Nylda Amchaoui is about to start her third year in BSc Architecture at UEL. She blogs about architecture for Your Universe.
Travelling enriches our understanding of architecture.
Living in London, my perception of architecture was encompassed around the idea that we build to address our living and working environments. We construct for convenience and aesthetics, and we build on land. A field trip to Venice has changed what I think about architecture, as so many of the buildings there are surrounded by the sea.
The beauty in the city lies in the fact that it is standing despite the geographical constraints. As some historians have pointed out, it was built not for residency but for trading. The fact that the city still stands, with its beams and bridges, gives it a temporary feel, as though at any given moment the sea may overtake the streets and homes that float above it.
Venice redefines what architecture can be, pushing against ideas of construction on land and instead daring buildings to exist on water. The city radiates with historical buildings, and is proof that architecture gives life to the stories of how people have lived over many years and how they developed their society. But without seeing it for yourself, it is hard to comprehend how these spaces were designed and built to accommodate the geographical challenges presented to the Venetians.
This has highlighted how travel enables architecture to be permanent in people’s experiences, even if these spaces no longer exist. So how can we learn to appreciate architecture, if we must travel to experience it for ourselves? The key here is learning to acknowledge that history has much to teach us. I can only imagine that if we neglect what is in the past, it will be difficult for cities like London to prosper.