“As Long as There Are Human Beings and their Challenges, There Will Be Architecture” – Ole Bouman.
Test of Time
The existence of architecture dates to ancient times, even before it had a name to it. We have majestic monuments all around the world still standing tall, defining eras to tell tales of its times. With time it will be likely that someday architecture might cease to exist or just evolve into a complete field altogether with experts from all the fields coming together in designing innovative structures and cities. Just as the architectural field was about to dive into this technology-driven era, the unthinkable happened when the world was dominated by a virus that got us all locked down in our houses. Is architecture as a field ready to take on this challenge head-on? Are our architectural schools equipping individuals with enough knowledge to come up with newer solutions and techniques to not only stay relevant but also to pause and rethink what must be prioritized according to the needs of the world right now? Will architecture be able to stand the test of time and evolve?
A New Status-quo
At the rate at which technology is shaping this world, in all aspects, we can sooner rather than later expect structures being built on the moon let alone floating buildings on this very earth. But during this time of the pandemic, where we are all locked down and the new status-quo is us being confined to our homes, work from home being the norm, and the only way to get into the outside world is through technology and with our balconies and terraces being our gateway to the community or the outside world so to say, a new challenge to rethink our spaces, how they can be used and how they can be made more versatile in their usage has become the biggest question architecturally.
The near future according to me must be prioritizing coming up with solutions, designing spaces that make our lives right now much more comfortable and easier, and what can be used post the pandemic, for example, a demarcation of relaxing and workspaces in our residential planning, as we’ve learned during this pandemic that most of the jobs right now can be done sitting at homes.
Glimpse of the Future
Architecture over the last two decades has evolved drastically, heading towards a future in which older more conservative ideas and concepts are outdated and are looking at newer techniques, newer ways to build materials, and innovative and more inclusive designs. We can now see compost being used as building materials, vertical cities to accommodate the growing population, the focus has been on self-sustaining and green buildings and the idea of smart cities has been in the talks with the pace at which technology is accelerating.
Architecture is a one-stop solution to various problems our world is facing right now be it overcrowding, depleting land and resources, deforestation, and has the power to lead us into better living conditions. The designs that have come around in the last decade have given us a glimpse of what we will be heading towards and what we can be expecting more of in the future.
Always around the Corner
With newer building materials and techniques, architecture in the last decade has also seen a major comeback of the materials such as wood, brick, sandstones, etc. People have grown more by blending something old into something new to have something that connects them to the bygone times. More houses are being built in India like the older courtyard houses with wooden columns and so on. Timber has become the material of choice for many architects today and the trend is only growing. Wood has been used for 10,000 years as a building material. There are Timber buildings that can be dated back to 6000 B.C. Wood has always been around. It is only now that we can see the full potential of timber as a building material.
More and more brick façade buildings can be seen now. Materials have now become a gateway between the old world and the new, with more and more people wanting to divert from the current skyscrapers and modern structures, in an attempt to stand out.
The future of architecture and the architecture practice I believe is a paradox much like this essay. It remains contradictory in this ever-changing world. It needs to keep evolving with time to stay relevant. In a conversation, Ole Bouman rightly said that he believes architecture is too important to be left only to architects. For any field, growth only happens with evolution and adaptation. It is important in this tech-driven era that architects collaborate with experts from other fields to broaden the horizons of architecture.
The future of the architectural field I believe is in finding a balance between technology and design. Technology such as usage of newer techniques such as robotics in construction, Building Information Modeling, Usage of Virtual Reality for understanding spaces, and pushing our boundaries in everything this field has to offer.
Architecture is a profession that gives a purpose and meaning to otherwise lifeless spaces, it is only right that it keeps up with time and where the world is heading while also keeping in mind what is important and healthy for this earth and us as users.
Makers of the World
Lastly, I believe the future of architecture lies in our hands. It is a given that we as architects with a responsibility towards this field, our clients, and the earth, need to reevaluate our options. And to effectively adapt to this future, we need to focus more on the user experience, keep up with the market, the technical efficiency of spaces, and the efficiency of construction, while also designing aesthetically beautiful designs. The architecture and more so design of a space must be focused on enhancing the clients’ taste and usage while also keeping in mind the surroundings and our responsibility towards nature altogether.
This is the time; this is the future. We are living in times of change where art, science technology and design are all coming together making this field only more fascinating as we go. It is time for us to define our future through architecture by giving spaces a purpose and making sure this field is here to stay.