“Who is an architect?”
An architect is a person who plans and designs the buildings and the other spaces that we are surrounded by.
“But why do we even need them? We can have a civil engineer do the same work! Why would we spend money on hiring an architect?”
An architect is not just a person who is responsible for the mere construction of structures! Architects design by imagining what doesn’t even exist and prepare for its impact in the future. As important as civil engineers are for the process of construction, their work cannot be confused with the job of an architect.
Architects don’t just design structures; they create a complete experience for the users and the coming generations. They are taught about the various impacts that their designs can have on the mindset and the mental health of the users. They also hold the power to ameliorate the current state of the environment as their techniques and design strategies can make the structures more sustainable and environment-friendly.
Architecture is everywhere! It is the representation of a society and its people. It becomes a symbol of how we see the world, as well as how the world sees us. The architectural marvels or the monuments present in a region make it unique and distinguishable.
The evolution and the development of the society throughout these years, in all aspects, are reflected in the advancement in the field of architecture, be it in terms of construction techniques, materials, etc.
The social, economic, and cultural impacts of architecture on the society are colossal.
Initially, architecture was considered as basically providing a shelter over the head by using the locally available materials. It gradually became a symbol by which various rulers and empires started conveying their power, royalty, and progress. Dynasties came and fell, but what was left behind was their architecture. Such monuments help us in understanding the social and cultural life of the people in that particular period. The architectural elements and features help in understanding the level of construction techniques and the materials available at that time.
These elements also help in the distinction between several dynasties and the difference in their cultures. The traditions, festivals, and the overall lifestyle of the people helped in creating their distinctive style of architecture which was authentic to its roots.
For example, in the Rajputana culture of Rajasthan, women were not physically or visually allowed to be a part of the meetings or gatherings, because of which the Jali pattern on the walls became prevalent there. This allowed the women to see everything from the Jali, but they were not visible directly to the men outside or from far away. Such elements like Jali patterns, Jharokas, etc. combined to become a particular architectural style prevailing in several regions of Rajasthan.
Until now, the field of architecture was being shaped according to the need of the region, the climatic conditions, the cultural interests and beliefs of the people, locally available materials, and the socio-economic growth.
Cultural and economic development of the society has an impact on architecture, while at the same time; Architecture has an impact on the socio-economic development of the people too!
So how exactly do architects affect the society today? One might ask.
Here’s how –
- As architects, we can attempt to safeguard whatever is left of this planet by incorporating our knowledge of green and sustainable architecture into our designs. We can contribute by designing energy-efficient structures and integrate passive techniques to make the maximum use of natural light and ventilation. This is the need of the hour in the current climate change scenario!
- At a more personal level, we can also improve the quality of the experience that the user has in a space because the environment that we live in, has a huge impact on our mental health and well-being. Architects have a diverse range of knowledge about planning, landscaping, and designing interiors, which can be combined to create a healthy and socially interactive environment.
“Anybody can build a house, but not everybody can create a home!”
- With the rapid urbanization taking place in the current scenario, there are huge towers of concrete and glass everywhere. This concrete jungle is stealing the authentic identity of the region because of which, all the cities are starting to look alike.
We as architects can preserve the culture and the pure architectural style of the region by encouraging the use of local materials and architectural elements.
- ‘Increase revenue through tourism’ is one of the agendas of the government of our country, and architecture plays an important role in doing the same. The monuments or the architectural wonders are major tourist spots that contribute to the economy of the country greatly.
- Architects can encourage Low-cost housing strategies to slightly bridge the gap between the living conditions of the HIG and the LIG members of our society. Furthermore, we can practice ‘more with less’ and make efficient use of small spaces at a low budget, to plan more comfortable and sustainable compact houses.
“AS AN ARCHITECT, YOU DESIGN FOR THE PRESENT WITH AN AWARENESS OF THE PAST FOR A FUTURE WHICH IS ESSENTIALLY UNKNOWN”.
– Ar. Norman Foster