View from an aeroplane’s window is one of wonder and fascination that takes us through a mind-bending experience that always has a special place in our memory. The purpose of the journey itself has a different meaning for every individual. Architecture becomes a medium through which one communicates this experience into a three-dimensional space. The transition from a building to a skyscraper, footpaths to sidewalks, gardens to parks, has changed in the eyes of a budding architect after having been exposed to it as a course.

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Incredible views from a plane window_Keith Jenkins© Velvet Escape

Architecture has always been defined as the fusion of Art and Design with a sense of an individual revelation. Although it started as a form of shelter, it eventually evolved into an art form that critically infused creativity, subjectivity and aesthetics into it, considering its society, and the mental state of all its individuals.

Decoding the Anatomy of a Church

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The relic platform © Society of architectural historians

This brings us to the most important criteria of how Architecture changed my perspective towards space and the dynamic impact it has had on me so far. It is the multi-sensory sequential experience felt by every individual in a given space. This differs from person to person and can be very subjective. The most popular place where one does feel this sequential experience would be a place of worship. 

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Whether it’s a Temple, church, mosque, monastery or a huge garden with a Juxtapositional arrangement of various landscape elements, they are all in line with the human anatomy. As a child visiting these places without being able to comprehend this force, yet having a strong sense of belonging felt like being part of an unseen legacy of the long-standing human existence on earth. 

‘If the Doors of Perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is infinite.’ ~ as quoted by William Blake. This on a personal front has resonated multiple times over and over again right from childhood to adulthood. Right from the grand pointed arches to the strong, yet sleek columns standing tall and magnificent against the backdrop of an endless blue sky creates a heightened sense of awakening of all our human senses. This awakening of senses in a space that has its vitality brings you to the world of endless opportunities. 

Maybe that is why they were centres of healing and enlightenment? Every brick, every stone was positioned to get its attention from its onlookers. Roger S. Ulric, an influential researcher in healthcare architectural design, did a measured and tangible study and concluded that a ‘room with a view’ could considerably reduce the time of recovery from surgery in a hospital. Certain types of settings such as religious sanctuaries, hospitals and other therapeutic facilities are explicitly designed with restorative intent. This is why churches have been centres of miracles as well.

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Imagine the range of ailments right from physiological to psychological that could be cured, in this age of Pandemic!

Churches are not just centres of healing, they also have a sense of mysticism and mystery. These are reflected through the narrow naves and underground tombs and shafts that lead the human mind towards a possible answer to a question they think they might find while visiting these places. If not an answer, the least would be a grand mural or perhaps a relic of the Holy Grail itself?

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The railway has taken the decision to avoid overcrowding at platforms © economictimes.indiatimes.com

Osmosis of movement through an Indian Railway Station

Nevertheless, similar robustness of heightened senses can be felt in a transit hub. The one that I have experienced very closely with would be in a railway station. The common denominator for a stand-alone, empty station versus a hustling and active one would be defined by time and activities associated with its transition. Entrance to a railway station never always stands as a grand entryway, it rather represents an element of fluidity adjusting a swarm of a crowd ready to move. 

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The overhead foot-bridge connecting passengers from a roadside junction to the subway opening up onto the platform, to the pre-paid taxi stand forms an interconnected transitional entryway that arouses the brain to further contemplate how to move forward. The Platform would be another space in time that would change as its users play out on different fronts. Cargo loading/off-loading, engine attachment/detachment, cabin cleaning/refuelling are a few of the technical movements in space that we observe. 

Another film of actions that take place would be the smell of freshly brewed tea from a stall around the corner, right beside a huge family contemplating on when their train would arrive, whilst a beggar searching eagerly at a half ate bun that was recently thrown into the bin. All these activities taking place in broad daylight highlights the true reality of the state of things that take place in an Indian railway station. No contemporary or modular solution could change a lifestyle that has been suffused within the foundation of the station itself. 

The Nagpur Junction railway station historically is the oldest and busiest railway station since 1867 being a major junction between the North-South and East-West freight corridor. What makes this place timeless, is not just the grand colonnades or dominating facades built by the Britishers. It’s the activity that takes place right outside the station, where passengers grab quick bites, either from the fruit stalls or tiny Dhaabas and get back on their trains continuing on the journey. 

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As a budding architect sometimes understanding the relationship between a space and its utility is justified by how its users go about creating a new intangible circulation that goes beyond the definite paths leading in/out of the station.

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Architecture is that conversation between buildings and people that are heard by sensitive and attentive architects who not just focus on finding a solution to a particular problem, rather work around the question that seems to be problematic. In conclusion, developing a cognitive relationship between an individual and a building through means of creating awareness in a society can improve the chances of building a creative niche within its architecture. 

Buildings have stood soundless for many aeons, architects can bridge the gap between their mundane existence and the upcoming generation and help society to create new paths within its existing envelope. 

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References

  1. Velvet Escape. (2015). Incredible plane window views from around the world. [online] Available at: https://velvetescape.com/views-from-a-plane-window/
  2. Visual-arts-cork.com. (2019). Sainte Chapelle Paris: Gothic Style Architecture. [online] Available at: http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/architecture/sainte-chapelle.htm.
  3. Visual-arts-cork.com. (2019). Sainte Chapelle Paris: Gothic Style Architecture. [online] Available at: http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/architecture/sainte-chapelle.htm.
  4. Saluja, N. (n.d.). Railways increases platform ticket prices, cancels trains to prevent Covid-19 from spreading. The Economic Times. [online] Available at: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/transportation/railways/central-railways-hikes-platform-ticket-prices-to-rs-50-from-rs-10-to-avoid-spread-of-coronavirus-due-to-overcrowding-at-platforms/articleshow/74673549.cms?from=mdr
  5. Özadar, S. (2016). Design Thinking in Architecture. [online] Medium. Available at: https://medium.com/akka-architects/design-thinking-in-architecture-db83284cde97
Author

An architect and innovator, Tanisha sees Architecture not as a single entity, rather as a confluence of people, in their time and its lasting imprint left for future explorers to further delve into. In her words, 'Expression is an act of acceptance, either to thyself or the world.

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