Architecture: Human-Oriented Art and Philosophy
Natalia Buturlintseva is an expert having an interesting and unusual approach to architecture. She manages to combine different sciences, art, and philosophy in her work. The expert believes that one can hardly do architecture properly without a deep knowledge of human psychology and entrepreneurship. An architect shapes space and therefore influences all spheres of human life, people’s inner state, and worldview of the residents of a particular environment.
Chief Architect of the Stupino Metal Construction Plant
Natalia Buturlintseva was trained as an architect and is a philosopher at heart. The expert approaches her profession with great depth and consciousness. She is a multi-talented person willing to develop in different areas and combine knowledge and experience into a single multidimensional layer making it possible to perceive the world in a broader way.
In her interview with the Global Women Media news agency, Natalia Buturlintseva talked about the background of her choice to tie her professional path with architecture and psychology. She shared her view of the most interesting nuances of her work and her vision of a modern architect.
– How did you start your career in architecture? Why did you decide to devote your life to this profession?
– To start with, I was born and grew up in a family engaged in architecture for many generations. Generally speaking, I just did not have a chance to choose another profession. However, during my studies, I was really excited by architecture and started being passionate about it.
In my childhood, I was taught to appreciate the beauty of the world around me and to feel space. Not everyone actually has that quality. Some people walking down the street can’t even imagine how strongly architecture influences them. However, it inevitably affects all of us: we grow up in a certain environment, which shapes our perception of the world and many of our habits irrespective of the fact whether we like that or not.
Each person fulfils him- or herself in a particular field of activity. Architecture is my vocation. I feel space with all my nerve endings, fingertips, heart, and soul.
For me, architecture is not just creativity and science. It is also a deep philosophy. Through buildings and public spaces, one can trace the spirit of the time, in which they were created, understand how people lived and what tastes, needs, and mentalities they had.
In the Soviet film titled ‘The Irony of Fate, or Enjoy Your Bath!’, there is a phrase saying that the work of a teacher is not as noticeable as that of a doctor but it is no less important and responsible. In my opinion, that idea also can be applied to architecture. Although the result of the work of an architect has a very concrete visual expression (for example, a completed building), it actually has a much deeper meaning.
– In your opinion, what are your most significant and interesting professional architectural projects?
– In my practice, I had a period when I was almost completely free creatively. I set up a studio and worked on private projects: houses, apartments, and offices. Many of them were very interesting, especially the ones where I had to do my best and come up with complicated solutions. However, I would like to tell you about another phase of my professional path.
The period of my professional development associated with reconstruction and restoration was very important for me. I worked on buildings of federal importance, monuments, and religious buildings. Probably, that was when I felt the peak of the fulfilment of my potential.
Architects are always especially passionate about everything related to reconstruction and restoration. That kind of work requires a great deal of knowledge and experience. At the same time, it is also incredibly inspiring: it gives you a chance to be in touch with history.
On the one hand, in restoration and reconstruction, it is important that the architect clearly understands what he or she has to do to restore the building and not to change it according to his or her vision. On the other hand, historic buildings are often reorganised for a new purpose. For example, an estate can be turned into a museum. In that case, the architect needs to clearly understand how to preserve the uniqueness and identity of the architecture, to expand its functionality, and adapt it for new goals.
Reconstruction and restoration requires thorough research work. It is necessary to study a huge amount of knowledge and to select only important and valuable things that should be conveyed to people through the years and centuries. Connecting times (history and modernity) is my passion. I believe those were some of the most meaningful projects for me.
– Today, you are the chief architect at a plant. What are your professional responsibilities? What are the most interesting and the most challenging aspects of your work?
– There is an amazing connection between me and plants. I am literally attracted to them like a magnet, that’s why there were many of them in my life. Today, I am the Chief Architect at the Stupino Metal Construction Plant. For me, that’s a kind of experiment and something new.
In fact, I don’t deal directly with architectural tasks a lot. My work is more about establishing communication. Architects who need metal structures for one project or another come to us. I help them understand the variety of products of the plant, tell them about the nuances of each material, and explain whether the product is suitable for this or that particular purpose.
Generally speaking, I am a communicator. I really like that. I managed to combine two fields that interest me: architecture and communication with people.
The most interesting thing about my work is that each day is different. That’s largely thanks to the fact that I interact with very different people. I like that, in my work, I need to present information in a format understandable to a specific person. That requires an individual approach.
I have discovered that ability a long time ago. I can find the right words for different people. That turned out to be very important in the field of architecture.
– You are a very multi-talented person. You also provide consulting services related to entrepreneurship. How does that activity relate to your direct profession?
– In fact, my range of interests related to consulting is a bit broader than just the topic of business and finance. However, those two areas are directly related to architecture.
There is a stereotypical belief that a good artist should always be a little hungry. Today, in my opinion, that approach is no longer relevant. Of course, it’s necessary to work for the sake of your cause and for the good of art. At the same time, the work of the artist should be worthily paid. That also concerns the work of architects.
The notion of ‘the wheel of life balance’ is widely discussed today. It is important to make sure that all aspects of one’s development are balanced. If a person is a true master of his or her profession but is not satisfied in financial terms, that will find its reflection in other areas of life, for example, in the form of suffering or dissatisfaction with the world around and will be expressed in the person’s creativity. A very simple example: many masterpieces of art describe pain and sadness rather than love that people should actually share with the world around them.
When a person creates something, he or she puts a piece of him- or herself into that. If he or she is happy and has no problems (including financial ones), he or she fills his or her work with happiness.
In my opinion, it is especially important to spread love through architectural projects. Architecture is art that we can see without visiting museums and every person gets in touch with it consciously or unconsciously.
If delving into practical aspects rather than philosophical, the knowledge of entrepreneurial aspects is very important for an architect. Like a good entrepreneur, he or she must clearly understand what, why, and for whom he or she creates. The architect must also be able to calculate the feasibility of the project and its profitability.
Apart from entrepreneurship and financial management, I am very interested in psychology and theta healing. I believe, those fields are also directly linked to architecture.
– What is theta healing? How did you come from architecture to psychology?
– At some moment, I decided that I no longer wanted to do what I had been doing previously. I left architecture and devoted myself to the study of a new sphere, to psychology of thinking (and psychology of people in general) and theta healing. The latter can be described as energy practices based on the profound philosophy about the inner world of a person. The main thing these fields of knowledge taught me was to understand myself.
At first, I thought that my parents were those who chose my professional path. I was literally crushed by understanding that I had followed their lead rather than thought about what I wanted for myself. When I immersed myself in psychology, I became more aware of everything that was going on within me. I understood my motives, aspirations, and desires better. Then I came to the conclusion that my parents had really given me the best. They had helped me find the most suitable path.
Architecture is a difficult profession requiring huge effort, responsibility, attention, knowledge, and experience in several fields at once. If this path isn’t chosen because of your interest and love, it will not be easy.
After I sorted out my feelings and realised that architecture was really my vocation, I started accepting all challenges and obstacles with gratitude.
That's how I came back to architecture. I understood that I could hardly live without it. At the same time, it was not a ‘step backwards’ but a transformation, a fusion of old and new knowledge. I realized a simple but crucially important thing: doing architecture without studying and understanding people is simply impossible. After all, every creative product by architects is made for people.
– What is your vision of yourself in the future? Will you still be an architect and communicator? Will you become an expert in some new discipline?
– Today, I’m gradually combining all the fields of knowledge that interest me. I think I will soon have a project bringing architecture and psychology together.
The symbol, a kind of message in architecture, is the subject of my further research. It is also about philosophy, thinking, and knowledge. I find that very interesting because symbols can tell you a lot about their epoch and its people. They’re everywhere in architecture. That topic can probably become a unifying link for my new ‘symbiotic’ projects. It can also connect my knowledge and my dad’s research.
– What would you wish the whole world?
– I have one big wish that I think about all the time. I would like the world to be ruled by love. I would like every person to find the strength to love him- or herself and everything that surrounds him or her. That’s the only way for people to find their purpose in life, see the limitless opportunities, and make the world a better place.
I would also like to thank my parents. They gave me the most precious thing they had: that very love we talk so much about. I am grateful to them for who I am and for the life I have.
Marina Volynkina, Viktoria Gusakova, Global Women Media news agency
Translated by Nikolay Gavrilov