CONTEMPLATIVE ARCHITECTURE: Role of Architecture in Nation Building
“Walking along the edge of time,
Playing a character mime,
Amidst the shades of leaves,
Architecture molds our lives”
Architecture can be seen as a microcosm of the society and humanity at large. The root cause of both, imagination and perception is the human thought. Thoughts are the instigators which give shape to ideas and opinions which in turn lead to the merger of shared values to create a collective whole. This very virtue has prevailed and made architecture an improvisational art. The contemplation of historical narratives along with traditional ones forms the base for expanding the possibilities of tomorrow. If we look at architecture as a continuous cycle on a timeline, three governing factors which can be observed in varying proportions are traditional principles, pragmatism and innovation. The merger is greater than the sum of the total and has varying impactful abilities.
The rendition of design allows for a curated frame of perception, thus the potential of such thought provoking architectural spaces depends on the sensitivity with which elements are put at play. Three broad levels of space interpretation which can be derived are spaces which inform, next, which also indulge and lastly the ones which also inspire. Spaces which inform refer to directionality, symbolism and function. The indulgence or the engagement of the space to an individual is determined by the compositional value of the space. This allows a potential of exploration rendering the encoder as the primary force responsible for what the space communicates and more importantly the way in which it communicates. The third effect that such a space has on a human is that of being inspired. On the basis of the information gained and the experience obtained from the perception of the space, it instigates a sense of attachment or belonging to the message conveyed by the elements, static in nature but dynamic in its effect on a person. A holistic approach is one which attempts to address these concerns and blend them in a seamless way. The idea of timelessness is thus one which is constantly evolving, as a living entity but at the same time it has the essence and relevance for a larger dissection of the society.
A day in the life of today’s anthropocene man is hardly untouched by built forms. In this context, it becomes imperative for the architecture fraternity to introspect the development which we are leading. Are the spaces which we are responsible for reasonable and thought instigating? A conscious effort to elevate the generative process may see a substantial difference in the human civilization. Once, shelter had provided safety and insured the sustenance of our race but the unsung effect was the faster evolution of the mind; similarly, architectural consciousness may pave way for a tomorrow which we can only envisage. To start with, the present context of our cities can be seen as the incubators of future. The way forward would require considering incrementality to accommodate growing needs wherein the pluralism of spaces would lend life to spaces. The malleability of spaces is proportional to its use, exploring this relation further would enhance the urban context. The generation of urban context is a crucial area of concern which would require a contemplative approach and should see architects at the helm of it. The only hindrance in achieving urban cognizance with respect to architecture is the untapped potential of urban resources. As we unleash the thoughtful and creative processes on urban forms and spaces, we would in all probability lead to a path of sustainability, sensitivity, resourcefulness and a new maturity in architectural language.
The primary role of architecture may have been to shelter humans but with time it has gained a much wider purpose, i.e. to foster the thinking and in turn shape the society. The subtle language of architecture promises a renewed advent in progressive psychological expression and at the same time it can convey the untouched sentiments. These characteristics put together offer a lens to look at humanity and the world at large with a more enlightened vision.
Author: Yakin Ajay Kinger
Yakin is a graduate of architecture from Nashik and is currently pursuing his M.Arch in Architectural History and Theory from CEPT University, Ahmedabad. He has written articles, essays and has also composed a few poems. He is interested in the study of built forms, anthropology and urbanization.
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