“Architecture should make us feel different; if not, engineering should be enough.” – Architect Daniel Libeskind.

Architecture is a way of expression, the expression of an individual and the community or a whole region at macro levels. Since the beginning of civilization, man has given form to his expression of values, necessities, desires, and visions. Thus, creating spaces for different communities with a varied representation of these expressions, public places are now categorised as community spaces, hospitality, healthcare, administrative spaces, etc.

As an ordinary civilian, people understand these categories, but what leads to these categories is the part where architecture enters the story. As an innocent kid, fiddling around parks and playing in a maze makes us excited. But by being part of the architectural community, one learns that elements are idealised and carefully planned around these community areas to create those different childhood memories.

As Winston Churchill says, “We shape our buildings; thereafter, they shape us.”

Understanding the role of architecture

Architecture is nothing but the very creation of our imagination. Every space and building has its character and story of time to tell. The story’s character is created through layers of elements intertwined with one another. These elements are derived from our living habits and lifestyle patterns itself.

“The elements of architecture are not visual units or gestalt; they are encounters, confrontations that interact with memory.” – Juhani Pallasmaa.

Example: The Red Oasis by PMA madhushala

The red oasis is the public space between the residential complexes of a suburban region of Pune, India. It has an area of 715 sq. mt.

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Site and context of the red oasis_©PMA madhushala

As its programme spaces, it has a Kids’ play area, a multi-functional space, an amphitheatre, open ground, a temple, a gazebo & seating, a walking pathway and a library; all spaces inspired by way of living and needs of various ages user groups. All primary functions are planned along the site’s edges to ensure the significant open ground is retained in the centre.

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Layout plan of the red oasis_©PMA madhushala
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Color and Materials of the red oasis_©Hemant Patil & PMA madhushala

The red oasis has mainly brick red and lush green colours as the colour palette for having attention from the monotony of concrete greys around the neighbourhood. This colour palette is intended to highlight the space in the context and to encourage the relatedness of visual appeal. Since the space intends for the community, the colour & material palette must be soothing to experience and appealing to the eye. Using color & material palette to make an impact is foreseeing idealisation of an architect; which makes the major difference. If the color palette could have been of bright primary colors, the ambience would not have made such an impact.

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Form and Scale of the red oasis_©Hemant Patil & PMA madhushala

The built form’s height and scale is also a major factor for public buildings to justify their purpose. The purpose of the Red Oasis is to serve the community, for which the scale of the built form has to be humane; so that people can engage with and within the mass. Yet it has to create the equilibrium of opaque and transparent. The indoor spaces of Oasis serve as a double-height multi-purpose hall, library on the mezzanine floor and open amphitheatre at the other end. The form of its built mass is unlike conventional geometrical forms. Its structural arches creating walls are the vital element of its visual appeal. The roof is of flowing floating pattern and made up of metal scrap, aiming towards sustainability.

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connection of inward space with outdoor spaces_©Hemant Patil & PMA madhushala

When one talks about the equilibrium of opaque and transparent spaces, it overlaps with the tranquillity of the space. The public spaces have this intangible feature of connecting indoors and outdoors. The Red Oasis has different typologies of sittings like stepped sitting and solid brick decks around the edges of central open ground. Creating space that can be experienced through various activities like walking, sitting, and socialising; engages a mind from various perspectives. A person experiences these differential perspectives as a daily chore.

value addition by tiny elements_©Hemant Patil & PMA madhushala

The special touch to any design is given by value addition to it. The Red Oasis has small niches around the built form with planters and small sitting niches as a personalised touch. A thoughtful formation created by making curved walls intended as structural members but also becoming the unique features. These unique elements become vital spaces that create unforgettable memories for its stakeholders. 


Design, colours, height, scale, proportions, open and built, mass and void, opaque and transparent, relativeness of spaces, visual appeal, etc., are the elements people experience and express as a way of living. A man thrives within the architecture created through these layers of expression. 

“Architecture is an art of reconciliation between ourselves and the world, and this meditation takes place through the senses.” – Juhani Pallasmaa.

Architecture is a result of these very layers intersecting, overlapping and intertwining. Together they create the world man imagines in dreams and desires. These expressions are learned, and ideology is evolved by entering this alluring architectural community. One can truly learn to unravel the anatomy of its expressions through architecture. One can turn a dream into reality.


Kelawala, V.K. (2021) The Red Oasis / PMA Madhushala, ArchDaily. ArchDaily. Available at: (Accessed: December 11, 2022). 


Vishwa is an architect and research & heritage enthusiast. Driven by culture and art, she is passionate about creating designs that reflect persona and promotes well-being & sustainability. She, being keenly observant; believes that the god is in detail.