Form follows Function

As Architects we hear this all the time. Form follows function.

Remember those phrases that stand out from Architecture school. Burned in your mind. This one is the most popular. Let’s dig into what it means.

Don’t design Architecture for beauty sake.

It must function first. So how do we do this when we have pinterest and houzz and images thrown at us daily on instagram. Don’t most your clients come to you with an idea of how they want it to look.

Designing around a look has backed a tremendous amount of architects into a corner. It looks good. But add people and it falls apart.

Architecture has to serve the people who inhabit it first.

Focus on the people. What are their needs? How do they live or work? This will direct the function. Then form will follow.

What happens many times is the saying form follows function leads many Architects to think that function drives the form. That the function sets the stage and it directs the form. Tells it what it needs to be.

This isn’t true. Form follows. Meaning it comes after. It doesn’t mean it accepts the function without question.

When we look at great works vs so so everyday buildings. There’s this thought that a steril building has been driven by the function. Like a warehouse. A hospital or office building. Those are examples of form following function. Wrong. Those are examples of function without form. The form was never part of the equation.

To create Architecture. Beautiful Architecture you have to work on the aesthetic. It’s necessary to complete the needs of the design.

On your next project think about function. How will the space interact with the human element? Then think about form. What will form bring to the design?

Form follows function. It’s not told what to do by it.