Studying architecture involves understanding multiple disciplines, from structural design to art and history. Since students tend to bias over subjects, they realize the purpose of it all only once they begin practicing. The value of architectural history goes overlooked since the beginning of professional training in architecture. Memorizing timelines and sketching details of historic buildings deviates from the real intent of learning. Thus, one must read between the lines and understand why history happened the way it is. One must be critical of the past while learning from their success at the same time is an essential step in understanding history.

Timelines that link art and architecture | Architectural History

From Medieval and Renaissance to the Modern period, timelines have connected art, architecture, literature, and music. For instance, the common element that linked the art and architecture during the Renaissance period was the rebirth of perspective, symmetry, and linearity in form. Such aspects help in understanding the hidden interrelation of art and architecture.

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(Renaissance fresco by Michelangelo in Sistine Chapel) ©

The philosophy behind an architecture

Philosophies and ideologies of the architect inspired historic buildings to its form. The light infusing through the windows had a more poetic sense than an opening on the wall. Every symbolic detail carved on the structure poses a meaning worth reflecting.

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(Caryatid or female figurines as support structures in Erechtheion, Athens) ©

The driving force behind the construction | Architectural History

There was always a higher purpose behind the construction of a building that changed with time. Religion was one of the main reasons until the 20th century, with numerous shrines and cathedrals erected all over the world. In present times, functional buildings like apartments and restaurants are becoming increasingly popular to date. Thus, the driving force continues to change with the changing preference of society.

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(Aerial view of Saint Peter’s Basilica and Square, Vatican) ©

The evolution of architectural elements

Architectural elements evolved as the architects experimented on ways to improve the indoor environment and structural stability of the building. The evolution of the barrel vault to fan vault is a basic example of this evolution. The increase in window openings during the Gothic period is another such example.

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(Comparative examples of English Gothic doorways by Banister Fletcher) ©

Adaptation of a building in a town with time | Architectural History

Although the building stood in the same place, the city continued to live around the building. New streets and buildings began forming around the structure mainly for its historical or religious importance. Temple towns such as Madurai and Rishikesh formed around the main temples of the place.

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(Vintage photo of Charminar, Hyderabad) ©

Impact of scientific and technological advancement

The application of science and technology in architecture has prevailed since ancient Egyptian architecture. Inventions such as electricity, concrete, and machinery started a revolution which impacted the architecture, making the purpose of science as a force to speed up and simplify construction.

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(Construction of Notre Dame du Haut in Ronchamp, France) ©

Correlation between political scenario and architecture | Architectural History

Political power and unrest molded and demolished architecture. While the sultanates arrived in Delhi with Islamic styled mosques, the British colonized India and destroyed most of these centuries later. Several buildings were demolished and built in a place but never recorded, with its existence proved from its rubbles.

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(Demolition of Berlin Palace during World War 2) ©

Foreign influence on indigenous architecture

Foreign culture continues to influence native architecture and lifestyle. India is a blend of several cultures imprinted through colonization and kingdoms established. Colonial and Islamic architecture in India is an evident example of foreign influence.

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(The Madras High Court) ©

Importance of conservation

Conservation of architecture is essential from the beginning of its construction so that every minor detail is never lost. Several modern architects continue to take up conservation projects as the heritage and art belong to the cultural fabric of the place. Thus, architects must understand the importance of preserving the past and building the new equally.

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(Restoration of 1872 Bradley House, Iowa) ©

Inspiration for architects to incorporate traditional styles | Architectural History

Traditional architecture is the root of sustainability, thus studying the materials and construction techniques will help tackle significant issues faced in modern construction practice. Rather than aesthetically recreating old buildings, an architect must understand the logic behind the elements and use it to its advantage.

(The Skew House in Kerala is inspired from traditional Kerala architecture) ©<span style="font-weight: 400;"></span>
(The Skew House in Kerala is inspired from traditional Kerala architecture) ©


As an architecture student, one can learn a lot from history and its influence in molding the city. The culture, government, and the revolutionary movements weave into the place as architecture, art, and literature, existing as its reminiscence. The absence of the past of a town is a scar that can never compensate for the missing heritage. Thus, architects must collectively prevent the disappearance of historic architecture as it is the primary influence for future structures.


Gopika Pramod is an aspiring architect and writer whose thoughts are expressed as beautiful sketches in the readers' minds. She loves to bring a different perspective that is frequently seen but failed to observe and keeps her mind open to new ideas.