When does a Building become Architecture?

By Nathan Murray

There may be different opinions and perspectives on this, but I will make a brief attempt based on my own viewpoint. I believe that Buildings by definition are an enclosure to house some identifiable function—animate or inanimate—or to provide shelter and protection for something from outside elements.

To enter into the world of Architecture, this building involves spatial qualities that take on and serves human values and experience. It reaches out and touches people and their special life activities and imbues this enclosure with meaning, with artfulness, and a dedication to craft. There may be a dialogue in 3 dimensions or beyond that is created between people and their shelter that begins to inspire, teach, and uplift in some way to elevate the human experience. There may be a story that is told as one walks through and experiences the space through use, time, and different activities. It is memorable, worthy of celebration because it touches people and enriches life in a way that inspires us to talk about it and share it.

A recent example of this from TSA Architects is Meadow Peak at Summit Vista, an assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing center in Taylorsville, Utah. This center was conceived and developed around the idea of bringing the world to this special community. Realizing that most residents are a captured audience, the activities, and events for life along the spectrum of very personal to very social are provided within. Nature and mountain views are abundant and reachable to every resident. The entire circulation promenade follows a south to north pathway looking out to the beautiful native landscape and views of the Wasatch Mountains. Every effort was made to adjoin exterior gardens and spaces to the interior, whether resident room, activity and dining spaces, or interior patios and living areas. In addition, activities and amenities brought from outside in the community have been integrated into the shared public spaces. Residents have the choice to be by themselves or to whatever level of socialization they would like as their “front patios” lead to corner shared patios, living rooms, dining rooms, and even to the great room, where special events such as family gatherings, concerts and holiday could be celebrated by all. These spaces spill over to one another as overflows and as previously mentioned flow to outside patios and gardens.

We literally created a place where we all would like to visit or be visited and bring our families, whatever the makeup.