Welcome to Part 8 of my World Building blog series :D I’ll be covering just about every topic I can think of that goes into world crafting. If you have any topics you’d like me to write about, please let me know :)
Architecture is one of the first things you notice when you step into a new place and can feel the full impact of being somewhere different. Obviously you’re probably not going to have pictures to accompany your text, but that doesn’t mean you can’t paint a mental image for your readers.
Take a look at gorgeous architecture from around the world, make your selections for styles that best suit the world you’ve made, or mix and match something entirely new. Talk about the bold colors, the intricate stonework, the sweeping vistas with elegant towers. Find pictures for yourself and use them as references for your writing. There’s so much you can play with that will help pull your readers into the story.
It’s a good idea for you to have a complete picture of your locations in your head even if you don’t go into exclusive detail in the text. This subject is also where your previous setup of your geography and weather are going to come in handy. Your architectural style are going to be influenced by these. Take a brief study of architecture and understand why some cultural choices were made. What style best suits the climate and geography you’ve picked for your locations? Do people need to be kept warm, kept cool, protected from wind, flooding, etc.? How can you incorporate that into your designs? Some fun examples of architectural climate control are Persian windcatchers used to cool the air, ancient Roman heated flooring and the houses on pillars in Hoi An to deal with annual flooding.
When it comes to the actual construction of your cities, homes, etc. consider what your common building materials are. What is readily available to you and what would be considered a luxury? If you have mountains you have a ready supply of stone to work with, if you’re in the forest you have wood, etc. You have to work with what you’ve got otherwise it’s not going to feel believable. If you want to be using materials that don’t fit in with the geography, just make a brief comment at some point that it’s imported from wherever.
Consider how the architecture changes based on income. A lot of times there’s attention paid to things like palaces and the rest of the buildings are barely mentioned. If your character lives in the palace and doesn’t leave it, that’s totally fine. However, if they’re venturing into any other areas you should be aware of the differences. What amenities are included as you rise up the income ladder? One example, if you’re planning on not separating out wealthy and poor districts is looking at the difference between living on the top floor in modern times vs living on the main floor in ancient times. Nowadays people want the top floor penthouse, but in the days of yore the rich lived on the bottom floor in many cultures because we didn’t have elevators back then and the more stairs you had to climb the less you had to pay. You can incorporate ideas like that into your story if you want to.