What makes a building great?

Good architecture is hard to define. As humans, we are all different and like different things – what is appealing to one may not be to another’s liking. What do we expect from a building? It should be well built, attractive, and meet the needs of the people using it.

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We have a lot to learn from the Romans and their architects, who created splendid facades and incredibly beautiful buildings without the technology we have at our disposal today.


Today’s architects need to keep their clients happy while considering the wider needs of society. Buildings not only exist for the people who pay for them but also define the space itself, creating public squares and street frontages. We all experience these, often without ever setting foot inside. Architecture is everywhere – where we work, where we travel, where we shop, where we live and where we die; therefore, it is incredibly important that it is taken seriously.

As buildings last for many decades, their long-term functionality must be considered. Energy use and sustainability are important, as is the building’s appearance. This must be considered and designed, with every design decision made for good reason. Like language, buildings can be beautiful or ugly, welcoming or inhospitable. Over the centuries, we have seen many great buildings. Roman, Gothic, Victorian, Norman, Georgian, Edwardian, Tudor and Anglo-Saxon buildings have given us an eclectic combination of architectural styles, and today’s buildings are no different.

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In the new millennium, buildings have become taller and are constructed from new materials; for example, the Millennium Dome is constructed from tensioned fabric over a skeleton of steel. Some people think it is an amazing landmark, while others are less than impressed. A tensile fabric structure creates a visual statement in an outdoor setting, is pleasing to the eye, and has endless benefits. A tensile fabric structure from a company such as http://www.fabricarchitecture.com/ needs very few components, allowing for imaginative and architectural designs.

In this new age of lowering carbon emissions and saving energy, our buildings must be sustainable and energy efficient, with their design paramount to this. Planning, design and construction, good insulation, solar panels and double-glazed windows are all important for an energy-efficient building. Using compact florescent bulbs and energy-efficient appliances also helps to keep carbon emissions low.

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