The profound words of Winston Churchill echo through the corridors of imagination and the architecture realm, ‘We shape our buildings, and afterwards, the buildings shape us’. Architecture is not just mere planning and construction, rather it’s a beautiful orchestration of artistic expression blended with pragmatic considerations. It comes with the power to alter the perspective of the one involved. We as architects, can provide life and meaning to lifeless structures, providing them with the essence of existence. Like how a baby develops within the mother’s womb is how an architect nurtures the glimpse of an idea into a full-fledged building in its physical state. 

Architecture in Childhood.

Weren’t we all curious to see different kinds of buildings around during our childhood, constantly changing our perspective? No… because it didn’t matter to us. But the creativity realm had other plans for all of us. In our art class, we grabbed crayons to show our creativity on the blank canvas, and what was it? A beautiful house between two majestic mountains masked in the golden hues of sunrise with a humble coconut tree swaying alongside a beautiful river. Yes, we were connected to the creative realm through our first drawing. For some, it remained an initial sketch of fleeting creativity, but for others, it became a life passion.

Architectural Alchemy: How architecture changed my perspective - Sheet1
Childhood drawing of a scenery_©Pinterest

‘Why Architecture’.

Fast forwarding, the first question asked to every freshman in architecture college is, “Why architecture” and the standard answer to it was ‘I can draw well’. On the first day of college, it was all about how well you can draw but on the same day, you leave back to your hostels, understanding that it was always about how well you can imagine. Sitting through each day in college, we understand the concept of imagination, but more importantly, without our understanding, we start to imagine. We start visualizing the structure from its embryonic stage to its physical state before the world sees it. That’s when we realize that we are privileged and privileged enough to create something that can also alter people’s perspectives. 

During the five years in architecture college, we started the design problem with a site visit backed up by background studies, fresh research materials, and various field trips that showed us the different approaches for the same design problem. We planned the spaces and prepared user diagrams by walking through their footsteps. We became the architect and the user at the same time. The most complicated step of all were the schematic and conceptual stages, where you will be thrilled to explore and go abstract but simultaneously scared while thinking about the scrutiny on the same abstract during the semester jury. We grew up to understand that we can bring somebody’s vision into reality.

Architectural Alchemy: How architecture changed my perspective - Sheet2
Power of Imagination_©RIBA

Emotion and Buildings.

Once we master the art of imagination is when we realize that it is also essential to look up to a building not as an inanimate object but as being akin to our close companion. We, as architects, pour over emotions while we create and design a structure. Every pencil stroke and the line we draw carry the emotion which gets embedded into the fabric of the building where it will be felt by the one who interacts. Suddenly the building that was a backdrop for an Instagrammable moment takes on a life of its own. The scales and proportions that once were mere technical intricacies change the perspective only to realize the psychological effect it can create on a person. We realize that the beautiful aerial view that made our every plane journey memorable contained the emotions and efforts of many like us.

Change in Perspective.

Architecture changed our perspective of places. We started figuring out the spirit within the spaces. As a place of flea markets and beaches, Goa became all about Portugal’s influence on Goan architecture. It became the place of intricate Goan houses of laterite and stone and the St basilicas with nacre oyster-shelled windows. As architecture students, we wandered around the streets counting the number of public sheds, mentally measuring the distance between public toilets, and even reading a building floor to floor. Unknowingly we realized that we have become full-fledged architects when we started to judge the anthropometry of a public staircase and how well it is built according to the standards and following byelaws.

Architectural Alchemy: How architecture changed my perspective - Sheet3
Portugeese inspired Goan House_©The Balcao

Power of Unity.

One vital lesson among the others was the lesson on teamwork. Even from our early architectural life, we mastered the power of unity, whether by orchestrating a mass bunking escapade that left us with the memories to treasure or the ambitious group project where we understood the unique perspective skill that each of the team members contributed and how one’s strength complimented the others. We realized the power of collaboration and the magical outcome that comes from it. This also helped us in the professional world to understand how the role played by an architect to a layman is important in the very existence of the dream project. It’s through collaboration that we expand the horizon of numerous possibilities and imagination.

Architectural Alchemy: How architecture changed my perspective - Sheet4
Group Work _©University of Minnesota

Thus, at last, we become the alchemist of the artistic realm. During the creation, we realize that it is more than essential to create a world rather than building concrete jungles, thus making the buildings a vessel that can hold our emotions and mold our perception. While we swish the magical wand to create a magical world, along with which, we are also transformed under the enchantment of architecture’s indelible spell that transforms spaces and connects lives and dreams.


Chapter 7: We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us (no date) World Scientific. Available at: (Accessed: 24 June 2023). 


An architect with a deep appreciation for restoration and commitment towards sustainability, Gowri loves to find a balance between the traditional and contemporary and futuristic concepts throughout her work and being a very artsy and aesthete person, she believes in using art to create a responsible society. She always look to create a positive impact in the field of architecture and beyond.