View from side street to cathedral, Ovieto – Italy (1)

In the post 5 Basic Human Concerns in Architecture we briefly discussed 5 architectural concerns. In this post we’ll describe another one of the fundamental of human concerns – Exploration – in more detail.

Another very important basic concern seen from the evolutionary perspective is the need to explore. We need to search for new sources of food and to secure ourselves for possible threats.

Exploring an alley in Italy

A good example of this need to explore we can see in the picture on the right made in the City Orvieto in the southwestern region Umbria in Italy, with a view from a side street toward the Gothic cathedral. Standing in this dark alley we see a bright space ahead, a promise of new information. We start fantasizing what kind of space it will be, will it be a big open square with trees or a square with a big fountain or will it be completely empty. We are curious of the new information which is waiting for us to discover.

The need to explore

  • The promise of new information ahead (like in the picture on the right) fascinates us human beings;
  • Our curiosity is triggered by our environment in a way that makes us feel the need to explore this environment.
  • We try to make a hypothesis of what will be coming next.
  • This anticipation of a variety of possibilities in the end then creates a sense of fascination in us.


Do you have any good examples of Exploration?

We’re always interested in other examples of Exploration. If you have a good example, please let us know! You can comment about it below or send us an email with pictures and explanation at:

  • experiencingarchitecture [at]



  1. HILDEBRAND, G. (1999) The view from a side street toward the cathedral, Orvieto. In HILDEBRAND, G. (1999) Origins of Architectural Pleasure (p. 52). California: University of California Press – affiliate link

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