A day out to explore in an architect’s shoes can be more of an exercise in artful thinking than a commoner’s tour. The materials, colors, textures, balance, symmetry, and all forms of design we had learned from art class, add thrill and adventurous vibe to the entire journey. Space becomes a place when it comes alive. On the contrary, the playground with cherished memories of children adds more value to the space than it is being transformed into a shopping complex now. The Soul of Architecture lights up with the interaction between people, buildings, and the environment.
Architect Vs Commoner
The perception of the human mind plays a key role in visualization. One can identify a building in terms of function by the signages or its form while an architect or designer can examine it minutely to figure out if it’s a column-beam or a load-bearing structure. The construction in the neighborhood could be a noisemaker to others while it could be a guessing game of how the layout or elevations would shape for a designer. Installing a decorative ceiling in one’s living room could be dreamy for a common person while the same could be an unnecessary, dust-attractive feature to a designer. Another significant difference would be the designer pictures the scene holistically compared to others. For instance, during the material selection for a kitchen, the designer foresees if the backsplash and the cabinets go hand-in-hand in all aspects while the client would opt for the one he desires. The list could go on but the common interests in both are what makes it alive and soulful.
Architecture has its stance in India today while it rested on the pedestal named Engineering two decades ago. It grew beyond one’s cognizance as we approached the era of the information age. In other words, Architecture was added to the parenthood list of ideal careers in addition to Engineering and Medicine. In the blink of an eye, the number of architecture schools increased, and it might overtake the other two fields. Since the pandemic seems to live with us for a while now, virtual is the new trend. We were hesitant to use the phone in the studio, but the classes are now held via online meetings in Zoom or Microsoft teams. The juries with A0 size panels have been switched to a 15″ screen. It’s important we catch up with the trend of the virtual world but also keep in touch with our best friend, pencil. In parallel, the number of graduates who end up working in the field is not even one-third of the students who took Architecture as their major. The conflict between passion and pay determines the persistence in the soul of architecture.
B.Arch to Architect
The first question on the first day of architecture school has always been “Why did you choose Architecture?” with the familiar answer being “Architecture sounds fun”. The Faculty sniggered at all our answers while we smiled at their mockery not knowing what’s awaiting us. Another familiar scenario would be writing ABCD…Z in different styles with kindergarten flashbacks. The spine-chilling moment is the first jury where the judiciary waits to hear your justification as to why this design is best and ends up losing the trial with “Where’s the North symbol?”. After hundreds of sleepless nights, redo, red marks, paper cuts, and stress, the convocation ceremony is a long-gone dream during the pandemic. The reality hits hard when the probability of getting recognized by the firm one wants to work with is low. The learning and the efforts in the field experience are more in comparison to the school. The school nurtures one to design while the job lets one learn, grow, evolve and build it. The Architecture we create, and build represents our soul, our sense of being.
God is in the Details
An architect should have a keen eye for details in everything we see around, be it the seating that you’re on while reading this or the window next to you. The mistakes usually arrive in the smaller details of a project. The entrance exam for architecture with a series of MCQs to let you choose the right plan or section of the form is the first attempt at visualizing details for an Architect. Recalling the railing detail, you’ve been working on for an apartment while you pass by it several years after construction is sheer delight although some of them have their laundry drying on it. It could be heart-breaking when the user doesn’t understand how it affects the elevation. Another joyful instance would be to see the labor execute the design being sensitive to minute details. With a swish of their magic wand, they transform the design into reality. A soulful architecture comes from the artists who are devoted.
Architecture has different influences on different people to adapt and react to their surroundings. It could be in terms of health, mood, and productivity. The subject is a vast concept, but the objective is simple – meeting the needs without compromising on the future. As a designer, we must create buildings to have a soul that is intrinsic to their surroundings.