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Purposeful Coalescence

© Mili Arora

Art and Architecture for ages have confluence together giving significance and embodiment to places across the globe. It is not a merge for aesthetics but strongly for the identity of a place.

God made people reasonable, dim, tall, short, fat, and thin however these qualities never characterize the personality of an individual. Identity comes with the knowledge that is itself an art, the way a person dresses, for example, a ‘bindi’ is an identity of Indian women, a blue jersey of Indian cricketers or an olive drab uniform of Indian army earlier khaki changed to distinguish it from Pakistan’s army.

The same is with the buildings, which may be high or low rise as per need, with different materials as per the availability at different places and varied typologies. The only thing that makes it belong to an era or a place is art, an artist’s meditation. It is a medium of expression and communication through various ways of representing it. Architectural styles from antiquity to the present day have different characteristics that make them stand out among others. Ranging from principles and elements of design to the detailing done carves a unique identity of a period or a place.

Decorated structural columns and contrast of Baroque, sculptural ornamentation blended with modern lines of Beaux-arts, ornaments inspired by organic shapes in Art Nouveau, golden mosaics with graphic simplicity along with round arches in Byzantine, statues over the pediment in Etruscan, the beauty of columns in Greek are some examples of art in architecture of different periods. It additionally shifts from one mainland, nation, city, or road to another. Gabled, hipped, hip and gable, and square pyramidal tops of Japan, expound carvings of Oceania or distinctive artistic expressions of India are a few instances of it. India itself involves a wide assortment of designs with various kinds of craftsmanship in particular Indo-Islamic, Hindu, Indo-Saracenic, Mughal, Buddhist, and some more.

Contemporary, modern, post-modern, deconstructivism, and now the twenty-first century has an alternate significance of expressions in it. Both wonderful and appalling instances of it tend to be seen with regard to innovation. Form taking over function is something that mostly winds up destroying the significance of functionality in architecture. A few instances of it are the fish building of Hyderabad, the Yancheng prison of China, and many more. Arts should be used as a boon to architecture and not as blight just for the sake of introducing it in architecture. It should rather blend into architecture for a purpose that has a strong meaning towards sustainability.

“Architecture should speak of its time and place, but yearn for timelessness.” In this context, an architect's focus should be on minimizing the disparity and enhancing the economy for a better, healthy, and balanced environment. The inculcation of arts ought to concern urban context, development, technology, planning, and its users folded together with architecture to influence and create an experience, an environment.

“Architecture is a visual art, and the buildings speak for themselves.”- Julia Morgan.

One such example is the Krushi Bhawan, a facility developed for the Government of Odisha's Department of Agriculture and Farmers' Empowerment. The visual personality of this building has been derived from local materials and vernacular tales, communicated in a way that is receptive to the nearby environment. More than 100 exceptionally gifted craftsmen worked for making a dynamic and contemporary story of customary Odia craft portraying agricultural folklore and mythological stories, envisioned at a phenomenal architectural scale. For example, the ancestral art of cast metal has been used to make light installations. Agricultural motifs have been displayed across the building through a variety of craft techniques. The upper floors of Krushi Bhawan have a façade propelled by Ikat patterns of Odisha handlooms, made utilizing clay in three unique tones that address the geological variety of the area. This facade is not just aesthetically pleasing but also ensures a hundred percent daylit areas and sustainability. It is a perfect example of arts and architecture conglomerating for a purpose.

Another such example is Eighteen screens house, a private residence in Lucknow. It has designed screens derived from conventional Indian architecture and the popular Lucknow Chikankari sheath open-air seating areas for each room on the south, west, and east sides. These screens give cover from the sun, make diverse light patterns throughout the day and mitigate traffic noise from the busy arterial road on the southern side.

These buildings are just a few examples of blending art and architecture towards sustainability. Other few may be the Indian habitat center in New Delhi, IRRAD at Gurugram, and many more. Designers play the most vital role in defining a path a user has to follow. They create a language that a user will read, listen and speak. A design holds much potential to affect the environment technically and its users psychologically. The whole idea is that art and architecture should amalgamate to serve a purpose with a strong intention toward sustainability in the years ahead. Art has been the best companion of architecture with different thoughts for ages. Today the thought should be sustainability, the need of an hour.

“Art should be created for life, not for the museum”-Jean Nouvel.




I am an architect and a designer from Kanpur currently based in Delhi. I graduated in the year 2018 (Silver Medallist). I have been a part of various winning entries in competitions during my graduation and have also achieved accomplishments in the professional category since 2018. I am also working with NGO’s, NPO’s and as a freelancer for the past few years. Being an Architect, I explore new places and identities they hold. I try to observe the beauty of architecture, art, urban spaces, environment and a cognitive path that inspire me to write about it. This topic is very close to my heart as I truly believe that everything around us is an art.


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