An unreal experience with space. A captivating walk down an aesthetic street.The dramatic play of honest materials. The vitality of scale; proportions and a surreal feeling of being consumed by spaces. Or just a blind decision and curiosity to explore this beautiful profession.
All of those descriptions above are probably why you chose architecture. Your reason might be more unique and not even listed here, regardless of; you’re here. Most likely taking a break from the mindless pile of work or procrastinating working on your upcoming sheet submission. Read on about how architecture evolved my perspective. Hope this article makes you reflect on how architecture might have changed your perception, added value to your existing beliefs and made you a space-conscious thinker.
A slice of how I perceive places
What has been listed below is an asymmetrical collection of architectural experiences and realizations that moved me.
- Architecture is a mosaic jar of everything that makes a city.
Cultures. Places. And the presence of its people. I had been living and experiencing these ideas arbitrarily like colours placed in different hollows of a palette. Each colour speaking of its individual description.
Architecture; in its most raw form, allowed me to view it as an eccentric mix of these colours. Observing kaleidoscopic patterns and indulgence of cultures in buildings and buildings in people.
The MG Road metro station in Bangalore for instance is a station of art. Its aesthetics and street art transports you even before the metro does. There is a cohesive movement of the users, metros, and the piece of metro memory that stays within you.
Bangalore Metro is just one example of many art murals and street paintings created by St+art. It is an art-loving organization that is creating quite an impression on the citizens of Indian cities.
- Architecture bridging the yawning gap between the elite and the penurious.
A prominent example that has stayed with me is the Meti school in Bangladesh by Ar. Anna Heringer. It is fascinating how she has utilized native materials and local labour to create something so empowering and bridging.
It is an organic space that was built with simple vernacular architecture yet brought about a huge wave of change; curating a safe learning space for the underprivileged children of the neighbourhood. This story is motivating hundreds of humans with every passing day.
Another example is a hands-on project that I was involved in. As a part of an experiential workshop in Auroville, architecture students are often invited to help build structures for the children who are in great need of them. The after-school Tamarai, located near the outskirts of Auroville is an example of how architecture manifests change through materials. Brick, bamboo, and ferrocement forming structures that translate security and happiness to the young children who are deprived.
- Adaptability of structures and curation of impermanent experiences that are timeless.
Prior to my architecture days, I believed that the very nature of structures and built spaces was to stay. To sustain weather, time, and existence. To serve its function for a long period. And architectural education let me explore and understand the idea of impermanence unconventionally.
Ar. Rahul Mehrotra explores this concept and speaks about The Kumbh Mela. A mega religious festival of India. Thousands of families are housed in a temporary city that is built up in weeks, celebrates the religious festival and swiftly disassembles into a barren land as it was.
Ar. Rahul Mehrotra emphasizes impermanent cities that can travel, reshape or retreat with the least possible effects on the environment. This certain example broadened my perspective as I contemplated over the hinge of architecture and impermanence.
- A surface idea of travel transformed into intricate detailing and observation
Walking. Running. Cycling. All of these are regular activities that we do to reach a place of choice. And once you begin learning architecture, these mundane happenings become a poem of observation.
Discovering and treasuring the details of a street to staring at a harlequin pattern on a dado wall. Architecture sways you from observing a city to a mere toilet detail. Eyeing the macro and the micro.
The transition from: Seeing things to looking at things.
From hearing to listening.
From feeling to experiencing.
From a dream to the site.
From thought to truth.
This is the barter that architecture provides for your sleep, time and focus.
A slice of how I perceive life
We are all familiar with the statement, Architecture is not just a profession but a lifestyle.
I seek life lessons in every conversation and story I meet, and architecture has been a stirring experience till now and it continues to be.
Every time you land inside a project, you are halted by an internal monologue. Mind full of questions and a heart full of differing emotions.
“I do not know this subject, it’s intimidating.” “How am I going to figure this out?”
“Will I be able to complete this submission in time”
Amidst all the chaos, anxiety, self-doubt, questioning, reasoning, designing, critiquing and finalizing, Architecture carries you. Architecture shifts you from a clueless space to a progressive learning curve with dips and rises, finally arriving at something that you created.
Something that you’re proud of. Something that plunged you beyond your comfort zone.
Architecture, a tangible challenge that pushes you from feeling complacent to feeling content. It is a certainty and a sense of self-belief that grows and diminishes and grows again. It fluctuates yet invariably exists, lingering around in this uncertain field.
Every moment when you caught yourself wondering if all of this was even worth it, yet you brushed that thought off and continued. Every night when you are up drafting. Designing. Sleep-deprived. Drowning in music. Rushing through. Delirious. Just like you were on the night before the jury. Despite the fatigue and energy drain, you somehow manage to get through. And at that moment, you are building resilience.
A new semester wrapping tolerance around you. A higher and stronger mental state with every level that you are crossing. After all the dread, gloomy, pushed through days, there lies a story of grit, smile curved into patience and perseverance.
This celebrated profession makes you walk on a tremendously narrow bridge of time. Narrow but a really long one. And gaining the right perspective is all about finding your balance. Neither stopping nor running, just learning whilst walking through this passage of time. This tedious journey is a surreal mix of dread and delight. It taught me to find beauty in the awful.
These are just a few learnings that architecture added to my school of thought. There is more to come. Architecture does not change your perspective, it enables you to meticulously build one.