Home > Uncategorized > “We shape our buildings, and afterwards, our buildings shape us.”

“We shape our buildings, and afterwards, our buildings shape us.”

Amira Paramitha
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The title above is a famous quote by Winston Churchill, a british politician. This quote by Winston Churchill is said in a speech in the House of Commons on October 28, 1944(3). The meaning of the quote itself is, first of all a building is a result of the design of the architect’s ideas, but over time after the building was occupied, people who live and work in it take the quality of the buildings they live in.
In this post, i want to give my opinion about this quote. I agree with this quote because it is true that the building could change the human. The changes I want to emphasize here is not the visible physical change itself but rather a change in human behavior. For example, try to compare a person who lives in an enclosed building with someone who lives in a room that got a lot of sun exposure. We can be sure that the people who lived in a room that is never exposed to the sun will be less vibrant and depression than people who lived in a building that got a lot of sun exposure.
I consider the changes in human behavior can be categorized in how buildings shape us, because apart from facial or physical appearance, a person recognizes others of their behaviors. With the change in human behavior, it is not impossible that we will find our new self.

so what do you think about this quote?

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  1. May 21, 2011 at 4:04 am | #1

    This is nice quote from Sir Winston Churchill. Im my opinion, this quote based on the history of architecture. From the history, human built a shelter to get their comfortable space. It is modified through the era and we are as an architect has a capability for creating buildings. Sometimes, we cannot take care the maintenance and it has to re-build again because of human’s lacks or there is a debate that we have to change the building. When we are going to re-shaped or change the idea of old design on building, we can indirectly affect on the cultural itself. So, this is the way that Winston Churchill wants to tell us. Be careful what you have designed ! because re-shaping building is not easy as we thought

  2. architectureintlprogram
    May 25, 2011 at 1:55 pm | #2

    I totally agree with this quote, and i also agree with how you describe the example of the expression how “building shapes us”. I also think that “shapes us” here is about shaping us behaviorally, and that is why architect`s role is really important, architect not just build a physical building, architect also responsible for the behavior of the people who is going to live and or use the building. That is why, architect should be careful on designing the building, beauty is important, but there is something more to be considered, because, as what Sir Winston said, after we shape it, it will shapes us, so, make sure architect shape it well, so we will be “shaped” well too :)

    Mariyam Yasmin

  3. architectureintlprogram
    May 26, 2011 at 2:50 am | #3

    Yes, I agree with this quote as how buildings shape us after we shape them :)
    The buildings promote behaviour and it also gives us memories. If those memories are ruined by re-shaping, re-inventing, or re-constructing the building, then I think the main function of that building has lost its purpose. If architects want to shape a building that will be long-lasting and maybe not be re-shaped, I think they should design mixed-use buildings for different purposes but with the same theme like one in Scotland (i forgot the name of the building and in which city) so the memories of the building will stay and people will enjoy the function of the building.
    -Sofie Januarti

  4. May 26, 2011 at 9:06 am | #4

    i agree with you mira, and also with yasmin and sofie
    well what my personal respond for this quote is that it signifies the fact of buildings being a remark and great reminder of human history. because as the society grows, the building grows. and with the growing buildings, new innovations are made, humanity advances further. and the circle goes on and on into what can be considered as an improvement in creating space. so far.
    tis points out the not-so-hidden importants of architects. because architects communicate the need of society into an answer in a form of a building or space. and through there, the society grows further and (hopefully) better.
    this exposes us to the idea that as architects, we are the opening key to another level of growth that the humankind is capable of reaching. we are the ones who pushes, and therefore, help society — be it local or international — to grow, to leap forward, to advance.
    in conclusion, this quote of the wise Mr Winston Churchill shall be a reminder to us architects that our role in society is not only a as ‘building drawers’ but also some kind of a human race life-saver :)
    ps. let’s do our best, even better :D

  5. architectureintlprogram
    June 1, 2011 at 1:22 am | #5

    This is a very compelling quotation from Winston Churchill and I totally agree with Auriani’s opinion that says it shall also be a reminder to us architects that our role in society is not only a as ‘building drawers’ but also some kind of a human race life-saver. It’s a nice thing to know that we can actually contribute for a better society by doing what we love (read: architecture) and make positive changes in the near future.

    -Helen

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