Can one say that a building is poetic? Poems touch and move their readers on both the emotional and spiritual levels, and when architecture achieves the same, it is said to be poetic. Golembiewski (2014) said that if an architect cannot go out of their way to create ideas that work, then they do not deserve to practice their craft. It is through creative imagination and belief that ideas will work, heal, and become essential elements to the lives of users, which makes a true architect. This essay proposes that architecture is poetry, a craft that arises from the need to appeal to human emotions and inspire them towards excellence.
Architecture, like poetry, is based on precision. Great poetry is seen in the balance created by various elements that, when brought together, create pieces that are enlightening and inspiring to all. Similarly, architecture depends on the combination of various factors, which when they work together, create harmony. Like a poet measures his lines, the architect measures his materials, considers his calculations, and makes sure that all the numbers add up. When all these elements are followed with precision, they create the ultimate or rather perfect architectural design. Edgar Allan Poe, in the “Philosophy of Composition,” said that all compositions start at one point, from whence every change is made step by step until completion. In the creation process, thus, precision determines the outcomes since after all, creation is solving a mathematical problem. An architect, therefore, must be precise in materializing their ideas, drawing from their knowledge of materials, and translating them into reality by applying effective techniques.
Architecture is created with an adherence to the rules of metrics. The dynamics of poetry are diverse but the harmony observed in rhyme, tone, and the meter is most impressive to observe. To the poet, creating work that endures requires following the guidelines of metrics. Similarly, the architect also has their metrics, which allow him to assess whether an architectural design will work effectively or not. For example, metrics are what make us amazed at the Taj Mahal and the Tower of Ibiza, as observing them requires us to consider the precision in measurement that went into making it. The architects in both cases measured their distances with precision since they considered how one set of numbers would interact with the other and vice-versa. Ultimately, great architecture comes down to poetic measurement, which creates perfection.
Architecture is poetic since it communicates a specific truth as intended by the creator. The Architectural Association in London’s motto is “Design with Beauty, Build in Truth,” a statement that captures the importance of truth in architecture. The beauty in a work of architecture shines in its relationship to the truth since it should reflect the ideas that users know in their own lives. This means that just like the poet, all the elements included in architecture should be essential because together, they form the truth. Ultimately, beauty and truth are inseparable as they capture whatever ideas the architect intended to communicate to the public. When architecture is true in its intentions and reflection of expressions, it gains its beauty. Architecture, therefore, is poetic since it speaks to the creator or end user’s truth, something that cannot be washed away by time or changes in ideology.
Finally, architecture, like the words in a poem, has weight. The poet is a pro because he/she uses words sparingly, paying attention to those that drive the point home without “beating around the bush.” Likewise, like any other architect in the world knows, omitting unnecessary design elements that the work can do without is what separates the pro from the amateur. The best works of architecture are minimalist, in that they pay attention to all elements that could be considered necessary, and do not exceed them. Ultimately, increases in weight are costly as they put buildings at a high risk of destruction. The best architects are ones that are precise in their calculations to ensure that works of architecture endure time and gravity.
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