Considering roti, kapda, and makan as essentials of living, architecture has been one of the easiest forms of art which are directly used and have been understood by every person, every day, for ages. It weaves people, spaces, and stories together. In addition to being tangible, it also creates a space that serves as a witness to what belongs to history. In various forms, it swings from the sciences to the social sciences, from philosophy to technology, and from manmade to natural. Whether knowingly or unknowingly, it plays a major role in the development of any human civilization. It sometimes becomes the origin, sometimes the journey, or sometimes the result! 

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Architecture as a spatial storyteller since antiquity_©Author-RadhikaBhamburkar, Parallel World

With the advent of modernism, architecture has started to be confined to its built forms as a structural individualistic expression mostly separated from humans. The dominance of the forms, material, and face value has been the central idea of it. Leading to culturally irrelevant storytelling and isolation from humans, contrary to the emergence of the people-centric architecture of the early 19th century.

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Human disconnect with growing architecture_© Isabel Infantes/Getty Images

With this dynamic change, as one moves ahead with time, architecture is being perceived in its most visible forms, the human dimension and the built dimension. The built dimension analogously tells a story of an object, and the human dimension narrates it differently through the lens of experiences.  

Did one ever wonder what kind of parallel universe they shall create if they analyze humans and build independently without the presence of the other? These two are so intertwined that the thought of taking one away from the other creates a raw canvas of endless possibilities.

The Human Dimension | Parallel World

What is the human dimension of architecture? Is it something tangible that makes one feel safe or something that provides a sense of home, or is it just a shelter? It is, however, an extension of the human being. As a human, irrespective of where we settle or what we do, we leave our imprints. These imprints are the reflection of society. It is a reflection of society’s history, culture, and faith. Stories, books, and buildings became the representations of these imprints for future generations. 

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Representation of Human imprints_©CottonCoulson,NatGeo Image Collection

Taking note of this, what will happen if we take this page of built evidence from this book of history? Will the stories continue to grow without their physical manifestation of them? With the absence of any built hierarchy, the culture will definitely grow even more on the human spirit. It will simplify the worldly complexities as a human would resort back to nature for their needs.

The Built Dimension –

 As one retreats to nature for shelter, the deepest caves, dense canopy, and underground holes become visible. The built extension of nature. It has been a vital part of natural ecosystems since its inception. The deepest of the caves helped humans to survive the strongest of the storms, harsh sunny days were made easy by the solid rocks and their shades, and the green jungles allowed humans to survive. This little cosmos started to form as humans learned to live on their survival instincts. That’s when the palpable architecture began.

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Naturally formed Naida Caves at Diu _© Puneet Vikram Singh/Getty Images

The Human-Built Dimension Together –

Humans and built dimensions evolved together to become what we call architecture today. Shelters became homes according to needs, and homes became palaces depending on the wants. Humans began talking about sustainability, green, and ecosystems as wants surpassed needs. Political trends, occupational inequalities, and gender biases became factors influencing human civilization with development.

Without architecture, humans would remain the tiniest part of this story. Time will travel back in time, and all life cycles will depend upon seasons. Activities will be guided by nature, and human learning will be more in tune with surroundings. In this parallel universe, nature will take over its original role. Humans will learn to appreciate nature in its truest form. This will lead to a rethinking of man’s idea of survival, which he will realign with nature. The central focus will be taken away from mankind to nature, where the unnecessary exploitation of the earth will fade away. This new canvas will bring the concept of preventative architecture rather than corrective architecture.

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Going back to nature_ ©Nacasa & Partners Inc

The Gist of It All | Parallel World

The human and the built are two sides of a coin. The built becomes a story only when human lives in it. The overpowering of any kind of nature or human will destroy harmony. One sees architecture as both object and environment, which can be completed only with human intervention. The building is always a repository of human life; as one talks about architecture, beyond the fact of shelter, it matters the way art matters; it makes life better.

Ultimately, the architecture sustains its users until there is a human dimension built that will continue to transcend. It will act as a vehicle through which transformations are made. 

Built and Nature merging_©Author-Radhikabhamburkar

Reference List | Parallel World

  1. Beri, S., 2014. Spaces inspired by nature. [Place of publication not identified]: Edition Axel Menges.
  2. DL, V., 2022. The Role of Architecture in Humanity’s Story – Thought Economics. [online] Thought Economics. Available at:
  3. ArchDaily. 2022. “As Long as There Are Human Beings and their Challenges, There Will Be Architecture”: In Conversation with Ole Bouman. [online] Available at: <> 
  4. Stead, N., 2017. Within and Without Architecture. Places Journal, (2016).

Radhika is a storyteller first and an architect second. She believes that architecture is a powerful tool to address society. It is one of the easiest forms of art which is directly used and understood by every person, for ages. She is a writing enthusiast, who loves to capture the world and her ideas with pen, paper and lens.