What are the qualities of a great building?
This is something I often get asked about when I’m working as an architect. Although architecture can be subjective, there are some fundamental objective rules that help distinguish good structures from bad or indifferent ones. Building Science Engineers say that well-designed structures can elicit a positive emotional response. Good architecture can shape and influence our lives, no matter how small or large. Find more here about good architecture. It can change our moods, which allows us to live happier and more productive lives at work, home, and at leisure. It gives me a great thrill to see people’s faces light up when they enter beautiful buildings and I realize that architecture can make the world a better environment. Unfortunately, we are witnessing the construction of many structures that do not add value to our built environment. What are the guiding principles of the RFAC?
They include order and unity as well as expression and integrity, plan, section, detail, integration, and combination of all these. The concepts of balance and symmetry, which were evident in early classical architecture, are key to order and unity. They are also evident in Georgian architecture. Contemporary architecture can be seen to have a structural frame, rhythm, and a proportion of cladding, window placement, and other aspects of the order.
The purpose of the building is the second criterion for expression. This helps us to recognize a building as it is in terms of its design. This is a simple observation that has been overlooked due to the proliferation of repeating patterns. A lecture I gave several years ago prompted me to be concerned about all buildings looking like Travelodges- a similar pattern found in cheap motels, nursing homes, or office parks. They are all built without much or no thought for their purpose or function. It’s a one-size-fits-all type of architecture.
Integrity or honesty, the thrid criterion, can be achieved through a strict commitment to design principles. The articulation and detail of a structure, as well as the selection of materials and style of fenestration, all contribute to its rigor. The best places to witness integrity in action are in rural settings. These structures appear to be grounded in the environment and hewn out of the earth. You could get materials from nearby brickworks and quarries, which would give you a sense of belonging. As appropriate buildings, these structures can feel connected to their surroundings.
Last but not least is integration. This concept questions the integration or blending of the structure with its surroundings. Integration in the built environment is represented by appropriate siting, massing, size, and proportion. In short, it’s the feeling of something “fitting like a glove.”
Therefore, to construct a decent building, you need to put in a lot of effort and have a strong sense of dedication. This is possible by having a clear brief, a great client, and an outstanding architect. Everyone involved will benefit from the results.
A Successful Building Evaluation: The Many Facets
Building inspections are an integral part of the construction industry. Without thorough analysis and evaluations, both home buyers and business owners wouldn’t know if a contractor delivered the promised results. A poorly built building can lead to increased maintenance costs, costly repairs, loss of property, and even health problems. A building review is also a great way to identify and fix problems in existing structures. Here are some examples of what might be included in a building inspection:
Audits of Energy Consumption: Numerous tests are performed to determine the energy efficiency of your building and to identify any possible improvements.
Inspections and Condition Assessments (I&C): Condition assessments and inspections are reports about the current state of a building. This is your assessment of the condition and any repairs that may be needed.
Performance Audits: These audits are similar to condition evaluations but are designed to specifically identify problems in new buildings. These are performed by a professional certified in the field. All new homes must be subject to performance audits under the Ontario New Home Warranty Plan Act.
Thermographic Analysis: This is another method to evaluate the energy efficiency of buildings. It is a non-destructive method and can detect heat loss as well as any water leakage in any area.