Buildings & Society
Anthony D. King, the author of Buildings and Society: Essays on the Social Development of the Built Environment, introduces his reader to the idea of what he means by environment and what it does to the people who interact with it. Laying down three main points, those being to "demonstrate the relationship" between people and architecture, to create a new way of looking and understanding the development of historical buildings, and ,finally, taking the two listed points above and creating a timeless, culturally suitable building for this it is important to. He goes on to explain point one by saying although many people have similarities such as family, economy, educations, and religion, they also have great differences such as their leaders' beliefs and their overall population, which directly affects the type of buildings needed. What may work for one society may not be the correct solution for another. Relationships between urban environments and people are what most look at, but King breaks it down further. The most primary example of this is how a family pairs with home, whereas economy pairs with factories and/or offices.
King uses other essays to explain the relationships between social beliefs and architecture. The buildings that he talks about would be hospital/asylum, apartment buildings, and vacation homes. Each one was created because of people's beliefs. Asylums were created because in the 19th century there was a social fear and interest in the mentally ill. The large buildings were built to hold 2000 or more occupants and were created out of the social idea that something needed to be done with these people. This may fall under religious or educational categorization, which King stated earlier in his writing.
He next moves to the apartment building. Although they are socially accepted in the United States, apartment buildings are more favored in Great Britain. This has to do with the social beliefs that apartment buildings display poverty or "ghettos." The social acceptance of a single-family home that Americans believe in differs from that in Great Britain's culture, showing how place and beliefs can create a structural environment.
Finally, King brings up the idea of a vacation home. This falls under the idea of economy. When the economy is good and a person is prosperous, they are able to obtain a vacation home. A vacation home is symbolized with wealth since it takes an individual with decent income to have one. These cultural, global, and economical beliefs have shaped these three individual building types from their physical structure down to their daily usage.
Looking at the different essays that Anthony King conducted allows the reader to get a better understanding of the fact that architecture does not only pertain to the physical environment and structural reassurance, but people's mental and social needs play a huge role in the development of a building. He concluded one essay with the idea that there are four types of people who encounter a building: the designer, the constructor, the owner, and the user. Each of these people have their own personal beliefs that have impacted the environment in which they live and encounter.