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Interviews

"This book is for everyone; young, old, architect and non-architect," says Akheel Khan


Akheel Khan shares the inspiration behind his new book, "What is Architecture?"
"This book is for everyone; young, old, architect and non-architect," says Akheel Khan

by GoArchitect Staff

2 months ago


Hi Akheel, please tell us a little about yourself.

I am an Architectural designer, avid reader (of things I'm interested in) and keen learner of beneficial knowledge.

Regarding my relation to the field of architecture, I've always been interested in the composition and design of objects and settings. So from a young age, it seemed like a natural progression that I would get into the field.

Eleven years later from my initial decision to study architecture, despite my undergraduate degree and experience in working for the architectural and design related industries, I still feel very much like a student, keenly observing the role architecture has in my life.

For someone who knows nothing about your work, how would you describe "What is Architecture?"

I would describe it in 3 parts:

Firstly, it's light reading. It's not meant to take a long time to read. It's for contemplation - something to think about and relate to the world around you.

Whether you're an architect looking to see what others think architecture is or you are just a curious individual, it should allow you to complete the book quick enough that you have time to digest and explore the material.

Secondly, the aim was to make it accessible. Accessible not just in price, but in ease of comprehension as well. Hence it is written for ease of reading, so that it is easy to ingest.

Thirdly, the book is aimed at not having a finite ending, although for someone looking for a formal definition with a  little insight, it will give you that. But the main idea is for you to begin to identify patterns of architecture in life. 

What do you hope to share with the world through this book?

The scope of Architecture is too vast to enumerate. It takes time, experience and observation to understand its complexity.

With 'What is Architecture?', the aim is to shed a little light on the significance of it by providing a basic understanding. 'Understanding Architecture' is part of a bigger picture which will hopefully do just that, but in an easily accessible and integrated way.

Why do you think this is a perfect time to create a book like this?

In my opinion, there are many fields which have a blurry definition about them: difficult for people to define and difficult to obtain relevant and accurate information. This leads to misinformation and poor understanding, which ultimately leads to poor choices and the spreading of false information.

In this Age, where information is so easily available and accessible through technology, we should be striving to ensure the authenticity of information as much as possible.

Currently, there is a lack of awareness on what architects do, what their role in society is and why society needs their services.

I believe this an opportune moment to take advantage of and as the youth in this time, it is our duty to provide the answers to those blurry definitions, giving guidance not just for this generation but every other to follow.

So with regards to defining architecture, hopefully this will begin to show people who are interested and people who may wish to pursue the field, what architecture is more accurately about.

Who was the book created for?

This book is for everyone. Young, old, architect and non-architect. However, it is more specifically aimed at undergraduate students who are struggling to pass their degree. It would be advisable for students who are either starting the year or are interested in studying architecture to read this so that they may possess a broad overview of essential concepts which provide the basis necessary to progress in their academic studies.

During second year of my studies, I encountered the problem of grasping what was the difference between architecture and creating a building.

Although this is part of the self discovery of studying architecture, realizations and epiphanies can sometimes come a little too late. With hectic deadlines and exceptional time management, there can sometimes be no room for deep contemplation which will provide the necessary insights required to pass the year. So I sought to address this.

I was often questioned about whether my work was actually architecture, and I felt others also experienced similar frustrations. After we understood what design was, the next question almost everyone had their own opinions about is what exactly architecture was. Of those who had these opinions, some excelled and others lagged behind. So what was the correct path to take?

I tried to see what I found valuable in pieces of architecture all around me. In my city, in my books, in drawings, in pictures, wherever I could engage material which seemed remotely related to architecture, I engaged with.

However I did not have any realization, nor did it suddenly dawn upon me. It was a series of concerted efforts, thought processes, observations and dedication to understanding what elements actually constitute architecture that led me to forming a sensible synthesis of ideas which can be easily understood.

Approximately 5 years after constantly questioning, reasoning and synthesizing information I already knew, I finally penned down what I believed was the summary of all my experiences in defining architecture.

What are you most looking forward to when the book is released?

With 'Understanding Architecture' , I intended to provide a first principles approach toward comprehending what architecture is really about. Looking at that approach, one can imagine that there would be several interpretations and applications of the logic based on the first principles approach which could result in layering of more complex information.

I am excited to see how people respond to it, engage with it and begin to form their own opinions on what architecture is all about. The overarching aim of Understanding Architecture is for our generation and each one to follow, to begin to define what architecture is for us in what seems to be the height of the Information Age. Hopefully this will give us all direction - architects and non-architects - alike into how we will better utilize space in a more meaningful way to project our identities and map our interpretations of life.


What is Architecture? - Understanding Architecture is now available for sale.
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