The very best buildings are both functional and beautiful

Text: Ivo Nahálka; Photo: Archina Design Studio Prague

Architects must remember that they create something for real people

Despite the building activities performed for the sake of experts, winning prizes in various (architectural) competitions, or building a personal monument, it does not work that way in everyday life. The real humility lies in the fact that I am going to create something – which I have to realize, as much as any other architect – for people, no matter what their preferences and tastes are, what they tend to like best, or what their feelings are. That environment is going to influence them greatly throughout their lives – both through the exterior for the people who walk around it, and for the people who are to live, work, and entertain themselves in that building.

The energies, in this case, are just a given reality. It is true that there are qualities of energy that people do not see but they are far more important to our healthy – both physical and spiritual – lives. An architect is given a gift of talent to create buildings on earth that have, embedded in themselves, all the principles of how such a building should properly look like. Geometrically, in placement, proportion, layout, relative details, color composition, etc. These are the supporting pillars 88 of architecture, like the five elements. That is why there are at least five laws in architecture as well. And one of them is function.

All ideas have potential – you just need to deploy it the right way

The energy comes from the universe in the form of an idea, when one is sitting over a blank piece of paper and has to come up with a building for a certain place that should meet certain criteria and functionalities. You put the first idea on paper, which has basically everything encoded in it, and you just need to develop all the elements of what makes architecture the regular architecture – proportion, size, and shape. Shape, of course, is associated with the flow of energies, where the ideal shapes in the universe are a circle and an oval. This is because the energy in these shapes flows in a vibration system that is close to a human being and has a very positive effect on people’s health – both their mental and physical state.

It is a comprehensive view – all in one. And it is also a view as I perceive it. I feel that I am just a facilitator who gets an idea, develops it on paper and adds some expert knowledge to it. My experience of seeing ideas come in has always convinced me that they already have the potential, that you just need to deploy it in the right way – and it all fully works. You just check the shape, size, and placement. If you look at historical buildings, they all have a function encoded in them, and their appearance indicates, “I am a hotel / a railway station / a town hall / a block of flats”.

Without criticizing, the buildings that have deviated from the path I have just described are very technical. Such buildings have no potential for beauty in detail or colour, they are basically just a purposeful result. In fact, the building has been guided from the beginning by the idea that it will be made of glass or concrete, so it suppresses the regularities as unimportant or secondary. The result is then a uniform building, which basically has no potential for anyone to recognise whether it is a block of flats or an office building, because the glass creates a very anonymous, cold, impersonal envelope, and the architect does not reflect a human being at all – people’s ability to perceive the beauty of the building, the details, the colours. These buildings are basically the same everywhere in the world.

Buildings should make us feel good

I like to go and look at the works of other architects and admire them – not as an architect, but as a person. Unfortunately, I have no reason to go and look at a glass building again. I do not want to criticize this approach, lest anyone takes it personally, but it makes me sad since I cannot see the good that should be there for people, to make them healthy, to make them better, when they work from morning until night in that environment.

At the same time, it is also related to ecology. Most buildings like this do get awards for being environmentally friendly, for being friendly to people – it is true, but unfortunately only on the outside. This is because the materials that are now mostly used are glass, concrete, and iron, which are basically incapable of storing energy – neither heat nor cold. Even if it is freezing outside and the sun shines on the building, it suddenly becomes so warm that it has to be cooled. And cooling is the biggest consumer of electricity, therefore 80% of what is paid for energy consumption goes into the cooling of such buildings. Not to mention the impacts on people’s health. The elements of Feng Shui that relate to how nature heals us – no matter who we are, what our tastes are, how old we are – work well. When people come into nature, they can feel the energy of beauty – with its diversity and vibration, which makes all people feel good immediately – begin to affect them. And buildings should have the same ability, so that we can leave some uplifting heritage behind us in this world.