Sometimes on my walk to work, I stop to stare up at the buildings around me. I’m always struck by the beauty of the architecture. Of course, standing there looking up, you have to be careful to not be struck by bird poop, but thankfully that’s seldom. But seriously, it’s amazing to think about how, even though we design and construct buildings, so often Our Buildings Shape Us.
There are many detailed buildings around the world with rich complexity, age, and history. These structures bring people together to admire their artistry, respect their longevity, and learn from their storied pasts. Throughout time, architectural designs have communicated different meanings. Buildings may appear inviting, suggest importance, or even intimidate us.
Consider the largest amphitheater in the world, the Colosseum, which simultaneously reminds us of the grandeur of the Roman empire, the inevitable decline of any civilization, and the savagery of entertainment. The artistry of the Sydney Opera House in Australia mirrors the structure’s prominence as a venue for some of the most famed performers in the world. One World Trade Center in New York City is a symbol of unity, courage, remembrance, and recovery in the face of unbelievable tragedy.
We may plan, construct, and utilize our buildings, but they shape us as well. Historical landmarks remind us of the lessons of history and current innovations in architecture bring us into the future, each generation finding meaning and inspiration from the buildings that surround them.
It’s another reason why the work we do with equipment can be so important; we never know how what we build today will influence people for decades to come. Take some time to reflect on the buildings that have shaped you and allow this perspective to give you an appreciation for the significance of your own work. It may shape generations.