Buildings- bigger ones, smaller ones, the ones with cement and brick, the ones with wood. The kutcha houses in the village, the pukka ones in cities, the resorts, and the villas. This is how architecture was defined for us when we knew only so much about it. Ted Mosby running around in a goofy manner to get his design approved or looking at the gargantuan CGI-integrated buildings in everyday PlayStations. This was the beginning of architecture for us. We didn’t exactly know what it meant to understand architecture and its various forms. We thought that architecture was defined by two buildings that we come across in the streets or two houses that are located in our village. But in reality, this was not even the tip of the iceberg. When the inception of our course happened we were asked by our seniors what architecture meant to us. As usual, we gave the rainbow-wrapped internet-sprinkled answer which goes something like this: “Beautiful buildings and their design” Well I wouldn’t say that it is not correct however this definition would be like a bucket in the vast ocean that amasses architecture.
Well, to be honest, I wouldn’t blame the novice us, I mean come on we only knew so much. But as the days progressed the curtain of knowledge unfurled and bit by bit we began to understand the true meaning of architecture or at least the essence of it. You see the architecture is me, it’s you it’s the people around us. I know it sounds silly but the statement holds the truth. Let me break it down for you so that it will become perspicuous. The designing of a structure does not start with pen and paper it starts with the people, understanding them, their culture, their history, their needs, and aspirations. It is only when we understand them we will be able to pour all of it into our design and in turn, the building will understand them.
There is a very common misconception that we had when we first started our journey. We thought modernizing and developing cities would mean glass facades everywhere without a penny of thought about the individuality or cohesion of the place. Well, that would be the case if it weren’t for the architects- well the sensible ones. Don’t get me wrong I am not glorifying architects in any manner nor am I disregarding them. All I am saying is that what we do in society or for society is much more than concrete and bricks or glass. It is the emotion of an inanimate 80-story building or a small public park that accentuates the goodness that is architecture. Zaha Hadid Frank Gehry Renzo Piano and Charles Correa are some of the fine architects who understood this “emotion” and everything that comes with it. We may never be able to achieve what they did or maybe we cannot say for sure. But if we can understand the feeling that our village home in the country with all its farms and small gardens and intangible spaces gave us and somehow bring the same sense of joy in our condos in the city maybe even 50% of it then we could we can say that we have built something worth living in.
So all the young students out there who are just struggling to try to understand and define architecture in their own way, relax, take a breath, and think about the place that made you feel at home, that made you feel safe, the place that gave you the best years of your life. Maybe, then perhaps you could grasp the emotion of architecture.