Rethinking Architecture Beyond Buildings


Thinking about Architecture beyond buildings, Architecture is one of the most creative fields present and surely is not just limited to the buildings. Initially, the fundamentals of architecture were limited to building a shelter on a micro level and facilitating the services in planning on a broader level, i.e. of a town or a city. But now the scope of architecture goes beyond drawings and measurements. It provides a medium to bridge the gap between philosophy, science, and art. It justifies the relation between space and the living. 

Art and architecture go hand in hand, thus together they have the power to shift the consciousnessby bringing the change in human lifestyle, by spreading civic awareness, by increasing the sensibility of coexisting, by making people aware of each other’s actions. Architectural forms both influence as well as react to the sociocultural phenomena of a being. It questions the existence and experience of a being and attempts to answer those questions as well. 

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Juxtaposition of old Taj Mahal with modern ACP cladded facade Hotel_©

Several aspects of cultural, social, and economical values altogether pistons what we call Architecture:

The essence of Culture

Culture compromises origin, race, gender, ideas, class, and other factors. An individual changes its culture or evolves by learning and adapting to new reforms. Culture influences people’s values, dreams, worries, fears, hopes, and loyalties. Understanding these rituals and practices of a community for a better output is important to integrate them as a whole. Moreover, in a community people might have varying interests and customs but these collectively affect the community on a broader scale. 

From well-settled colonies to slums, architecture solely binds people together to form a societywhich we all are a part of in the present day.

Considering the example of Delhi, there is diverse planning with diversity living in it. From the slums of Shahjahanabad to the high-rise group housing, the entire population of Delhi is bound in a string. The labor force coming from the slums acts as the backbone of the city. The urban fabric of Delhi varies but stands together in harmony. 

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Varying Urban Fabric of Delhi_©

Social Norms and Values

The societal function of architecture is bound to evolve with the built environment. But first, understand the question of how social values and architecture are related. A system of social setting and values defines a space. People are known by their social values and that is how they organize their spaces. 

If we dig deeper into a set up of a dwelling, first comes into the place the layout, furniture, decor and their functions then aligned with this comes the social complexity of the user. The user enters the space and arranges the spatial organization as required. 

And such is how the communicative environment prospers amongst space and people. So, social order goes hand in hand with the built environment.

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The Walking City by Ron Herron, 1964_©

Beyond the Built

The subject of architecture is not limited to the built mass but the voids also. A form establishing a connection of built and unbuilt gives rise to bonding amongst the inhabitants of that space. Talking about the open spaces, they create opportunities for the people to interact with all other kinds of human lives. 

Architecture is not just about building walls but also about taking down one. 

Living in a post-modern world people are more engaged in their work leaving less or no window open for communication. Neglecting the ancestral values of the place and community attachment, the human mind in a city adapts to grow in high-rise structures with isolated units and balconies as exposure to nature, here a shift in architectural practice can motivate humans to interact by introducing functional communal areas in vertical stacking.

At the end of the day, it consolidates the commitment in terms of the local community. And what is remarkable, is that it even applies to conservative communities. 

Playing with the Mindscapes

Architects and artists aim to create illusions and unique spaces that compel people to stop and think of the unknown. Everyday spaces like home, office, school affects human psychology knowingly. 

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Architecture and Human Psychology_© / Shivani Vats

An exceptional amalgamation of art and architecture makes people ponder about the unknown notions of the universe. Here the conversation will revolve around one such experiment conducted by Olafur Eliasson. He has dedicated his work to experimenting with luminescence in an enclosed space and digging deeper into the understanding of natural phenomena like a pattern of wind, water, climate. 

His project Room of One Colour explores the depth of mono frequency light, where a mono frequency lamp is mounted to the ceiling of a white room and emits yellow light. The yellow light reduces the spectral range of the observer to yellow and black. In reaction to the yellow environment, viewers momentarily perceive a bluish afterimage after leaving the space. 

Rethinking Architecture Beyond Buildings
Room for one color_©

The experiment compelled people to stop and think as if they had moved back in time. Blue- Black colors give an impression as time is still, and one can sit back and focus on their inner being. 

What if this field stops ideating?

Looking at the evolution of society as a whole, one perceives a gradual development. For instance, the vision of society from 10 or 20 years from now on is robust. The field of architecture is collaborating with engineers, artists, activists, planners, conservationists, and technicians to understand the complexity of society striving to create a better future. 

The aim is not limited to assembling a functional building, whereas it is to keep hold of the roots yet rethinking and redefining the concept of architecture beyond buildings to integrate the existence of a being. 

Rethinking Architecture Beyond Buildings

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