Frame of Reference – “To some architecture is like movies; rolling cameras with every structure that tells a story, to some its music; sorting notes and to some it’s their complete heart and soul.” At its core, architecture exists to create the physical surroundings in which people live, but that isn’t what architecture is limited to, it is way more than just the built environment that surrounds us, its a part of the society and a representation of our culture.
Architecture is a frame of reference that serves as a metaphor for how we view the world and ourselves. It is not until you have stepped foot into an architectural school that you realise just how much information and knowledge awaits us, a world of learning that shapes the rest of your life. Only when a student is introduced to the many facets of architecture that ordinary things that we see on daily basis find themselves names, definitions, and meaning.
A walk to the market is now a series of RCC buildings, some with casement windows, awning blinds, and white plastered walls; some with old-style Palladian windows with freshly painted walls; some have bay windows, and some don’t have any windows at all. Every building now seems to have a story to tell. A story of how it was built, to who it was built for.
Architecture teaches us to be good observers before good designers, it is impossible to design something new and interesting unless you have a good sense of knowledge of what already exists. Our observation skills make us look at every nook and corner and analyze our environment. When you step back and look around, you begin to appreciate the natural splendor that surrounds you. The little aspects of every building that serves us purpose all start making sense, from the long corridors in our schools to the double-height spaces in auditoriums. The world is now viewed with a lens of understanding and curiosity.
What might seem like a tall astounding tower to everyone else, seems like a series of questions to the architects. What kind of foundation did, they use? Is it earthquake and windproof? Do they have a proper refuse area? Do all apartments get the view? Our knowledge over the last few years in terms of services, aesthetics, and civil structure all work together to help us comprehend the existence of structures and places, along with what could be possible. As an architect, it’s common to look at a structure or a location and try to imagine how it was created from inception to its final design. From the initial stages of site analysis, understanding the strong points and culture of the surrounding, followed by conceptual drawings to working drawings, and finally the construction phase. It’s this curiosity that helps us to learn more and expand our knowledge.
The world may seem as a collection of well-established and indestructible traditions, a careful examination reveals that architecture is a wholly creative, human product. It can take any shape or form we like, the patterns we observe on a daily basis may appear to be the ultimate outcome, but they are all developed outcomes that are influenced and regulated by the geographic, historic, or cultural values of the location. From Hampi‘s high ceilings to Kashmir’s sloping roofs to Jaipur’s usage of sandstone. The progress of architecture continues every day.
For people of this industry, architecture goes further than just desiging a place of shelter but it serves as a stage and creates a framework for our existence. If one spends time observing how culture and purpose is reflected in architecture, one realises how achitecture is less of career but more of a world view. A prism through which we observe everything around us. As a result, it lends itself to a wide range of visually creative mediums—graphic design, video production, film, etc.—that require the conceptualization of space.
With this new perspective of frame of reference also comes a new opinion, the field of architecture is extremely subjective. What might seem like a well-designed functional building to one might seem aesthetically boring to the other. As budding architects our opinion on design also makes us view our environment in a certain way. We judge, analyze, and observe as we go. Architecture is futuristic with each critique comes new ways of undertstanding of humans and livelihood. It brings forward our interaction with the world around and its effect on us. With each new building comes new and modern ideas to improve our daily lives. The buildings surrounding us are a proof of constant evolution of this profession. A proof of our history, geography and our culture. When you look through the lens of an architect, the world doesnt seem like a cluster of plain structures but a curation of art wherever you go.