“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time”  – Thomas Merton, writer.

Artistic subjects in architecture school, and why we must pay attention - Sheet1
Students of architecture understanding elements of art by painting ©en-arts.tau.ac.il

Architectural education encompasses a dynamic threshold of subjects that configure an individual into a proficient architect by developing the ability to bring about a reflective change in the built environment. Vitruvius in his treatises laid out the foundation essentially required to formulate the study for the practice of architecture; the present-day bachelor’s degree based on the same comprises of a wide range of topics regarding construction, design, historical, environmental, social and economical spheres that amalgamate predominantly to a technical driven course with allied subjects that bring the character in architectural realization.

Furthermore, artistic disciplines help compute multi-layer to creativity as they enhance the human sensation of touch, feel and sight by integrating elements of art that include line, shape, texture, form, space, color and value. These aspects tend to render a deeper dimension to architectural details that translate to a profound process between the idea and end product.

The initial years of the programme in design and architecture school emphasize subjects on art to succor into the creative segment of the brain by challenging the mind to produce outcomes without having a defined expectation that allows an individual to be free from having any stigma of hesitancy. In India, the first-year students are introduced to basic design intending to implement artistic grammar as a building block for critical thinking and fathom complex geometry. The vital role played by the elements of art in establishing a strong design narrative by overlapping with art appreciation that requires the student to dive chasmically to comprehend the necessities of art, artists and their body of work that always seem to generate a thought-provoking intimate relationship with the audience; irrespective of the result. Therefore, reflecting intensively on inter-relation between art and architecture to optimize overall spatial quality by providing simple solutions in technique and finesse to convoluted details.

Artistic subjects in architecture school, and why we must pay attention - Sheet2
James McNabb creates stunning abstract sculptures out of scrap wood, evoking city skylines across the world with familiar yet unplaceable forms ©www.archigardener.com

“Architecture is a visual art, and the buildings speak for themselves.” – Julia Morgan, Architect.

In the sophomore year, the students engage in topics such as visual communication, crafts in design and contemporary architecture which displays innovative use of art history and vocation into current aesthetics. It induces the question about the coherent relationship between art and architecture intertangled to transcend into material form. This justifies for the way grammar, syntax and structure of the principles of art are applied resourcefully by introducing the use of mix-media to convey concepts that might need just more than a model and architectural drawing to support. It encourages a collaborative environment for the undergrads in different scopes of design to explore their projects with an inter-disciplinary approach that allows developing of professional skills like teamwork, inclusion and consideration of all ideas, presenting their best attributes to the table making their contribution relevant to approach solutions in a given assignment; important for pupils to cultivate by the time they are ready to be licensed practitioners.

Art advances before the math involved in the design, training an individual to foster dexterity to draw on paper or AutoCAD while mentally envisioning the same in three and four-dimension to understand the working of plans, sections and elevation in complete harmony with each other. It also maintains a sense of balance between the exterior and interior of architecture where the building has the potential to be pure art by its form and volume, the work of art behaves as a space modulator, the design demands the architecture to affiliate art as an ornamental representative to ameliorate the aesthetic character.

“Architecture is really about well-being. I think that people want to feel good in a space… On the one hand, it’s about shelter, but it’s also about pleasure.” – Zaha Hadid, Architect.

Artistic subjects in architecture school, and why we must pay attention - Sheet3
Architectural sketch. ©www.youtube.com

The prospective architects need to understand that human being’s proclivity for ornamentation of habitable spaces exists since cave painting is found in caverns. Over centuries civilizations across the globe have unified art and architecture as a symbolic representation of their ethereal beliefs evolved to constitute an identity of cultural and political conditions. Thus studying the chronological evolution of architecture in every era to name a few from prehistoric, classical Greco-Roman, Indian to the renaissance, baroque, Gothic and contemporary styles indicate the prominence of learning how to consolidate ideas to integrate art in the design process as they bring out the emotional and psychological comfort to people in the built environment.

Educational institutions need to revamp the curriculum by adding more art-based subjects throughout the five-year degree, for instance, experiments with technology to create patterns in a wide range of materials from cloth fabric and ceramic tile to MS fabrication and glass, installation art process, spatial requirement and analysis for painting and sculptures to bloom, cultural representation of the design in contemporary aesthetics; this felicitates an objective role in the architectural pedagogy to embrace a continual demonstration of young minds producing conceptual ideas having the potential to solve pressing issues in today’s urban scenario. Periodic art movements originate a style of architecture that exhibit distinctive conceptualization strong in the expression of ideology, ergo artistic subjects are necessary for architectural schools to derive design ethos and appraisal the notion of collaboration in the creative realm.

“When I’m working on a problem, I never think about its beauty, I just think about how to solve the problem, but when I finish it if the solution is not beautiful, I know it’s wrong.”  – Richard Buckminster Fuller, Architect.

Artistic subjects in architecture school, and why we must pay attention - Sheet4
Installation art of mosaic stone pattern in the interior space of the house ©rebloggy.com

Subhay Baberwal, a practising architect at Taller-S and a visiting faculty at SJB School of architecture and planning, Bangalore. He is an art and culture enthusiast as well as a certified wildlife Eco-volunteer by the Karnataka Forest Department for activities regarding conservation, census, preservation. Furthermore, he is a poet and currently exploring his voice in architecture writing along with being a ghostwriter for mobile application, fashion collections and bloggers.