Architecture is the word that can possibly be synonymous with a black hole, a place that seems like no one can escape. Directly-indirectly, consciously-unconsciously, we all experience it. Over time, the use of space changes, and different age groups see the built space in a certain way. Architecture has changed the way of seeing life. It builds the framework of life that dictates the movement of a person in space. Until one enters the field of architecture and understands what it entails, we presume that architects merely create buildings.  Architecture is the continuation of a new cultural tradition, a new belief system, and a new vision of life. The practice of architecture is based on the idea that space is a function of the structure and is an integral part of it.

A building is a place where people live and work; the structure is a way to live. Architecture lets our culture progress in a way that we can’t predict with force. It encourages us to adopt healthier, more efficient habits. The building reflects the structure of society. Building and living are linked. The building is not an independent entity but an integral part of the whole life of the community.

The architectural character of public spaces defines the character of the community and the connectivity they share.

The transition of use of Public spaces with time 

Let’s take an example of a step-well. The step well is a type of public space that is currently only used as a tourist attraction. It used to be a pilgrimage site as well as a place to rest, revitalize, and replenish the groundwater table. It was not only a wonder of engineering and architecture, but it also contributed to the creation of a cool microenvironment in a scorching, desert environment. This public space served a diverse user-base and was a crowning achievement for the king who oversaw its construction. With time it has become a mere tourist attraction, and in some places, just left without any maintenance – just the mere existence of a marvel without any purpose.

Change in perceiving spaces over time - Sheet1
Rani-ki-Vav (The Queen’s Stepwell) at Patan, Gujarat _©Archaeological Survey of India .

Now let’s see public spaces in another form- an open space- under a tree. A panchayat is held under a banyan tree and the panch sits and takes decisions about the village under it. Because the tree is not only large, but it also represents immortality, and dominance and provides shade to a large number of people at once. These trees are currently mostly regarded in rural parts of India. Knowing the value of a place and what it has to offer a user is fundamental to architecture. The way we think about space has shifted. Architecture encompasses not only the total physical form but also the interplay of positive and negative space. As one learns and comprehends, one’s perspective broadens, and we discover that everything we see is purposefully planned and placed.

Change in perceiving spaces over time - Sheet2
A Panchayat meeting_© Nandini Sundar (the wire)

The streets functioned as a community area, a place to enjoy celebrations together. As children, we all played on the streets, with the porch of our house extending to the streets and grandmas watching youngsters play. The idea of streets has shifted throughout time, and they are now merely parking lots or frightening walkways. The transition which has happened with time has added to a lot more spaces in the society like the specific grounds to play and specific places for community celebrations that never existed in the past in a high number.

Change in perceiving spaces over time - Sheet3
The functioning of streets in old and new cities _ ©Leewardist
The functioning of streets in old and new cities _ ©Leewardist

The new definition of Public spaces with time 

Skyscrapers were first appealing to the eye, but as time passed, it became clear that the competition was achieving nothing more than a title as the tallest structure, and that the upper floors were a waste of space and resources. They are engineering and architectural wonders, yet they are inoperable. They have managed to attract many visitors.

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The occupancy of the skyscraper _ ©Leeardist

Many professionals are focusing on converting ancient structures such as disused factories, prisons, havelis, and old houses into well-maintained spaces that the public can use as communal or public spaces, which not only brings these buildings back to life but also gives them a new purpose to stay and engage people. Reusing the post-industrial landscape is playing a vital role in revitalizing the old factories in urban areas and it also helps in retaining the memories of the history of the city. 

The Banyan Tree Cafe at IF.BE_©Particular association

While traditional architecture is making a comeback, modern architecture is becoming more intricate and sophisticated. Modern architecture is a global style that emphasizes order, simplicity, utility, and material expression. It avoids needless adornment in favor of functionalist components present in nature such as concrete, steel, and glass. However, architects’ and designers’ inventiveness has no bounds, and both styles may be merged to produce a fresh modern aesthetic.

Architecture’s endurance has increased and changed over time. People’s attitudes toward places of public and community interest have shifted. Technology has played a crucial role in this transition. Architecture has changed drastically throughout time and will continue to do so. Mining was the industry’s first generation, during which time construction materials evolved from wood and brick to concrete, steel, and glass. Traditional styles were not popular until modern building materials allowed for creativity, resulting in much experimentation. People today create a diverse range of projects based on context, employing previously unavailable technologies. New technology has given birth to distinct styles and traditional architectural types are being re-imagined for today’s market.


  1. Article title: IF.BE makes space for art, architecture, and design collaborations in Mumbai’s 144-year-old ice factory

Newspaper title: The Hindu


Date published: May 7, 2022                  Date accessed: May 26, 2022                     Author: Nolan Lewis

  1. Article title: Check out breathtaking examples of adaptive reuse in five Indian cities

Newspaper title: Hindustan Times


Date published: December 7, 2019        Date accessed: May 25, 2022                Author: Dipanjan Sinha

  1. Article title: IF.BE makes a house for artwork, structure, and design collaborations in Mumbai’s 144-year-old ice manufacturing unit

Newspaper title: News India Center


Date published: May 7, 2022       Date accessed: May 28, 2022


Online sources

  1. Title:Rani-ki-Vav (the Queen’s Stepwell) at Patan, Gujarat

Website title: UNESCO World Heritage Center


Published year: Missing

Date accessed: May 24, 2022

Contributors: Missing

  1. Title: Adaptive Reuse as a Strategy for Sustainable Urban Development and Regeneration

Website title: ArchDaily


Date published: October 22, 2021

Date accessed: May 29, 2022

Author:Andreea Cutieru


Sakshi Jain is a fifth-year architecture student at the Mysore School of Architecture in Mysuru. She believes in creating experiences and exploring - big and small - which explains her love of language. With a rekindled love of reading and a desire to travel, she intends to go places and share her experiences.