A tangible manifestation, a story of visual delight, an emotion that is evoked by just being present, and a lingering feeling of what has been left behind. This is what architecture is. A special spatial, primordial connection that evolved with humans through the times. An unbreakable force of human thought that transformed itself to become the beacon of human zenith. When taken note of, it envelopes varied thoughts into it- from art to science, philosophy to technology, representation to symbolic, enigmatic to explicit. And yet, when it stands, it portrays all that which needs to be said and what needs to be felt. But what happens to this union of human culture and its physical manifestation when it no longer exists? What happens when people who no longer intentionally centre themselves to build structures that surround them place their beings in the realm of the somatic?

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Primordial Connection of Architecture_©Mostafa Meraji

The Reality of the Present

“Humanity leaves immortal echoes through its history using the media of language, art, knowledge, and architecture.”  (DL, 2022)

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Imprints of Humanity_©Alex Azabache

Human beings leave traces of their presence at each step of the journey of their life. They leave imprints of their existence, however inconvenient it may be to the others in that ecosystem, without any guilt and kind consideration. Starting with the cave art of mere expressions of their lives and beliefs to the formation of the cloud-piercing skyscrapers to fulfil their expressions of vanity. These structures, no matter the size or scale of proportion, are always an extension of what society represents.

The built form of a simple hut, the grandeur of a temple shrine, and the extravagant composition of a museum all reflect the values that human beings hold dear to them. The architecture of all the physical spaces reflects the successes and downfalls of the civilizations that behold them. They substantiate the sacred realm which dwells in the mind of various cultures of humans and pushes them into forwarding newer formed beliefs. The built spaces are, on a wide scale, the representation of these three things – culture, faith, and identity.

Traversing back to the Past 

I know that architecture matters very much to me, but I have no desire to claim that it can save the world. Great architecture is not bread on the table, and it is not justice in the courtroom…” (Goldberger, 2009)

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Resorting to Nature_©Egor Shitikov

If these three elements – culture, faith, and identity, are the key driving forces of what makes architecture, then humans would have to realign their beliefs into less intentional thought. Since architecture, like art, is largely defined by intention, the process behind the evolution of this fractal of discipline can be thought of as a past affair. A new paradigm of thought can be developed to accommodate the sacred realm of the human spirit. But if this intentionally built physical realm is gone, what does humanity rely on for its need to shelter?

Humans would then resort to naturally built forms to accommodate their beings. Their haven would reside in nature, perhaps in the deepest caves, in the thick of the forests, or maybe in the sunken holes. They would rely on the trees for the shade, springs for their sustenance, maybe animals for the earth-based relationship, the community for their daily exchanges, and perhaps, just perhaps, people would rely more on people. The non-existence of the intentionally built environment would lead people to a relationship with themselves. They would conceivably sync themselves with the flow of nature, with their truer forms. A return to the primordial sense of being would emanate from the Homo Sapiens, thus evolving them into beings that are in perfect harmony with the cosmos.

A New Age of Living

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Mankind in Harmony with Nature_©Daniel Lincoln

Humans wouldn’t then be flag-bearers of sustainability, preservation, restoration, and conservation. They wouldn’t pose themselves as eco-warriors, eco-activist, nature lovers, or nature enthusiasts. They would instead be aligned with the rhythm of the seasonal cycles and absorb the energies of the earth they would touch, the life that would surround them, and would enhance their learning through the uncertainty of the life that the new earth presents to them. Perhaps the culture of the beings would take varied forms of expressions, by writing, art, or music that involves communities at large, where the identity of the community would display itself through the collaboration of multiple harmoniously living individuals. Maybe their identity would be characterized by the efforts they take together, the efforts to accommodate every individual’s need. The generalization of the species’ characteristics would vanish, and uniqueness would flourish and be nurtured. The role of adaptation would befall the humans, and their role in the ecosystem would be redefined from their very roots. 

An Intentional Thought

When we talk about how architecture matters- beyond, of course, the obvious fact of shelter – is the same way in which any kind of art matters: it makes life better.”  (Goldberger, 2009)

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Art and Architecture Make Life Better_©Peter H

And that is exactly when the human spirit dies while striving- when it reaches its point of banality. When the whole civilization loses itself in the mechanical driving force of something that controls them, the soul of the civilization is lost, not to be found upon even intense search. The freshness of individuality needs to take root to give rise to the development of the identity and culture of that community as a whole. Respect, love, kindness, and empathy towards every individual and towards the system of nature that we are a part of would become of prime importance. 

A Closing Statement

If architecture were to disappear from the lives of humans, it would take a turn due to the underlying general compartmentalization of these humans into various fixed roles. When spontaneity emerges, the spirit flourishes and the culture of its people marks its identity on the expression of the lived experiences. Man needs to realign his position in the cosmos, his purpose, and how adaptable his needs can be in the face of other parts of the system he resides in. He needs to realign his focus from considering himself at the centre of the universe and exploit what is on this earth without further thought. He might want to build himself up instead to be a part of the natural ways of the universe.

Architecture as A Narrative for All Things_©Evgeni Tcherkasski

And the second human beings push themselves out of the centre of attention; they will feel liberated and obligated to respect the grand scheme of things. And while paying due respect, they will accommodate themselves for the upliftment of entire structures of systems instead of lone progression. And in this process of progress, architecture will then serve itself as a narrative that moves along the flow of the winds instead of passing against the waves of the sea. Architecture would then portray to be a factor of accelerated progression of thought and identity, and then perhaps as nature accompanies man.

References:

  1. The Role of Architecture in Humanity’s Story – Thought Economics. [online] Thought Economics. Available at: <https://thoughteconomics.com/the-role-of-architecture-in-humanitys-story/> [Accessed 22 July 2022].
  2. Goldberger, P., 2009. Why Architecture Matters.
Author

Tahoora, with a knack for writing, is in love with written words of all forms. She aspires to write about architecture to make it accessible, and more community driven to envision a world where the use of every brick, stirs up a conversation about its mindful place in the world.

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