Humanity’s lasting legacy reverberates through the archives of history, expressed through language, art, knowledge, and architecture. Architecture, in particular, plays a pivotal role in this timeless narrative. It is a tangible testament to our existence, reflecting our aspirations, values, and cultural identity. Through architectural marvels, we construct monuments that transcend generations, bridging the gap between the past and the present. Architecture, language, art, and knowledge intertwine to form the tapestry of our civilisation, weaving together the threads of our human experience.

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The architecture blends the colours of our human experience_@holzer-kobler-architekturen

The Progress Of Civilization

Throughout civilisations, architecture has been intricately intertwined with human existence, holding immense importance in shaping our societies. From ancient civilisations to modern societies, architecture has served as a reflection of our cultural, social, and technological advancements. For example, architecture played a pivotal role in the human existence of the Harappan and Indus Valley civilisations. From shaping their cities and facilitating social interactions to leaving behind a rich architectural heritage, the significance of architecture in this or any other civilization goes beyond the physical structures. Notably, the cities of Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa remain remarkable examples of urban planning, communal living, and social organisation for architects worldwide.

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Mohenjodaro_@Andrzej Nowojewski

Accordingly, architectural wonders such as these become symbols of human achievements, representing the ingenuity and creativity of a civilisation. They serve as landmarks that define cities and become iconic representations of cultural heritage. Different styles and techniques evolve, reflecting each era’s changing needs, materials, and design philosophies. Moreover, architectural heritage links to our past, connecting us to the roots of our culture and reminding us of our progress.

A Potent Form Of Expression

In the face of conflict, architecture conveyed resilience, defiance, and the determination of a society to endure and rebuild. The relationship between human existence and architecture is deeply intertwined. It was used to symbolise national pride and unity and to remember the sacrifices and losses experienced during the war. On occasion, architecture was employed as a propaganda tool, showcasing the strength and superiority of a particular regime or ideology. Monuments and grand structures were erected to project an image of power and dominance, both internally and externally. The impact of conflict on architecture was not only limited to the physical structures themselves but also encompassed the lives and experiences of those who inhabited and interacted with them. Architecture became a shelter, a place of refuge amidst the chaos of war. Buildings and structures were transformed into makeshift hospitals, barracks, and command centres, providing essential spaces for protection and treatment and serving as a lifeline, offering stability amid uncertainty.

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Ukrainian coal towns_@Ecoaction

Even during the aftermath of war, architecture played a crucial role in becoming a tool for rebuilding shattered lives, restoring a sense of normalcy, and revitalising communities that the ravages of war had scarred. Moreover, architecture served as a memorial and remembrance of the human cost of war. It bore witness to the destructive power of conflict while serving as a testament to human resilience, determination, and the enduring spirit to rebuild and forge a path toward peace.

Relevance in today’s world 

Architecture, as an essential aspect of our built environment, profoundly impacts human existence in today’s world. It serves as the foundation for human existence by providing shelter and habitable spaces.

The architectural design considers individuals’ practical needs and comfort, from residential buildings to workplaces.

Efficient layouts, appropriate use of materials, and attention to natural lighting, ventilation, and acoustics significantly influence human well-being and quality of life. Architecture can foster physical and mental health by incorporating biophilic design principles, green spaces, and access to nature. Thoughtful designs promote social interaction, community engagement, and a sense of belonging, enhancing overall well-being.

In response to global environmental challenges, architecture has embraced sustainable practices. Architects strive to create eco-friendly designs that minimise resource consumption, reduce carbon footprint, and promote renewable energy integration. The sustainable architecture incorporates energy-efficient building systems, green roofs, rainwater harvesting, and recycled materials, contributing to a more sustainable future.

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An evolutionary approach to designing_@Alvarez-Diaz&Villalon

Architecture has embraced technological advancements, enabling innovative design solutions and construction methods. Computer-aided design (CAD), Building Information Modeling (BIM), virtual reality, and 3D printing have revolutionised the architectural process, enhancing efficiency, accuracy, and creativity. Technological integration enables architects to push boundaries and design structures that meet the evolving needs of society, like earthquake-resistant design, flood mitigation strategies, and sustainable building practices. And by prioritising resilience, architects contribute to the safety, longevity, and sustainability of human existence in the face of environmental challenges.

A traditional water reservoir in Iran_@Shirish Beri

The relationship between human existence and architecture today is profound and multifaceted. Architecture goes beyond providing shelter; it influences our well-being, cultural identity, sustainability efforts, community development, and resilience. By embracing innovative design solutions and sustainable practices, architects have the power to shape our built environment in ways that enhance the human experience and contribute to a more harmonious and sustainable future. As we continue to navigate the complexities of our world, the role of architecture in facilitating and improving human existence remains of utmost importance.

References:

Thought Economics (2015). The Role of Architecture in Humanity’s Story. [online]. Available at: https://thoughteconomics.com/the-role-of-architecture-in-humanitys-story/ [Accessed date: 01 June 2023].

Archdaily (2021). “As Long as There Are Human Beings and their Challenges, There Will Be Architecture”: In Conversation with Ole Bouman. [online]. Available at: https://www.archdaily.com/959771/as-long-as-there-are-human-beings-and-their-challenges-there-will-be-architecture-in-conversation-with-ole-bouman [Accessed date: 01 June 2023].

RTF | Rethinking The Future (2021). Is Architecture a need or want?. [online]. Available at: https://www.re-thinkingthefuture.com/fresh-perspectives/a5125-is-architecture-a-need-or-want/ [Accessed date: 02 June 2023].

Wikipedia (2022). History of architecture. [online]. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_architecture [Accessed date: 02 June 2023].

Author

Mayusha is a student of architecture, hailing from Kerala.With a deep appreciation for the art of architecture and a love for storytelling she wishes to bridge the gap between the technical aspects of architecture and the power of the written word.