As more of us throng into cities, urban planners are re-thinking buildings’ influence on our moods and researching the hidden ways in which architecture can give direction to our lives. 

While considering the revamp of the bomb-ravaged House of Commons back in 1943, Winston Churchill famously mused, “We shape our buildings and afterwards our buildings shape us.” He would certainly be pleased to learn that more than 70 years on, neuroscientists and psychologists have found enough evidence to back him up. 

Having said that, here are three little things that architecture changed for me:


The impact of architecture makes traveling much more than just an experience; it makes it a journey of understanding the transition of spaces: how one space segues into the other. Traveling can be an impressive learning experience especially if you have some connection with art and architecture, for each place showcases unique architectural styles. Traveling gives, to architects, an insight into the lifestyles of various societies and thus, observing that proves beneficial in making designs humane centric. 

True enjoyment while traveling comes to play when one can soak in that very place’s native culture and way of living and this is exactly where architecture comes to play! The first impression when we visit a place comes from what we see around us; the buildings and their architecture are the most visible elements of the city and give it a unique character. 

The architecture of the town narrates many stories about why it was built as it is; the political influences, climate, and lifestyle. Architecture takes us back in time, to experience the life of our forefathers and making the travel experience more enriching and enjoyable.

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Architectural Travel Art_


The most logical relationship between fashion and architecture is that both provide shelter in different social dimensions. Both fields passed through several periods transitioning from complexity to modernity and simplicity. Many buildings have been inspired by garments and garments from buildings. 

Both buildings and clothes reflect lifestyle; they elevate aesthetics and appearance. They share the intellectual ideas that drive form, as well as many common elements like space and volume, color, texture, planes, structure, strength, and so on. There are differences though, most obviously in scale. 

Moreover, unlike garments, buildings are bespoke rather than one of a number; they’re meant to last a lifetime rather than ephemeral; they’re inhabited by many and not just one, and the owner often isn’t the user. Just like eco-architecture, eco-fashion is now gaining popularity. 

Taking environmental footprint into consideration during the production and manufacturing phase is known as eco-design. Eco-design not only improves the environmental outcomes, but it can also help you save a lot of money in the long-term. Sustainable or slow fashion just like sustainable buildings encourages the use of locally produced, biodegradable material which have little to no adverse effects on the environment. 

So, these clothes eventually return to the ecosystem, once we are done using them. Studying the subject of sustainable architecture has influenced fashion for me and has inspired me to opt for thrifting clothes and to stop wearing leather and silk.

Courtesy of Hussein Chalayan_

The Renting or Home Buying Experience

Buying a house in India can be challenging for many reasons. The civil engineering/architecture curriculum sure comes in handy to identify a good property quickly and give you the confidence to ignore the unsuitable ones. 

Here are some things architect-home-buyers keep in mind:

Settle on Priorities

Some everyday ‘must-have’ items include the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and car-parking, you can also include more obscure needs such as a private terrace, dog-friendly spaces, and proximity to your workplace, educational institutions, and hospitals.

Renovation Potential

There is no point rushing in to buy a house and then finding out that you wanted something else in terms of aesthetics and functions. While some buildings are cheaper to renovate and add to than others, some are just impossible without a complete and costly rebuild. If you are unsure about a property’s renovation potential, hire an architect before you buy.

Long Term Goals

The cost of stamp duty, advertising, agent’s fees, and legal charges could make the home buying a one-time-thing for most people. Long-term goals are similar to ‘must-haves’ discussed earlier, except that you can live without them for now.

Lighting and Ventilation

What is the building’s orientation? Do the rooms get enough sunlight and breeze? The builder’s photos always look bright, so what’s the best orientation regardless? Generally speaking, the best orientation is one that allows you to take the most advantage of the Sun. This means natural lighting in living areas and kitchens. Proper orientation will also help prevent dingy corners and stuffy rooms.

High Side of the Street

Almost all sites have some slope, and it is generally much better to pick a house that slopes down to the road. There are quite a few reasons for this, but the most important one is stormwater runoff and adequate drainage. Ignoring this point can add heavy expenses in the future. If you don’t have details regarding the site’s drainage, do get specific advice from a stormwater engineer.

About the House

  • Are the house and its surroundings suitable for improving mental and physical health and well-being? 
  • Is the building’s electrical wiring in a safe condition? Is there a good waste disposal system?
  • Is there a fire protection system?
  • Are there structural or foundation problems?
  • How much repair or maintenance work needs to be done right away / in near future?
  • Is there a pest control system in place?

Documents you need in India

  • Sale Deed/Title Deed/Conveyance Deed
  • Extracts from Mutation Register
  • NOC from Government Departments
  • House Tax/Property Tax Receipts
  • GPA (General Power of Attorney)
  • Sanctioned Building Plan
  • Allotment Letter
  • Payment Receipts
  • Documents of Existing Loan
  • Agreement to Sell
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A Cartoon by Guy & Rodd_

Sowmya is an architectural journalist and writer. In this column, Sowmya takes you through stories on eco-architecture, biophilic design, and green buildings from across the globe.