The Beginning

When humans started evolving and settling down in one place, fresh water and shelter provided by nature were their first preferences. With agricultural practices and stable food storage, people came together and communities were formed, cultures flourished.

Humans observed dwellings of animals such as burrows, nests, beehives, and ant hills and took inspiration for shelters of their own. But as complexities increased, imitating nature directly was not enough. When constructing a shelter, problems related to climate, natural disasters, size, and stability required solutions.

Human Existence Without Architecture- Could it have been better? - Sheet1
A recognition for one’s identity on mud huts_Photo by Phil Marion on Flickr_

Eventually, structures were not only about survival and safety but a sense of aesthetics was developed. The aesthetical elements included symbols or signs which were used to communicate messages, hierarchies, and labels. There was a personal identity attached to the construction made usually by adding some decorative elements on the facades, colors, or materials used. It was a physical expression of the beliefs and motivations of the community, which was reflected in their structures.

A Dynamic Physical Form

When communities wanted to create civilized societies with systems, a physical environment supporting their morals was the main agenda. Commissioning an iconic archway, a tower, and a religious monument was a way of spreading awareness about their strong and rising cultural values. A built structure that appeals to the masses, visiting it becoming a part of their daily routine and is looked at when all hope is lost – initiating such feelings demands for architecture. It is built for the people and creates a sense of pride and appreciation toward their own place of settlement

Human Existence Without Architecture- Could it have been better? - Sheet2
The Sagrada Familia, Barcelona_Photo by Jordipostales on Flickr_

To show strength and power, the aim was to attempt to create something so permanent, so unique that it would be remembered by generations to come, history is a witness to this. For example, the Sagrada Familia of Barcelona – this church was commissioned by the people of the city and built completely with public funds. The facades of the church are used as a canvas to narrate stories about religion, in the form of sculptures and symbols to spread awareness among the people.

The Growth 

There is a tangible and intangible relationship between man and architecture. The culture of the people is recognized from their everyday routines and practices; architecture plays a participatory role here.  As settlements grew, infrastructure was required to support the economic developments and enhancements in quality of life. The architectural scope does not end at just this, it involves a little bit of everything – art, science, philosophy, medicine, etc. With that comes the constant strive to improve and innovate by exploring materials, crafts, and technology and blending them to create masterpieces. Understanding the context and culture and reflecting it in the concepts, guides in humanizing the spaces. With the increasing population, the need to feel closer when separated by distance developed. After studying circulation patterns and movements within settlements, architecture contributes to creating transport infrastructure.

To Define is to Limit

Jumping forward to today, the built fabric around us is the culmination of this history and culture with thoughtful design and careful engineering. Here one can question, “what is architecture?”, and every answer to this question is open to interpretation! But it can be somewhat summarised as designing and planning spaces for humans, with sensibility and functionality. 

Human Existence Without Architecture- Could it have been better? - Sheet3
A lifeless feeling_Photo by Ksushafineart on Freepik_

Imagining a world without architecture generates thoughts that are without life. Architecture responds to the times we are living in. Architecture has brought people together and has introduced them to various aspects of life. It addresses political and social concerns that are necessary for a society to function peacefully. Walking from outside to inside a building or vice versa there is a change in the mood of humans, where the architecture acts as the stimulus. It leaves a psychological impact on the minds of people. 

When asked, where one feels the safest and at peace, the answer usually is a location attached to a lot of emotions invoked by the space, where memories were made. Hence, architecture plays a direct role in establishing feelings in humans, which is an important factor of existence. In large cities, where many communities live, the built architecture, open landscaped spaces, and public spaces remove the barriers between separate communities and bring them together. 

The physical forms around us, the movements, and the activities provide a sense of reality. Architecture contributes to the way humans represent themselves and responds to the changes in time and needs of the progressing societies. Even with the introduction of artificial intelligence, people are creating virtual cities, claiming land, and building structures in these spaces which are not even real. Hence, even in these cloud spaces, architecture is the foundation to make human avatars perform and accomplish tasks. 

The city of Florence, architecture that leaves you inspired_Photo by Jonathan KorneronUnsplash_

Architecture has the power to instill feelings of awe, passion, beauty, surrender, and a sense of volume, height, and proportions. The everyday routine of people involves going to different places to get things done, eat, and relax. So, the thought of the world in absence of architecture means a world without all these experiences. A burdensome thought, don’t you think?

Citations for Images :

Pinterest. (n.d.). Rajasthani village hut folk art ornamentation | Indian folk art, Mud house, Folk art. [online] Available at:

Pinterest. (n.d.). La Sagrada Familia, older shot (still under construction to this day) Antoni Gaudi – Barcelona, Spain | Gaudi barcelona, Gaudi, Antonio gaudí. [online] Available at:

Freepik. (n.d.). Premium Photo | Abstract black and white watercolor landscape watercolour background monochrome wallpaper stains. [online] Available at:

Unsplash (n.d.). Florence Italy Pictures | Download Free Images on Unsplash. [online] Available at: [Accessed 13 Oct. 2022].


Netra is an architecture graduate who is passionate about all things design, loves to observe how spaces unfold while creating memories and enjoys putting thoughts into words with a design perspective.