Architecture in its core is not rigid; it keeps flowing, evolving and adapting. Evolution when studied gives us the idea of how from residing in caves, we live now in skyscrapers, ground zero to the sky. Although architecture did evolve throughout these years, the foundation, i.e., traditional architecture, has not required underpinning to date in most cases.
Although architecture or its definition is the same, what has changed is the approach towards architecture before its creation. As climate change, population boom, land depletion, and all the other negatives keep on ascending rather than descending, the main goal now has shifted from creating an abundance of spaces to keep still living on earth. Yes, yes Elon Musk has made us all dream of Mars colonization but right now it is a distant dream, let’s focus on the problem at hand first.
As many scientists and researchers have claimed that Covid-19 although the first pandemic experienced to such a scale won’t be the last, viruses as this will be seen maybe shortly as well. What we have learned through this experience is how architecture influences everything, be it as small as the lift buttons that we avoided or the public transportation infrastructure on a global level. The threat to one’s life is a transformational moment in the future of the construction industry.
Enlightened planners and designers know that to create cities today, the main aim is to go up rather than spread down if we want to avoid the environmental changes that are on a rise. Architecture is not just creating boxes but creating a sense of community and bonding between individuals through or in those boxes. Civilization happened because people were happy, content and wanted to learn and explore and grow as a community. This sense of community or the foundation of civilization needs to be preserved through architecture in its future advances.
Technological advancements today have given access to a different world of architecture, VR technology gives an accurate sense of presence in a space that’s yet to be built. It also helps in the countless miscommunications that can be avoided between the architect and the client.
Sustainability, although practiced in the yesteryears of civilization, today has become the need of the hour, it needs to be practiced not through choice but through compulsion. This can only be instilled when it is provided as a part of the body of work and not as an accessory. “You can only bring the horse to the vessel of water but not make it drink.” Yes, but the point here is to provide the vessel with water already in it. Thus, sustainability when present already in architecture will amount to the change that needs to be created.
It is no longer enough to build a concrete or brick structure and call it a day. A thorough study of material is required, star architects design beautiful structures but they aren’t ecologically appropriate, what we as architects need
To understand is that although extravagant designs may please our sight or make us sit up and take notice, the true sense of design will only be felt when the occupants/users or the people around the building get a positive impact out of the said project. Thus architecture is not a mere study of designing buildings but it now requires study of material, social anthropology, and environmental science; specialists from such areas will have to be actively included in design firms as we go ahead in time.
So how do you not let a design or a building die? How do you keep a building ‘evergreen’? Why do we look at certain buildings and come up with the word ‘outdated’? Why do we look at another and feel as though it’ll stay as a phenomenon outliving even our bodies? The answer to all the above lies in ‘Relevance.’
This word has been added to the architectural lexicon for a few years, more appropriately design relevance, its relevance to the space around it, its relevance to the age it is in, climatic, cultural, community and surrounding. Architecture is a composition of all these above which keep the design relevant throughout the years.
Welcome to the matrix; parametric future architecture, 3D printers and future architecture robots, BIM, etc. These terms are now well versed within the architectural community, they are today and tomorrow’s reality, as much as real architecture lies between paper and a pencil, we have to accept the perks of such much needed technological elevations which will not only aid the industry but will also aid the planet.
The conclusion here would be that although the architectural world is changing rapidly and drastically, traditional architecture has created a foundation that cannot be sidetracked. There is much to learn from the future as there is from the past to create a present that would be beneficial for you, me and all of us; Thus back to the future, my friend!