Architecture - A medium of Social TransformationMay 15, 2013
Architecture is often referred to as the "Mother of all Arts", probably because of its ability to integrate and encompass different forms of arts like music, visual arts, fashion design etc. However unlike other forms of art where the experience is short-lived, Architecture has the unique advantage of engaging the user 24 x 7 and thereby creating a long lasting impression. To avoid becoming archaic, it also must possess the ability to re invent itself through Time and Space.
Hence, the good news in that Architecture can be used as a conscious container of sorts, to influence, evoke and guide emotions and our response to the environment and society at large. It has the potential to be a crucible that encourages, imparts and nurtures positive qualities of hope, co-existence and foresightedness.
In the modern day context, the importance of the impact, sensitive and humanistic architecture and building design can create on its inhabitants is not fully understood nor proactively exploited to benefit the end users. Skillful composition of spatial design for example can provoke the inhabitant to 'think out of the box', feel liberated and empowered, instead of feeling a loss of identity that current concrete and glass boxes are imparting.
Artistic blend of built, open, semi open spaces with a play of volumes will surely encourage an ability to work with complexities; encourage co existence and shape a firmly rooted individual with strong social identity.
In public architecture like - schools, colleges, museums, libraries and so on, the scope to use Architecture as a medium to create environments that are visionary and humanistic is that much higher. Educational Institutions, in particular, from the kindergarten to primary, mid and senior schools and further on colleges, carry the significant responsibility of shaping the future of any society.
Ensuring that Educational Institutions and learning environments are consciously designed to expose the human body and mind to a variety of experiences; some intimate, sub scale which allow and encourage reflection and others expansive, the collective scale which contrastingly nurtures the ability to understand one's relationship with the others and the environment to construct an identity that is strong in both individual and mutual respect.
A super scale in the public institutions like libraries, museum etc expands the vision and encourages the inhabitant to think beyond the immediate context, on to larger role in future.
Sensitive use of materials, textures, finishes and trees, vegetation will create a balanced approach to life. Respecting others' rights while taking care of our needs and avoiding excesses. Natural light is a vital element in architectural design which can be exploited to impart character and quality to the built spaces.
Historically, Indian architecture has been effectively using light to impart qualities of beauty, joy and clarity. Hence conscious detailing within the context is the key.
Today, more than ever it is vital that we as a society, exploit architecture as a medium and a palette to create humanistic built environments that are nurture centers for the society; initiating a social transformation.