An Identical Theory about Architecture on the Example of the Berlin Wall

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Updated: Mar 31, 2023
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Architecture has been created with anthropic purposefulness to satisfy different human activities. Hence, our activities have been shaped or limited by the architectural spaces which created by ourselves. Architecture is as a pro-dabbler discipline, in order to propose a better project with all kind of needs, it needs to absorb knowledge from different disciplines, extracts the essence and exerts them into the projects. However, the user’s behavior or habit is one of the indispensable aspects that architects must take into consideration during the of architectural design processes.

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The keywords that architects being discussed daily such as function, circulation, façade, and egress, etc. are the crucial points of this discipline.

Architects inject the behavioral antidote into human and change the human behaviors with their designs. The character design company Pictoplasma often create characters without sign any narratives or characteristics to them, people often tell the personality of different characters by how the character looks. However, not all characters will appear on screen by how it looks. Different personality and behavior will finally give the character set to the characters. The identical theory also applies to architecture, the Berlin wall, and the Brazil World Cup Gymnasium are the representative examples that show the rejection of the human behavior to architecture, the user of architecture does not often act how architects want them to be. Jeremy Bentham proposed the Panopticon in 1791, the proposal that allows the guard inspects the prisoner in the center of the jail, but not allow the prisoner to see the guard from the cells. There are still prisoners that reject the use of the prison and escapes from it even this great idea is applied to most prisons nowadays. Hence, disparate quality of behaviors will finally result in rejections to the original purpose of architecture.

The movie Seven, Seven Samurai as well as the story Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs from Grimms’ Fairy Tales that are all featuring with the number seven. The number seven in these examples represents a series of characteristics that can finally result in different behaviors. In the movie Seven the criminal tries to restrict victim in different architectural spaces, the criminal forced the changing of victims’ behaviors by taking control over the architectural spaces. We often think that the examples above show the idea of the injection from architecture to behaviors, the architectural taking control over and finally caused the awful human behavior. Inversely, this is the invasion of the human behavior to architecture. In this case, the criminal manipulated the spaces and changes its original function. The interrelationship between architecture and behaviors are sophisticated, architecture tries to force and restricts human behaviors with different methods. Nevertheless, behavior rejects the idea of control, several examples show that the behavior is now rejecting architecture. Finally, the user’s behavior inversely manipulates and changes different architectural spaces.

The Injection: the force of the idea “control” into the user

Systematical design

Nowadays, all the things are precisely designed with different functions in order to fulfill certain uses. We first think that architecture or other design only based on the demand of the users. The producer Jeff Sharpe states in his presentation in the talk with TED X Austin that “The only way of the truly successful design is if they’re part of a system, they are one part of the much broader system is the only way that they can be successful, the impact of design as a part of the system significant increases the learning rate and engagement upward of 25%”. Without taking users demand as the consideration the designer provides the scientific data, which shows that the space that is designed for work and study scientifically increased the engagement rate through a scientific method. The sense of control from design to human behavior successfully examines in this example. Another successful example that we often see in everyday life is the use of color in different types of restaurant.

The fast-food restaurant often designed with a series of requirements, according to a research from The Restaurant times, The researcher Restro Gyaan examines how color can psychologically affect the sales of different types of restaurants. Most fast-food and quick service restaurants often have their store decorated with either bright shades of red or yellow. According to the research “Both these colors elevate the heart rate and blood pressure of the customers and create an exciting emotion, which makes them eat fast and leave.” (Gyaan) McDonalds and KFC are the two of those most famous chain fast-food restaurants that want their customers to adopt the idea of “rushing in and out” and decorated their store with these two colors. In contrast, warmer shades of red, orange and brown are the earthly color which stimulates the appetite of the customers also makes them stay longer.

Gyaan goes on and states “Dark shades of red, maroon, warm orange, and brown tend to boost the appetite of the customers making them an appropriate color choice for fine dining restaurants.” (Gyaan) The use of the earthly color often occurs in fine dining restaurants letting the customer stay longer stands for a better food and better catering environment which earns the restaurant public praise from customers. Inversely, the use of the color blue and purple will be curbing the appetite from customers. “Purple has been associated with toxins and thus decrease the appetite of customers.” Hence, most restaurants try to avoid the use of purple as a choice of their decoration color.

The research done by Restro Gyaan examines the psychology of the use of color passively accepted by the user, which changes their behavior in the restaurants. In addition, the Theme hotel Madonna Inn is a motel that located at San Luis Obispo composite with 110 theme hotel rooms. Each of the 110 guest rooms and suites is uniquely designed and themed, which provide the customer with an immersive experience of different themes. When the motel opened for business in 1958, it quickly became a landmark on the central coast of California. The success of this hotel shows that rather than passively accepts the control from architecture to the user. The user sporadically and subjectively chooses to be controlled by the architecture.

Furthermore, they even immerse to the control and enjoy the control. Moreover, the famous “Bilbao effect” is one another idea of how architects changing the behavior in a macro way. The opening of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao captured a great number of immigrants from other places to the city of Bilbao in Spain, which bring renewal and vigor to the city of Bilbao that caused the recovery of the deserted city. The Guggenheim Museum provides the idea that architecture can not only control the user within it but, on a macroscopic scale, controls and changes the users’ behavior outside of the architecture.

Architectural terminology and deliverables

As architecture students, we often design our projects by having a comprehensive understanding of all kinds of aspects. The term: Circulation, Egress, Program, Function, Space, Program, Façade, Wall, Stair, Light, Ventilation, Context, Fenestration, Spatial organization, Walkability, Mullion, Anthropogenic. Are some of the architectural terms that architecture students or architects have to take into consideration. Notably, these are the architectural terms that are directly dealing with how the user behaves in one project and helps architects control users’ behavior in the projects. In particular, Circulation is one of the most important terms that directly deal with the user’s behavior in one project. Circulation in one hand can be interpreted as simple as the inhabitants’ movement in the project, while it can also be fun and dynamic.

A fun and dynamic circulation can further change the inhabitants’ experience in the one project. In addition, before an architecture project gets built, architects and architecture students find their particular way to express their projects or impress their clients. Architectural deliverables such as Perspective drawings, Rendering, Architectural Models, Elevations Drawings, Section Drawings, and Plans are very important to a good project. Architects and students spend a plenty of their times to create a better way which subconsciously changing the clients’ comprehension towards the projects.

To enumerate, one of most important perspective drawing, Street in the air done, by Alison and Peter Smithson’s successfully examines the idea of how architecture can be represented in a dynamic fashion that shows how inhabitants really behave in the project and emphasize the user’ experience. The architectural terminology can be interpreted in different ways in order to give a different interpretation to the use of different programs. In addition, the architectural deliverables positively help architects to impress the clients. The control over the user’s behavior clearly appears in all the stages of the design of one architectural project. 

Rejection: The repudiation from human behavior to architecture

Duplicity of characteristic

Pictoplasma is a company that creates different characters without any narrative, people would create a narrative base on the appearance of them. However, not all characters identity will be assigned to the way it looks. Pictoplasma, often design colorful cartoonist characters on the left with different appearances. In stereotype, we can tell that the first character would likely to be a dancer by how the character is wearing baggy pants and his motion expressing a sense of the pop dancing. Moreover, the second character is holding a gun, with the tattoos warping around his topless body, no doubt, we can consider him to be a gangster. Nevertheless, there are still characters like the third one that can be found in the Pictoplasma’s website.

We often think that Ronald McDonald is the clown character with a moderate temper that often appears in the children’s play place. Assigned by different behavior and actions, the two Ronald McDonalds here seems different than the way it used to be. Moreover, the upside down faces appearing on the internet as memes, which trying to express the ambiguous emotions, by first glance we think that the character is smiling, the face with a moderate mood. When we look at the picture upside down it more likely for us to see a face with a combination of the sad and mad emotions. The upside down faces is an obvious way for us to observe the duplicity of all kinds of characteristics. Behaviors as the derivatives of the emotion and characteristics adapt the same quality from them, deeply, behavior does not always happen how it supposed to be. Hence, the duplicity characteristics and behavior sporadically deceives and rejects its nature. 

Rejection of architectur

The Panopticon is a type of institutional building that designed by Jeremy Bentham to present the idea of control over human behaviors. Physically it is impossible for the single watchman to observe all the cells at once, but the building doesn’t provide any vision from the individual cells to the watchman. Hence, the fact that the criminals can’t know whether they are being watched or not, so they are compelled to regulate their own behaviors psychologically. Bentham described the Panopticon as “a new model of obtaining the power of mind over mind, in a quantity hitherto without example.” (Bentham) in order to show the sense that, architecture as a building can constrain and restrain people’s behaviors. Nevertheless, the psychology of Panopticon can only control most of the criminals but not all of them, sporadically, some criminals still escapes from prison. The movie Prison Break even examines different kinds of ways to avoid the psychology of Panopticon and escapes from prison.

One another example shows the rejection of behavior to architecture is the Brazil World Cup Gymnasiums. Most world cup gymnasiums are originally designed to hold all kinds of sports events. Nonetheless, the Gymnasiums which originally was holding the Brazil World Cup is now abandoned by the societies due to lack of the maintenance costs. Some of them are now even become homes for the homeless. The original user of this gymnasium changed from athletes to homeless, the behavior from the Brazil society rejects original designated function of this architecture, finally assigned them a new interpretation. Berlin Wall was a guarded concrete barrier that divided the city Berlin into two parts from 1961 to 1989.

This pieces of the wall were originally constructed by the German Democratic Republic as a separation between West Berlin and East Berlin. Society changes over time, the unification of Germany finally caused the destruction of the Berlin wall. The separation of was no longer needed. The Berlin was separated into different pieces finally changed its original function, now as monuments and exhibits in the galleries all over the world. Similar to the Pictoplasmas’ Characters and the Upside down face memes, these three architecture examples shows that the users’ behaviors sometimes rejects the original function of the architecture and even assign a new interpretation to the architecture. 

Invasion: the inbreak of human behavior to architecture.

A series of behaviors

Seven Samurai with seven different positive characteristics has been suggesting in the movie Seven Samurai: Takashi Shimura – the leader of the seven samurais, characterizes as the spirit of the samurai. He is the composite of all the good traits of other samurais. Toshio Inaba – represents the wisdom he has the remarkable ability to foresee. Daisuke Kato – represents the friendship and loyalty he chooses loyalty as the norm of his samurai spirit. Seiji Miyaguchi – represents the power and modesty. He was able to accomplish most of the tasks but never flaunt his accomplishments. Minoru Chiaki – represents the optimistic. His charm and wit maintain his comrades’ good cheer in the face of adversity. Isao Kimura – represents the potential or the future.

The young untested samurai which already has the ability to tell the right from wrong. Toshiro Mifune – the humorous, tough mercurial and temperamental, character who initially claims to be a samurai. However, the story Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs from Grimms’ Fairy Tales that are also featuring with the number seven, which examines the seven characteristics of dwarfs with negative behaviors in the story. Doc – the leader of all seven dwarfs which stands for the combination or the prototype of all other dwarfs. Grumpy – the name of this dwarf is not hard to explain as it literally meaning as a surly or ill-tempered dwarf.

Happy – the name of this dwarf is happy which often noted for the positive meaning “fortunate and convenient” however, in this story it is better to interpret “happy” as happy accidents, which sporadically occurs when gets people excessively happy; Sleepy – the dwarf that always inclined to sleep. Dopey – the dwarf that often stupefied by sleep or drugs. Bashful – instead of using the word shy, write use bashful as substitutes for the name of this dwarf. Point out that this dwarf is just full of bash. Finally Sneezy – is the dwarf who sneezes a lot in the story which represent a sense of illness and weakness. The seven negative names assign seven disparate characteristics to different dwarfs, which also implies the different behaviors expresses in this story.

The invasion of behaviors

The two different series of behaviors above shows that different characteristics will finally result in disparate behaviors to individuals. Architecture tends to control human behaviors in all different ways. Reversely, different behavior tends to manipulate and change architecture. It is not hard to imagine an architectural scene which derivatives from different behaviors. For example, the movie Seven Samurai presents a series of samurais with different behaviors, the samurai Minoru Chiako represents the optimistic. His charm and wit maintain his comrades’ good cheer in the face of adversity. In my opinion, a white sinuous form of cuboid space can represent the optimistic of this character. The sinuous represents all the difficulties that the character has been through, moreover, rather than other colors, white, gives a sense of brightness and stands for the optimistic of this character. Toshiro Mifune – the humorous, tough mercurial and temperamental, character who initially claims to be a samurai.

A colorful sphere would be assigned to this character, the sphere means no spiky and the smoothness surface which often stands for someone easy to get along with. Rather than assign different architectural space to different behaviors, practically, different behaviors tend to occur in different architectural spaces. In relation to the story Snow White and Seven Dwarfs, another movie seven presented seven sins: Envy, Sloth, Pride, Wrath, Gluttony, Lust, and Greed. Significantly, each one of the Dwarfs represents one of the sins that presented in the movie: Grumpy stand for wrath; Sleepy stands for Sloth. Etc., each one of them represents an extreme behavior of the modern world. All these human behaviors have taken place under the context of architecture. For instance: the Gluttony part of the movie presents an obesity guy eat without any limit and finally died in front of a private apartment room.

However, the situation would change if the guy was eating in a public restaurant rather than in the private room. Hence, all the behaviors choose to occur in a specific architectural space, invades and manipulates architecture. Rather than the three example presented above, the street in Hong Kong shows another idea of how behavior is invading architecture. The picture shows that the commercial billboards is covering almost fifty percent of the picture. Behind the commercial billboards is the residential building. However, the human behavior caused the invasion of the billboards. Billboards are now covering the façade of the residential tower and assign the tower new residential qualities.


The interrelationship between architecture and behaviors examined in three parts, the architecture injects to the idea of control and changes human behaviors. Architects or designers tend to use different methods such as the design as a system, the psychology of the use of color, etc. to control the user’s behaviors. However, sporadically, the idea of control rejects by different user’s behaviors, examples like the Brazil gymnasium and the rejection to the panopticon psychology. Finally, human behavior invades and changes the architecture, different behaviors tend to occur in disparate architectural spaces or even assign new qualities to those spaces. 

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An Identical Theory about Architecture on the Example of the Berlin Wall. (2023, Mar 27). Retrieved from