top of page

Metaphysics of architecture: change, sense, and Purpose

Metaphysics, the philosophy that studies existential beings may also be applied to architecture as well. The notion of metaphysics in architecture is simply comprehensible: it is truly evident. Each individual is surrounded by an environment of shelters of different sizes and shapes. It is seen from the smallest to its gigantic forms and is touched by the texture of its finishes. No matter where the individual is, structures are found everywhere that house the human being. Architecture is tangible in nature and concludes that it truly exists. This idea is simply thought of by any common person, but as designers and architects, the existence of architecture dives deeper than the physical idea; which is known as the concept. The concept, unlike tangible objects; only exists in the mind. Since it is not defined by the senses, it is subjective and unique to each individual. Yet how do these concepts and ideas express the metaphysics of architecture from a different perspective? Do these concepts translate into the existence of it? Or is it just delusions of an overthinker and simply just architecture?


The shelter is the most basic and fundamental necessity for humans to live and survive. From our ancestors who take refuge in caves of dirt and earth, to their great descendants who now build great structures of masses of steel and concrete. Humans seek development and evolution, they are open to new technologies; the way they change and evolve contributes to the way they live.

Historical evolution does not only define the physical change but the reasons why these changes happen and exist in the first place. The statement theorizes that for every object and being in a given place and period, must have a primary cause on why the effect took place. By the same principle of causation, architecture responds to the existence of new ideas and designs solutions to solve issues and conflicts during that time. For instance, the rise and fall of architectural movements and periods exemplify the evolution of design solutions. Ornamentation and decoration of the Renaissance, Baroque, and Rococo periods display motifs, symbolisms, and, stories: the production and abundance of steel and glass during the Industrial Revolution brought the rise of industrial design: and simple and functional design brought by modern architecture to produce economic yet class buildings.

Classical, Gothic, Art Nouveau, Bauhaus, Deconstructivism, Modern; through centuries of years of evolution there is no denying that a number of movements and periods have gradually shaped the concepts and ideas of the architecture of today. There must always be a distinguished cause for a style of architecture to exist.


Sensations are the mental events that exist in the mind. They are sensed individually and are subjective, thus there is no absolute truth or rightness behind the given design. Each individual has their own tastes on what they like or dislike, yet more often than not, the criteria on what they are based on are mostly on the outside appearances such as building technologies, finishes, or the beauty of space presented to them. How about the concepts? Do the concepts that the architects convey reach out to them? Does the concept of the architect exist in the minds of the individual?

Human beings quickly judge what they see which is why judging a book by its cover proves that human visual senses always react first. Although reaction to the aesthetics of the design will be first, the final judgment of the overall design will always be the experience and how the concept plays out. Though the experience is again, subjectively defined by its points, lines, and space on how it will be used; it is up to the ideas of the architect and the designer on how to translate their intended concept. If a living space is supposed to promote comfortability and repose as intended by the designer, it must reflect the sensory experience of the user when the living area is used. A park that encourages an open area for interactivity and communication should be solely built for that same purpose.

The metaphysical aspect of the senses exists because reality is much further than the appearance itself. Unknown to the common human are the messages that the designer wants to convey, but concepts are indirectly realized by the senses and experiences defined by its architecture. The measure of its success determines if the architects’ ideal purpose of the space correctly expresses the ideas for the users. Its metaphysical aspect lies in the designer’s intent on the design.


Architecture exists and is created for a purpose and a reason. It may also deal with evolution but focuses on the needs and wants of not limited to users, stakeholders, owners, and the community. Like humans who must fulfill their purpose before they die, architecture while it stands, must fulfill that meant purpose to the very end.

Structures and buildings live through a cycle; construction and demolition. In the beginning, were the plain horizons and the foundation. After construction, the built product is used by living beings for years. When it becomes too old and worn out to stand on its own, it is demolished and another building will rise again. Yet what is unique to every structure is how and why each has its own way to exist. Condominiums, for example, are built not for housing but in actuality for businessmen and developers who wanted to capitalize money for a good investment. In a forgotten period, independent theaters were important forms of entertainment in the 1960s. After years of its popularity, malls soon grow and created their own cinemas and the independent theaters faded out to demolition. Old yet cultural and historical buildings stayed longer because of value, tourism strives and helps the economy of the community.

From a simple house that shelters the family to large and tall buildings to capitalize on the owner’s investment, it is no denying that architecture is an existential being. The notion that architecture simply exists is evident but what lies a boundary between the people and the architects, are the so-called concepts and ideas. The metaphysics of architecture proposes the idea that architecture does not exist by tangible means such as the bodily composite form but to prove that it has a soul. Like a living being, architecture changes, senses, and reasons. Like a living being, architecture evolves through time as it blends in with the contextual environment of a given period. Like a living being, architecture represents the needs and wants of the users and are drivers of architectural innovation and experimentation; and like a human being, each is created with a purpose.

Simply put, the existence of architecture and concepts may not exist at all, if it were not for you.






Britannica(n.d) “Problems In Metaphysics” Retrieved from

Newton, W. (April 2014) “St.Thomas Aquinas and Abortion”.from Faith Magazine. Retrieved from st-thomas-aquinas-and-abortion


bottom of page