Ever since the existence of human civilization could be traced, a reflection of architecture alongside could also be noticed. The range of this architectural prospect may vary from caves from the prehistoric times in which our ancestors used to live to the sky-high skyscrapers which surround us nowadays; both are a fine example of structures, regardless of the scale or proportion of it, that represents how society functions and in what way it could be demonstrated so that different eras could be differentiated from each other. These structures mainly denote the ethics and values that the people of the society live with. Humans earlier would build forms just to accommodate their beings, unlike the present day, where the visual aspect plays the main role.
Life without architecture would be more or less very bland, since architecture is that aspect of life which would help make the surrounding more ergonomic or customized as per each individual’s own desire. This helps attain a personalized approach or mark it in a way that makes life a lot more livable by giving a unique identity to each being.
Architecture reflecting culture | Worldscapes
If there were no architecture, the ability for people to gather and communicate their thoughts and opinions would be very less feasible. Hence, shaping mankind without such habitable structures shall be difficult, and architecture makes it much more facile for society in a holistic way. Architecture is not just a physical form to accommodate human beings. Still, it also acts as a medium to convey emotions or help carry on legacies from generation to generation, keeping them from fading away with time.
Since the inception of civilization, architecture has been an excellent way to portray true reflections of culture: Konark Temple, Gol Gumbaz, Chichén Itzá, Great Sphinx of Giza, Aqueduct of Segovia, Arc de Triomphe, Roman Colosseum, etc.
Konark Sun Temple, a 13th century CE sun temple located in Puri district (Orissa, India), is believed to be built by Narasimha I (who ruled between 1238 and 1264) of the Eastern Ganga dynasty. The characteristics of the temple correspond to the true Nagara style of Architecture (one of the styles of Hindu temple architecture).
Gol Gumbaz (or Gol Gumbad) is a 17th-century mausoleum located in Bijapur (Karnataka, India), and holds the remains of Mohammad Adil Shah (Adil Shahi dynasty’s 7th sultan). This structure is amongst the finest examples of Deccan Indo-Islamic architectural style.
Chichén Itzá is a massive step pyramidal structure, a complex of Mayan ruins on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. It was also known as El Castillo or Temple of Kukulcan and used to dominate the ancient city and was at its peak from around 600 AD to 1200s. Chichen Itza is a Terminal Classical building’s complex which was constructed in the Puuc architectural style.
The Great Sphinx of Giza is a 2550 BC limestone statue of a reclining sphinx, a mythical creature with the body of a lion and the head of a human. From what it’s known, the statue is carved from a single piece of limestone, and some pigment residue on the pyramid suggests the structure was once painted. The famous sculpture is an example of Egyptian architecture.
Aqueduct of Segovia, a 1st century Roman aqueduct located in Segovia, Spain, was a water channel from springs of mountains situated 17 kilometers away. It was used until 1973 for the city’s fountains, public baths and domestic uses. This is a fine example of Roman water transportation architecture, parts of which can still be used. One of the most identifiable features of this Roman aqueduct were the bridges constructed using rounded stone arches.
Arc de Triomphe, a famous monument whose construction commenced in 1806 and finished in 1836, located in Paris, France, stands erect at the western end of Champs Elysees at the center of Place Charles de Gaulle.
As per the words of Richard Rogers, “Architecture serves society and improves quality of life. It is a physical manifestation of the society’s wishes to be civilized”. Architecture helps create a balance between art and science and encourages both aspects of it. Without architecture, the world would be a much blander place to live in. Not just because architecture provides visual ambience but also because spatial organization helps humans understand and relate to the physical masses.
At the inception level, architecture pertains to creating and providing a surrounding/environment which would be a lot more livable. But the aim of architecture doesn’t halt just here, it also makes an attempt to become a part of our culture and be something more than just built masses. Architecture, in a way, portrays how we see ourselves and also how we observe the world.
Hence, architecture is a means through which society can bind, understand space as it was supposed to be understood, observe and analyze space more than built form and simultaneously provide a better view to look at.