“Whatever dies, in a twinkling. It is the

  “Whatever is beautiful rests on the foundationof the necessary. Whether it be the sweeping eagle in hisflight, or the open apple-blossom, the toiling work-horse, the blithe swan, thebranching oak, the winding stream at its base, the drifting clouds, over allthe coursing sun, form ever follows function, and this isthe law. Where function does not change, form does not change. The graniterocks, the ever-brooding hills, remain for ages; the lightning lives, comesinto shape, and dies, in a twinkling.

It is the pervading law of all things organicand inorganic, of all things physical and metaphysical, of all things human andall things superhuman, of all true manifestations of the head, of the heart, ofthe soul, that the life is recognizable in its expression, that formever follows function. This is the law.”­ Louis Sullivan As LouisSullivan proclaims in all his arguments that form follows function1 and never theother way around, has aesthetics lost all its importance in architecture? Alarger question to be posed would be, are all forms of aesthetic beauty thatare not seen as practical in architectural design to be abandoned? A building’sfacade and its structure is a way of depicting what goes on within or in otherwords the function, but does this mean that beautification acts as a skin thathides this depiction or reduces its precedence in any manner?  I am researching on the importance ofaesthetic beauty in architecture and why it shouldn’t in fact be abandoned. Architecture is somethingthat has a lasting imprint on the landscape it resides in and the people aroundit. To the viewer, unlike the designer, a space that has an impression on theviewer is most definitely evaluated on the basis of its aesthetic beauty. Designand aesthetics revolve around contrast, repetition, pattern, unity, balance andproportion. Can these elements be achieved only using structural elements thatfollow the function? An integral part of my research paper will be based onarchitectural examples of aesthetics in architecture that has meaning and alsohas had an impact on the theories of architecture. The comparison betweenthe aesthetics and function is very challenging as they are the most importantpart of design process.

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But when the aesthetics has an upper hand in astructure it fails to have good functionality qualities like comfort andergonomics. Some say the difference between aesthetics and function has becomeso vague in the design process that the functionality is totally inapt andinapplicable towards the structure. This is because of the marketing andshowing how the products should look rather than focusing on the utilization ofit. As stated above aesthetics may be taking over functionality in manystructures, however aesthetics is a crucial part of the design process. It comprisesof appearance, materiality, composition of structure which provides necessaryinformation about the functionality and form of the structure. Hence,aesthetics is not only incorporated to look appealing but also to explain thefunctionality: how it works, what is it, etc.? “So here I stand beforeyou preaching organic architecture: declaring organic architecture to be themodern ideal and the teaching so much needed if we are to see the whole oflife, and to now serve the whole of life, holding no traditions essential tothe great TRADITION. Nor cherishing any preconceived form fixing upon us eitherpast, present or future, but instead exalting the simple laws of common senseor of super-sense if you prefer determining form by way of the nature ofmaterials .

..”- Frank Lloyd Wright  Frank Lloyd Wrightintroduced the word organic to extend the teachings of his mentor Louis Sullivanwho claimed that “form follows function”. Later Frank L.

Wright altered thephrase to form and function are one. As function is defined asthe modern architecture and the design philosophy ‘form follows function’simply proposes that design process is there only to be defined as structureand not aesthetics. This modern trend resulted in simple inorganic forms withno ornamentation.

This principle has been practiced on many forms, whether itis comfort, ergonomics, durability or shape. “When I’m working on a problem, Inever think about beauty. But when I’ve finished, if the solution is notbeautiful I know it’s wrong.”-Buckminster Fuller Form follows style: thisdefines the classic and postmodern architecture styles which explores more onthe aesthetic fitting and effect. This simply explains that the forms are associatedwith ornamentation and beautification and forgo the functionality. Architectureis creativity in the form of construction it portrays itself like a painting oran artifact. As Sullivan righteously proclaimed that architecture does not existwithout its function, most theorists believe that aesthetics also play a veryimportant role. Just like an artifact or a painting architecture is viewed bythe lay man in terms of beauty and viewed by an architect as a structure ofdeeper meaning.

But architecture along with its aesthetics required to beconstructed keeping in mind safety standards, usability and programmatic activities.In the beliefs of theorists, the façade as well as the interior design is as importantand necessary as the function. The façade uniquely creates its own language thathelps in inviting people towards the function of the structure. Without this aestheticbeauty, the function wouldn’t serve as it wanted to. The aesthetics of a structurecomprises of certain sensory elements that define the design. These sensoryelements can be categorized into lines, shapes, textures, colors, symmetry andgeometry.

Lines or/and curves arethe basic starting point of any design and thus play an important role informulating any structure. These lines can be modified to adhere into any formsuch as curved jagged thin or thick lines. These lines are often placed in thedesign of the façade of the structure to evoke different types of feelings and spatialexpressions amongst the viewers. The use of these lines varies from baroquearchitecture to modern architecture.

These lines can also help define the programwithin the building in terms of providing voids, windows, verticality, horizontalityand even bracing systems. Shapes just like linesformulate spatial qualities these can be closed or open spaces. The shape ofthe structure is defined by how the architect decides to manipulate themovement and the structure of the building.

Shape can be used to create spacesof aesthetic pleasure and function as well. If there were no aestheticqualities to the shape then there would be only simple rectangular forms withno desire to it. Feelings and emotion whenadded to architecture exuberate the design and one such element that helps in achievingthis is the texture or the materiality. Textures provide the touch and desireof touch. Architects use textures for the same reason and to give a sense ofthe location of the structure, the function of the structure and to allow thestructure to blend in with the space. Textures can give the architecture anappearance of heaviness or lightness and of strength or weakness. Visual illusionscan also be formed using a variety of textures. In multiple architecturalstructures texture has also been used as decorative elements, for example, renaissancearchitecture or even overgrowing landscapes in modern architecture.

One of the main aspectsof architecture and aesthetics is color. How the yes perceives the differentpatterns, shapes and design on the structure depends on this perception. Variedcombinations of colors produce varies effects on people and how they would identifythe structure and its architecture. Color choices and their locations can playan important deciding factor of the mood of the architecture. The color andtinges of windows, panels, bricks, concrete, roofing, doors, interior walls andflooring can all be used as a defining element for the programmatic differencewithin the structure. Colors can also be varied depending on the architecturalstyle of weather conditions as well.

Symmetry and asymmetry playno functional role unless they have been used for the ease of construction. In asymmetric design, there is a balance that is being created that is visuallypleasing, whereas, in an asymmetrical design, certain sections of the structuredominate over other sections. This can be used to exemplify hierarchy fromwithin and from the exterior of the structure.These sensory examplesthus prove the importance and necessity of aesthetics in architecture and howwithout it architecture would simply bland.  THE TAJ MAHAL, AGRA, INDIAOne of the seven wondersof the world, the Taj Mahal, is astructure that has been designed and built as a symbol of beauty. Created by Shah Jahan as a tokenof his love to his wife, the beautiful structure was designed with perfection.

Itis a true example of aesthetics in architecture. Adorned with symmetry, color, decoration and proportions, it isarchitecture that has been defined by beauty2.The use of different forms of materiality like the marble with its floralpatterns, the illusionary effects that have been embedded into its architectureand the use of voids, lines and patterns to define its proportion andcomposition.The main purpose of the tajmahal was to look appealing as it was a skilled image of affection. The gardensof the colossal white structure have been arranged in a particular manner infront of the tomb. It plays an important role in being part of its aestheticsas it reflects different kinds of color traces and tints on the white marbled tombby procuring various shades from the sky. According to the Hindu tradition Italso suggest as a picturesque paradise.

The marble used is an exquisitewhite makrana that changes its color and tone according to the changes in thelight. Exterior of the structure is inlayed with carvings of floral designs,beautiful patterns and calligraphy of Persian poetry and the Quran. The interioralso features the inlays of floral and abstract patterns.The arrangement of the anglesand lines of the Taj Mahal is impeccably symmetrical. The lines assemble rhythmicallywith each other and are established in perfect unity. The semi-octagonal room wherethe cenotaphs of mumtaz mahal and shah jahan were placed niches together inspecific angles which are appreciable from every perspective giving it a 3Dview from a distance.The depth was given tothe taj mahal by its double arches which were arranged on each side of thecentral entryway. The negative and the positive spatiality has been uniquelyand uniformly casted into the design.

Light and shadow has been critically analyzedand put into play using the different elements of the architecture such as thebalconies and the chhatris(umbrellas).The Taj Mahal is one ofthe oldest structure which incorporated illusionary effects within the structureas when one moves away from the structure through the central entryway thatframes the mausoleum, it appears to be moving closer and becoming larger andwhen one gets closer to the taj mahal, it gets smaller.Theindigenous builders of the Taj Mahal fully understood the deceptive nature ofthe human eye. They knew that the reality and its perception and interpretationthereof differed.

The plinth of the main tomb is 2’10” high on an average. Butthe height varies at different places, particularly the central point betweentwo piers being in each case 0.5″ to 0.7″ higher than the sides.

Thisconvexity has deliberately been given to the plinth in the center of each arch,or else the building would have appeared as if it were falling down! Thefacades are not exactly at a right angle with the plinth, but are slightlyinclined. The finial is a stupendous crowning feature which measures nearly 10meters!! The architect fully anticipated the apparent size which a finial wouldpresent from such a great height. It has therefore been very ingeniously beenplanned. These features of construction demonstrate the ability of the Indianarchitects to reconcile the illusionary effects created by distance and light.

  FOUNTAIN DI TREVI, ROME, ITALYFountains are anarchitectural element that have always served the purpose of aesthetics. They aresolely designed to serve as a decorative part of the surrounding. The Trevi Fountain located in Rome, Lazio, Italy made by Nicola salvi is onesuch example, as it had been placed as a manifestation of the power during itstime.

It was used by the powerful as what you may refer to as superiorbeautification of their land. Rome is full of fabulous art and architecturewhere the baroque styled fountain originated. Trevi originated from a Latinword “trivium” which meant three ways as the fountain was situated in the plazathat connected three streets in Lazio.The fountain at night is portraysthe way every sculpture on the structure lights up and tends to become real,having human like features. The baroque style architecture gives the fountain adisplay of power.Corinthian columns,pilasters and triumphal arches are used on the façade of the palazzo behind thefountain to portray aesthetic qualities and correlate with it. LOTUS TEMPLE, NEW DELHI, INDIAThe lotus temple islocated in New Delhi, India designed by fariborz sahba, it is one of the sevenhouses of worship for the people who keep faith in Baha’i. the symmetric half-openlotus structure is situated in the village of Bahapur.

This temple consists ofnine sides and each side of the structure is covered with 40-meter-tall Grecianmarble flower petals which gives it a pristine white exterior facade. Each sideis surrounded by nine ponds. The affect given to the temple was that of afloating flower that is being surrounded by the leaves of the flower itself asthe ponds are leaf shaped. Its interior is trulymade by using expressionist architecture which gives it a ribbed roof feeling. Likethe taj mahal this temple is also adorned with symmetry, proportions,uniqueness with the use of a variety of materials.The architect wanted toshow the concept of purity simplicity and brightness which depicted the Baha’ifaith. Its appearance attracts a large number of people of different beliefs asits made so exquisitely. The lotus flower is admired in Hindu culture andtradition.

This temple unifies people from all religion and remind them thatgod is one.  The TajMahal, the Trevi fountain and the Lotus Temple raise important issues as towhat happens if the function is aesthetics? If aesthetics has been abandonedhow are areas of aesthetic functionality to be designed? Answering this veryquestion, the proofs and detailed analyses of each element of aesthetics in architectureas well as the three examples, the Taj Mahal in Agra, the Fountain di Trevi inRome, and the Lotus Temple in New Delhi, helped me elaborate and furtherjustify why elements of aesthetic functionality cannot be abandoned inarchitecture. These are the elements that bring foreword what the architectdesires to showcase through his work. Although function is definitely a veryimportant part of the building and also the deciding factor of the structure andplanning, the aesthetics helps in exuberating this function and also in portrayingit in different ways.

If architecture was to only design based on function andnot on aesthetics, then we would have a bunch of cubes and cuboids of differentdimensions without any varying textures, colors, shapes, asymmetry or lines.The structure would only have construction and functionality with a heavy façadethat seals it all together. Architecture through the 1940’s to early 2000’s hasbeen defined by functionality over aesthetics, but modern architecture and mediaevalhave proved otherwise. In the belief of most architects, aesthetics has andplays its role as long as it doesn’t overpower the function of the structure,while some architects believe that art doesn’t always suffice to function andthus can be added to decorate a structure or to beautify it. While Sullivan nurturedthe fact that functionality and form go hand in hand, what he should have addedto the quote would be that functionality and form go hand in hand whensprinkled with aesthetics.

To conclude the research paper, Form does not existwithout function, and function cannot be designed without aesthetics. In other words,function and aesthetics complement each other and architecture would not beable to stand out without either of them.


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