To experience a place, the best way is to walk around the streets without any destination. The journey evokes our senses, leading through a memory lane from the old history textbooks or the glitz and glamour of the remnant stories heard somewhere. The sights and frames evoke a vision through the tangibles and intangibles of the past unknown to us. Just open your eyes and look at the old Latin quarter of Goa to experience the Portuguese vibe in India. Just a reminder, you are in India itself, not somewhere in a quaint part of Europe. If you want to experience the colonization era in a French town, book your tickets to Pondycherry, officially called Puducherry, and take a stroll through the French quarters, the street of the white town. Don’t ever doubt the unique aura that consumes you in the streets of Fort Kochi that you are transported via a port key into the Dutch.
A Thread to Experiential Architecture | People and Place
Spaces can affect our mood and choreograph our feelings. It is proved that the specialized cells in the hippocampal region of our brains are attuned to the geometry and arrangement of the spaces we inhabit. Experiencing space is different for different people. The experiences we desire and the experiences the space has to offer are different. The emotions, feelings, senses, and perceptions derived from the built form, the architecture of the place, create a psyche in the mind of the experiencer. It is the imprint of this psyche that works when we walk through the streets of Goa, Pondy, or fort Kochi. The architecture, the colors, the elements, the language, the people, the style, everything is different, yet something connects us to the street. The walk feels like a journey through a known place.
Through the narratives inspired by the elements and frames, an emotional connection with the occupants of the built form is brought about. The experiencer is merely living in the past and can relate to the narratives and stories associated with the buildings of the street. These spaces lead the visitor into the past, eliciting the same experience of the spaces in the present time. Offering a tactile experience of the past in the present through materiality, the narrow cobbled streets lined with houses and cottages painted in pastels and fluorescents in the Latin quarters of Goa is telling its visitor its story in all possible way.
Around 700 beautiful colonial buildings of “white town” and the classic Tamil villas of “black town” in Pondicherry are giving a rich sensorial experience. With a sense of belonging, the people and the culture are intertwined and deeply rooted in their context. Physically and emotionally they are connected to a past era through the narratives and rituals. While the sky, the landscape, the seasons connect them with the natural surroundings.
The spatial organization of the space and its elements in the Jewish street in Fort Kochi is arranged in a way that while moving through the street with the pattern shadows of the shading trees and a beautiful horizon in the backdrop, the colors are experienced. Mesmerized by the mindblowing graffitis and walking alongside a stretch of antiques and handlooms with a glass of the famous ‘Kulki Sarbath’ to experience the sweet and sour of Fort Kochi.
The People Of The Place
The people of the place are the carriers of its culture, traditions, and heritage. The timelessness of a changing face is imprinted by the inhabitants and the DNAs in them. The visual properties of the elements and the spatial organization that articulates the space with a character are layered by the people of the place. As a window into the history, or a getaway to the life of the colonial era, the experiences are perceived through the connections. The connections between the people, between the generations, between the timelines……
To get attached to a place, it is always important to know its people, the life and essence of the space. The people and the place both are interrelated. This coexistence is the very life of the experiences that we perceive. The architecture of the place can be a tool of interaction and pause points. The sounds of people and birds or the mixed acoustics of the streets, the visual frames, the tactile imageries, the smell, everything adds to the perception- The connections that lead back to the memory lane.
The place and people can be better understood from its street. More than the books that could behold, the culture, the life, the story everything unfolds from the streets. It is like a story that only the one who knows to read understands. It is like a poem that is sung for the one who is ready to listen. Our mind creates a layered analysis that is unknown to us. The street is the best place to get tucked away and get involved at the same time.
1.Poonam Binayak (2018). The Coolest Neighbourhoods in Goa, India
. [online]. Available at: https://theculturetrip.com/asia/india/articles/coolest-neighbourhoods-goa-india/ [Accessed date: 31 January 2018].
2. Sanchita Kalra (2021). A walk through Fontainhas
. [online]. Available at: https://www.outlookindia.com/outlooktraveller/explore/story/47946/a-walk-through-fontainhas [Accessed date: 30 March 2021].
3.Webguy Travel Tales(2017). Walking The Streets of Pondicherry. [online]. Available at: https://webguy.in/walking-the-streets-of-pondicherry/ [Accessed date: 23 January2017].
4.Animesh Ray (2011). Streets of Fort Cochin . [online]. Available at: https://animeshray.com/streets-fort-kochi/ [Accessed date: 16 July 2011].