architect Corina Popa:

"Good architecture needs user input"

Architect Corina Popa took a tram ride from The Hague’s Central Station to Scheveningen Beach and it reminded her of the Bucharest that she grew up in. She noticed how the city transforms from high, vertically intertwined structures into low and less dense constructions, and right back to high constructions and crowded spaces at the end of the tram line. “It represents that same mixture of styles that shouldn’t work together in theory, but create a beautiful quirky cohesion in reality,” she says. Read her guest blog on the meaning of good architecture below.

Today’s visual marketing and advertising bombardment helps many people miss one of the cornerstone elements that shapes markets: the demand. Or in other words, the personal choices we make on a daily basis. So how does that apply to architecture?

Good architecture

It is a second layer, we have created and have used to surround ourselves with. It impacts our quality of life, our social life, and our productivity. And yet, despite all that, many people still perceive good architecture as a luxury and allow economy to rule the market.

Of course, the economy is an important factor in our society. We regularly trade our time for resources and commodities and, in that regard, architecture is no different. However, in this day and age, architecture focused on wellbeing is no longer a luxury, but has become a necessity.

The bulk of our environment

Compared to previous generations we spend most of our lives indoors. Offices and houses represent the bulk of our environment. As such, their relevance is no longer just in terms of comfort, but also in terms of health impact. And that is not just in regard to the materials that are being used but also in regard to the impact the spaces have and how they are used on a daily basis.

For many years, architecture has been perceived as a closed circuit where only professionals would have a say. However, in time, their words have been overpowered by financial decisions. And in recent years the field has taken a strong blow making professionals either change fields or succumb to the market in order to stay afloat.

We make the market

So, why is it important for one to know the relevance of good architecture and its impact on one’s life? Because we create the market with our choices and we shape the offer through our demand. As a result, we are responsible of what we choose and need to be informed when making choices.

Good architecture revolves around the needs of the people. It thinks in advance and brings something more to the needs of its users. But in order to do that, architecture must be connected to and aware of the psychology, as well as of the cultural and sociological evolution and development of its culture. It thus needs to communicate and it needs to be communicated to. It depends on analyzing results, taking feedback and expanding ideas. It needs user input.

Look at your space

The responsibility of it does not lie only with the architects, contractors or investors. It also lies with each one of us. We are responsible for the conditions we accept and create for ourselves. So, I invite you to look at your space, your house, your street, and even your city as if you are seeing it for the very first time.

Try to understand the way it works and the way you work within its cogs. Next time you rent or buy a space, look first for what it will bring to your life and how the space will impact your physical and mental wellness, and not just at the benefit of living centrally, having a mall next door, or having more space.

Corina Popa is an architect and the creative behind Archi-Re. She loves architecture and its power to impact lives. Interested to hear more from Corina? Have a look at her website where she posts new stories regularly.