Understanding The Link Between Art, Nature, Architecture, & Travel

One of the most common connections I see made as an undergraduate architecture professor is between that of art and nature. More specifically, the presence of designs in nature that are now idolized and commercialized in modern day architecture.

Surely you have seen patterns in nature — whether it be the radial pattern of the sun or the unsteady makeup of an ant hill — being used as inspiration for a multi-million dollar school, church, or apartment complex. In this post, I want to discuss one of the ways I believe to be most important for those pursuing art, architecture, or natural science degrees. It is the importance of traveling, and why the experiences and real-world knowledge you gain cannot be beat. The knowledge that you learned in the classroom finally clicks when you see the real world examples and apply the knowledge first-hand.

In my own example, I discuss the trip I had to Iran. I went to Tehran for three days, and there I was amazed by the architecture upon landing. Taking from influence of ancient Egyptian and modern Western architecture, I was surprised to see the diverse array and combination of multiple styles into one. Instead of seeing these in a textbook in a lecture hall, I was able to see them firsthand while traveling. Next, I took a bus to Tabriz, got my hiking sticks, and climbed Eynali, a mountain range in Tabriz. I was able to see the nature, the change in air pressure, the clouds, and the other facts that I had read about in my biology textbook. However, for once, it was by experiencing it.

Never again will I forget these tidbits of knowledge because they are now associated with other experiences — hands on ones that I gained through traveling — that carry mental weight.