Architecture seems to have a language of its own, where drawings become the medium of communication and lines within them define spaces. But when reading between the lines, they are not entirely the lines of definition but the lines of limitation. Lines through the lens of perspective (drawings) ascribe circumscribed and isolated meanings that filter the complexities of Architecture.
Alberti would disagree, and argue how this perspective changed Architecture as parallel lines and points, giving depth to the sense of three-dimensional space on a two-dimensional surface. Except that mirrors a significant question—whether spaces are entirely marginal, if all margins are physical, and is that all Architecture is about?
The general lens would depict a single story on similar lines of plans, sections, and elevations of buildings; but the problem with this kind of understanding of Architecture arises when one gets more involved in it. Slowly but surely there builds a consciousness about the unacknowledged layers of multiplicity. That building has a dual nature, as a verb, it is a process of bringing together multiple layers, and as a noun, it is a product that can’t occur in isolation.
Considered to be the tool of Architects and Designers to communicate, drawings have a certain amount of gap in their communication. That gap is the deviation that comes in the translation of lines from paper to reality. They are incapable of defining non-physical spaces and in some ways that stereotype the whole idea. Precision and accuracy are methods of filtration, where ‘concept’ dominates the integrity of tangible space.
The building is a (un)planned system where steps can be predetermined, but the exact occurrence of that sequence is a mere possibility. One other problem with them is their nature of isolation in their very form, which creates boundaries for eyes and risks the larger context of its surrounding. Whereas, in reality, buildings and spaces cannot lie in isolation, they are part of the larger environment that has its cause and effects.
The place is a personal projection people give to space which is not limited to the boundaries of materials but is a complex construct of various social, political, and emotional experiences. This has to do with an individual who inhabits the space and the values they attach to it. These places are far away from the grid of paper and act as the product of need at any particular time.
There is a sense of belongingness that these places provide to their people, from shared emotions, values, and memory. They comfort people with an area of incautiousness… to just to be. Nevertheless, numerous factors shape this idea—it could be the feel of any particular space, or the significant smell or some regular noise in the background, or even the silence it offers. There are unplanned corners (not always in the corner) everywhere in the city which are constructed by the lines of interaction and not an intersection.
Even though elements within buildings are designed for specific functions they aren’t always unique to their use. From that chai wala bhaiya on the roadside to those parked bikes and stairs outside any metro station, they all act as mutual points for people to interact, letting them take a break from their structured lives. Not always designed, temporarily occupied by people of a city, and covered with an uncertain population, spaces always entail some hidden places.
People as the Context
The dilemma if space is created or not, and whether it is planned or unplanned can be intensified by introducing a new question—‘does space also create something?’ Even though intangible, yes they do. It conducts humans within them and hence creates characters and identities, i.e., they assign roles and responsibility to its inhabitants.
From experience to memory, all that the human brain consists of has something to do with space and its surroundings. Surroundings control how people perform and they reflect actions and choices they would make. (Oh well on that note, the brain is a space too which controls all the activities of the human body.)
The range of this phenomenon is slightly larger than it may appear because these assigned roles, identities, and responsibilities lead to what happens in public spaces at large. Any kind of domination in these spaces, be it, class, caste, or gender can change the aura of any space.
Hence, it is not a one-way task of just making something and never turning back to it, but a two-way thing that demands involvement and engagement, not only with the depths of perspective sketches but the multiple perspectives of society and culture that various cities inherit.
The meaning of Architecture is not as simple as it may appear because the change in its perspective is constant. It keeps changing your perspective about space, people, their needs, and even about the word Architecture itself. The very idea that it allows one to engage with a huge taxonomy of things including materials, techniques, and thoughts which introduce new histories and memories makes its meaning highly complex.
There is a cycle that exists in which we create spaces and then spaces create us too. Where spaces are not always concrete solid structures but can exist in the very being of themselves—hidden, invisible, and metaphorical.