Architecture is an amalgamation of people, place, and time. Any of the factors changes; brings a change in architecture. They can be seen in every form of architectural practice, zooming in from macro to micro, i.e. in urban settings (Old city plannings following Vedas), public buildings, monuments, plazas, residential settings, or even in sculptures, wall arts, and whatnot. 

Architecture is an amalgamation of people, place, and time. Any of the factors changes; brings a change in architecture. Cultural and heritage values are the very first impressions in architecture that symbolizes a sense of diversity that is created by the multiple beliefs followed by multiple communities. Since ancient times, the evolution in everything can be seen, but what remains constant is the context, either defined by the community or the place. All their beliefs are conserved for future generations in a tangible or intangible form. These heritage values are the reflection of the cultural identity of people, placed at a particular time. They can be seen in every form of architectural practice, zooming in from macro to micro, i.e. in urban settings (Old city plannings following Vedas), public buildings, monuments, plazas, residential settings, or even in sculptures, wall arts, and whatnot. 

1. Urban settings holding cultural and heritage values:

In the book by Kevin Lynch, an urban setting’s imageability can be made by 5 basic elements; path, edges, district, node, and landmark. In a city or town or surrounding people hold the value of defining them, by their activities and behavioral response to the site which is ultimately a reflection of their cultural values that they inhabited from their ancestors. But, here an urban planner/architect/designer can play his role by respecting these values by doing pre-researches, personal interaction with the communities, and even living with the locals to understand their lifestyles.

Some examples that can be seen holding cultural and heritage values:

Urban settings holding cultural and heritage values

Urban settings holding cultural and heritage values -Sheet1
Image 1_Hampi: World heritage site: ©https://www.happymindtravels.com
Urban settings holding cultural and heritage values -Sheet2
Image 2_Madurai: A temple town: ©https://cityfiedgeek.wordpress.com
Urban settings holding cultural and heritage values -Sheet3
Image 3_Shahjahanabad: a well-preserved heritage: ©https://www.thequint.com
Urban settings holding cultural and heritage values -Sheet4
Image 4_Ahmedabad: A walled city: ©https://www.tribuneindia.com

Apart from town planning, urban spaces like streets; food streets, shopping streets, piazzas, chowks, some particular areas bring uniqueness to a place. A lot of city areas were named after this uniqueness only until now one can revive the old times just with a glimpse of this unique nomenclature.

2. Public buildings holding cultural and heritage values:

Being a part of the public, these buildings hold value to connect people, exchange culture, and nurture public life. The evolution of such places can be traced back from history, from Mohenjo-Daro’s great baths to today’s urban squares, from Meena bazaar to current malls, from ancient temples to modern gardens, from drama theatres to cinema halls, from ancient forts to current museums accessible by all, these spaces make the surrounding rich in lifestyles. The existence of these spaces is because of the people and hence they stand by the past for the present and coming future. 

Some of the great examples of public buildings are as follows:

Public buildings holding cultural and heritage values

Public buildings holding cultural and heritage values - Sheet1
Image1_Meenakshi Amman Temple: ©https://www.ancient-origins.net
Public buildings holding cultural and heritage values - Sheet2
Image2_Bharat Bhawan: ©https://www.archdaily.com
Public buildings holding cultural and heritage values - Sheet3
Image3_Jawahar Kala Kendra, Jaipur: ©https://indianexpress.com
Public buildings holding cultural and heritage values - Sheet4
Image 4_Lotus Temple, Delhi: ©https://www.huffingtonpost.in

3. Vernacular techniques holding cultural and heritage values:

Since ancient times when transportation and innovation were less, people used to make their livings with what was available around. It can be traced back to our heritage monuments with cultural significance in a sense of material, technique, art, and design, even now some places hold these values of following vernacular techniques, in their architecture or even in their livings. Some of them are followings:

Vernacular techniques holding cultural and heritage values

Vernacular techniques holding cultural and heritage values - Sheet1
Image 1_Wattle and daub: ©https://commons.wikimedia.org
Vernacular techniques holding cultural and heritage values - Sheet2
Image 2_Kath Khuni: ©https://www.sahapedia.org
Vernacular techniques holding cultural and heritage values - Sheet3
Image 3_Thatch roof on walls: ©https://www.pinterest.ca
Vernacular techniques holding cultural and heritage values - Sheet4
Image 4_Bhonga architecture: ©http://www.dsource.in

4. Arts holding cultural and heritage values:

Architecture is an amalgamation of art and techniques and so is reflected in traditional practices. Art is not something one can pursue in a second, it is said to be a god gift that is many a time inhabited by generations, or here the traditional knowledge system plays a role to conserve it for timelessness. Some of these arts are as follows:

Arts holding cultural and heritage values:

Arts holding cultural and heritage values - Sheet1
Image 1_Tanjore Art: ©https://medium.com
Arts holding cultural and heritage values - Sheet2
Image 2_Saura art: ©https://sambadenglish.com
Arts holding cultural and heritage values - Sheet3
Image 3_Bhil art: ©https://www.artisera.com
Arts holding cultural and heritage values - Sheet4
Image 4_Madhubani paintings: ©https://www.thebetterindia.com

Conclusion:

Architecture is a field of adaptation and implications. And we all are made from the past, what we see, we make. So are our values in architecture are the reflection of our perception. Hence it is an architect’s responsibility to respond to the context, surroundings, and most importantly people’s cultures and traditions to conserve the heritage. These values are not just ordinary, but unique on its own which brings diversity and a sense of authenticity in a place.

Ankita Agrawal
Author

Ankita Agrawal is a 4th-year undergraduate, pursuing her Bachelor's of architecture from MITS, Gwalior MP. She often sees herself as a curious and determined individual, enjoying new experiments in life. She is a keen learner, observer, and implementer. She travels to broaden her mind, experience a new culture and its essence to enrich her creativity.

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