Task 2: When designing a building, the most important factor is intended use of the building rather than its outward appearance. To what extent do you agree or disagree?
Introduction: refer to the statement – many people believe this. Disagree.
Paragraph 2: function is important. (1) shops – big glass windows are ugly, but they are necessary to attract customers (2) housing – high-rise apartments are ugly, but they are the only solution to provide housing in city centres.
Paragraph 3: outward appearance can be combined with function in some cases. (1) Sometimes it is not possible (e.g. multi-storey car parks). (2) historic buildings show, however, that it is often possible to combine function and beauty – eg. Paris.
Conclusion: in design, the function and appearance of buildings is equally important.
Many people consider that the function of a building should be the primary consideration at the design stage. The appearance of the building from the outside is a relatively unimportant factor. While a building must serve its intended purpose, I disagree that this is necessarily the most important factor in the design.
The intended purpose of a building is, of course, very important. In terms of commercial design, most shop facades, for example, have large glass windows, so that passers-by will be attracted by the goods on display. This is essential for the purpose of sales, although these shop fronts are an eyesore, and do not blend in with the conservation of historic buildings of which they often form an ugly part. From the perspective of housing design, the population density in many cities is extremely high, and exorbitant rents are charged for land. In order to make city living affordable, hideous high-rise buildings are the only solution to provide apartments for urban dwellers.
The design of buildings to serve a specific function, however, does not mean that their aesthetic qualities should be ignored. In some countries, there has been a recent revival of interest in the architectural design of buildings. Although the construction of ugly utilitarian structures like multi-storey car parks is an inevitable consequence of modem living, new or renovated houses, shops and offices can combine pleasing design with their useful function. The centres of cities like Paris show that it is possible for historic buildings to possess character, which is not incompatible with their commercial purposes as stores, offices and apartments.
In conclusion, I believe that the outward appearance is just as important for planners and architects to consider as the function of buildings.
Housing and architecture:
• shop facades
Meaning: the front of shops.
Example: The shop facades, with their enormous glass windows and attractive displays, entice shoppers to go in and browse.
• to be an eyesore
Meaning: to be ugly to look at.
Example: The modem high-rise apartment blocks in the city centre are an eyesore.
• to blend in with
Meaning: to be similar to or to match the things around.
Example: The new hotel does not blend in with the historic buildings which surround it.
• high-rise buildings
Meaning: tall, modern buildings, such as offices or apartments.
Example: The centre of my city is now full of high-rise buildings, mainly offices and apartments, and the city has lost its old charm.
Meaning: a large building with several floors.
Example: In my opinion, multi-storey car parks are ugly, noisy places, while at night they are deserted and dangerous.
Traditional versus modern:
• to conserve historic buildings
Meaning: to protect important old buildings and prevent them from being damaged or destroyed.
Example: It is important to conserve historic buildings because of their beauty and cultural significance.
• a revival of interest in
Meaning: the process of something becoming more popular again.
Example: There has recently been a revival of interest in traditional music and songs.
• an inevitable consequence
Meaning: certain to happen and unable to be avoided or prevented.
Example: Some people believe that the loss of traditional cultures is an inevitable consequence of globalisation.
• to possess character
Meaning: to have an interesting or unusual quality.
Example: Whereas most modem buildings look very similar, the architecture that has survived from the past possesses character.
• to be incompatible with
Meaning: not able to exist along with another thing because of basic differences. Example: The way of life of indigenous peoples is incompatible with modem cultures.
• population density
Meaning: the number of people in a place when compared with the size of the place.
Example: Tokyo is a city which has one of the highest population densities in the world.
• exorbitant rents
Meaning: rents that are much too high and which people can only pay with difficulty.
Example: One factor in city life which migrants experience are the exorbitant rents which they have to pay for a flat or house.
• urban dwellers
Meaning: people who live in a city or town.
Example: The main reason that prevents urban dwellers from making friends with their neighbours is fear of strangers.
• the aesthetic qualities of something
Meaning: the qualities related to beauty and understanding the beauty of something.
Example: One advantage of studying the arts is that students learn to appreciate the aesthetic qualities of paintings, music or literature.
• hideous [adjective] Meaning: very ugly.
Example: I think that most modern buildings are hideous.
• utilitarian [adjective] Meaning: designed to be useful and practical, not attractive.
Example: The beautiful old church was demolished, and replaced by a utilitarian block of offices.
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