Through the years, cities have offered historical tours, while architectural landmarks have offered tours of their own facility.
It is a way to introduce tourists a view of the city or landmark, while offering a history lesson.
Home tours offer a different view, directed more toward local residents as well as visitors, with a limited opportunity to see older and/or modern residential architecture often with an emphasis on interior and landscape design, as well.
When visiting a city for the first time, you may first opt for that city tour as a way of introduction. From that, you may learn of niches you may further want to explore. This can lead to a desire to see various forms of the local architectural history and development.
For instance, let’s say you are on a visit to London. First, you may want to take a half-day tour on one of their iconic red double-decker buses. This will orient you and give you an outside glimpse of some of the city. You catch a view of some of the concrete buildings, similar to those you may have seen in Washington, DC, Chicago, or San Diego. Curious, you learn of a tour that will give you more insight into this architecture, built sometime in the mid-20th century and known as Brutalist in design, the name taken from French, Béton brut meaning raw concrete.
Such tours, whether taken of the 19th-century architecture of Chandigarh, India or of art deco design in Miami, are offered in almost any location around the world including, perhaps, your own hometown.
Architecture through the Eyes of Architects
These days, there is at least one company offering a look at architecture with architects. Not those who have necessarily designed the homes or buildings, but those who appreciate the design and theme of their city. The good thing is you don’t have to be an architect, yourself, to appreciate these tours.
Guiding Architects offers tours in 41 cities of 22 countries throughout the world to various groups including developers, university staff and students, and public authorities. However, many of the tours have room for a lone wolf to join in, be it for half-a-day or multiple days of viewing architecture. From Rio de Janeiro to Germany’s Gerling Quarter, or Doha in Qatar to the riverways and walkways of Amsterdam, you can get an education from an architectural perspective.
If there is an architectural tour where you live and you haven’t taken it, you should. You may also wish to look up similar tours in neighboring communities. Take a weekend trip to learn more about a city you have been curious about, but haven’t yet found the time to visit. And, when you are on vacation to a new spot for the first time, a city tour or architectural tour will have a lot to offer!