Imagine being seated on the soft grass of Champ De Mars Park in Paris on a tranquil evening. A gentle breeze glides over your face, and you relish the circumambient scenery. But the park is missing the gigantic steel structure- the mighty Eiffel Tower.  

Or, you are on a flight flying over the busy foreshore of Sydney Harbor. Numerous boats and ships are moving across the robust harbor. But, while glancing through the tiny window of the airplane, you observed that the magnificent white Opera House had disappeared.

The imagination mentioned above is not a cup of tea for everyone. However, this article is undertaking this paradoxical duty.

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Sydney foreshore with Opera House_©SCI-Arc
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Sydney foreshore with Opera House_©SCI-Arc

World Without Architecture

Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) created a short film entitled “Can you imagine a world without architecture?”. In this short film, the creators try to illustrate the after picture of a world without architecture. They try to revive the significance of architecture once again. Instead of exploring elevations and architectonic, the video uses terms like beauty, humanity, and heights to refer to architecture. The architecture was cited as culture, faith, and identity in the epilogue of the video. SCI-Arc tried to pass along a message that the world would be scrappy without architecture.

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“Can you imagine a world without architecture?” short film_©SCI-Arc

Do People Exist Without Architecture?

According to architect Smit-Clementi- “Architecture doesn’t exist without people.” It will be fascinating to discover if the statement goes both ways. If it is factual – people don’t exist without architecture. To explore that, inspecting the alliance between people and architecture is foremost. This venture will reveal how people and architecture are closely connected with a tight knot. The Egyptian or Roman era is not the foundation period of architecture. Instead, architecture evaluation happened from the very beginning of the human assessment. Looking at the remaining Stone Henge and all other paradigms of the ancient period, it will be apparent that people accumulated architecture way before anything else. Hence, it will be pretty impossible to think of human civilization without the touch of architecture.

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Earliest example of architecture- Stone Henge_©TheVulture

Primitive Architecture Without Human Existence:

In a true sense, architecture is older than ancient human. Before humans set their footprint on this planet, architecture already existed there. Coarsely modeled by the ancient forces of creation and occasionally polished by wind and water into elegant structures- that’s how primitive architecture had been formed. And there are many examples of this kind of architecture on earth. 

In this regard, Antelope Canyon can be named. The mysterious narrow passageways and artistic curve line composition over the orange rock can prevail over any artificial structure. Nature has carved this wonder from the red sandstone for millennia through seasonal flood rains and wind.

Ciudad Encantada, the “Enchanted City” is another pinnacle of mother nature. This unique kind of natural architecture is characterized by its curious rocky formations, sculpted over the centuries by ice, wind, and water. All this has modeled stone figures that look like humans, objects, and animals that spark visitors’ imagination.

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Antelope Canyon _©An Pham
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Ciudad Encantada: the “Enchanted City”_©Rafa Esteve

Human Civilization Without Architecture:

There is no doubt that architecture has been indispensable to human civilization. This complex art form didn’t serve the aesthetic purpose only; instead, it had been more related to functional purposes like providing “Shelter.” 

While the concept of “Shelter” is a relatively simple term, the style of buildings was instead a complex idea. The climate usually shapes this according to the geographical location, the access to available materials, and, most important, the norms of the society. At its root, architecture exists to create the physical environment in which people live, but it is more than just the built environment; it’s also part of our culture. Each society’s culture decides its identity, and architecture as a social phenomenon is derived from the culture and its impact.

Additionally, Architecture is the most enduring way to leave the sign of civilization. The great pyramids of Egypt had survived against the vital sand for 4500 years and apprised the modern people of the legends of the ancient culture of Egypt. And similarly, the pillars of Stone Henge evoke fantasizing about the past glory of that era.

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Illustration of Egyptian era _©Mohawk Games

Architecture vs. Nature:

Though human civilization is impossible to be envisioned without architecture, it has been detrimental to nature for the time being. Architecture started intervening in nature by cutting woodland, and now it has been destroying nature diversly. The construction of breathtaking architecture engenders massive defacement to the heart by carbon emission, destroying the forest and different through a different multifaceted mechanism.

Hence, without architecture, nature will feel relief and again prevail on planet earth ubiquitously, just like the time before humans started dismantling it. There will be no more massive structures to disturb the calmness of nature. Extinction of rare species will not happen. And humans will remain closer to nature. Instead of building separate entities, they can make their habitat within nature, just like the other animals.

However, the human race could be hampered without architecture, but mother nature will be highly delighted.

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Nature dystopia_©Sharmani Joshi

Final Words:

“How will human society look without architecture?” might be a silly question, but it unfastens a new horizon of imagination. This revokes the necessity of architecture from a new perspective. In today’s world, architecture has become so common that sometimes we don’t pay attention to its blessings. The significance will only be perceived once we presume architecture’s absence.

References:

  1. Rudofsky B. (1964). Architecture without architects, an introduction to nonpedigree architecture. New York: The Museum of Modern Art.
  2. HMC Architects (2019). How Does Architecture Impact Society? A High-Level Look: Thought Leadership. (Last updated October 21, 2019). Available at: https://hmcarchitects.com/news/how-does-architecture-impact-society-a-high-level-look-2019-10-18/#:~:text=The%20Importance %20of%20Architecture,how% 20 we%20see%20the%20world(Accessed October 15, 2022)
  3. SCI-Arc (2017). Imagine A World Without Architecture. [YouTube video] Available at: https://youtu.be/9c8FtVMxdaE?t=5 (Accessed October 15)
Author

A young and enthusiastic architect from Bangladesh who has an immense interest in writing and content-making. She loves to connect with different people while sharing thoughts and ideas. Also, she is determined to be an ecologically concerned designer of tomorrow.

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