Objects are categorized as per their degree of belongingness-visually, functionally, or socially conceived with that category’s archetype. A representamen only qualifies to be one when individual/ collective minds perceive it as the intended representation, through the retrieval of previously stored information and conceived notions about its typical features. These typical features are usually derived from the first product, introducing that category, having similar characteristics, setting the bar for typicality, and types of architecture. Types are formed in our minds for the purpose of organizing and easy and fast retrieval of stored perceptions. They are different, overlapping groups, based on parameters, which establishes a relationship between representamen and interpretant. Concepts become easier to form with the knowledge of context, i.e. a particular set of symbols (physical/metaphorical) that shapes the thinking of the community. Hence, this strategy is used to design as per this stored knowledge, by abiding by it or challenging it.

How Modern Values Blur the Existing Types of Architecture- Sheet1A human mind is able to categorize objects, choosing a few parameters of the lot. Those parameters are chosen by the brain using memory, knowledge, pre-conceived notions, and instincts. Sometimes, even the major conspicuous parameters are overlooked by the mind, if the basic essence of the object deviates not so much from the category’s typical. Also, once in the same category due to certain parameters, the objects are perceived to share other prominent characteristics of that category. Let’s take the example of gloves.

Surgical gloves, made of rubber and used for an entirely different purpose than the conventional woolen gloves, perceived under the same category due to similar physical characteristics, seem to induce the same human interaction.

How Modern Values Blur the Existing Types of Architecture - Sheet2

When an entirely new concept is launched, there comes with it no scope of comparison with the existing. Hence, that product, being the first of its kind, tends to be accepted widely and becomes the object for all future comparisons. Perceived as an archetype, it sets up the path for all future products of the same category, to follow. Taking an example of a chair, comfort is represented through the dimension and texture of the seat.

Hence, any new product could serve the purpose it is intended for through its design-functional and physical appearance, encouraging human interaction and in the end serving its functional character distinctly.

Now, a space and a piece of furniture, although designed as per anthropometrical study and user needs, encourages a different type of interactions on a much different scale by the user. Having different expectations in terms of needs, these two serve different purposes. But, can we really design a space without taking furniture into consideration? Although this may or may not be true for designing a piece of furniture, it inevitably becomes a part of architecture but not a subset of it. Considering the current scenario in many metropolitans, lack of space and its judicial usage, induced a paradigm shift towards the compact, modular, collapsible, and in-built, the design of which goes hand in hand while designing the building, in fact influencing it. While designing a long-span structure or parametric form, the design is dictated by the structure and materials used. Taking the example of Candela vaults, the design evolved out of structural stability, and in case of bamboo structure, it’s the material guiding the design, making structural and material design invention and experimentation an integral part of the architecture of the built. Hence, to design a similar context requires a multifaceted approach, actively engaging several disciplines within and beyond design fields relating to the built environment. Which, in this case, are architectural, interior, furniture, structural, material sciences, behavioral psychology, and HVAC system designs.


Contemporary culture doesn’t fit neatly into a box. As we prepare to enter the twenty-first century, it is impossible to ignore that our society is growing increasingly more complex. As each year passes, the postmodern condition reveals that problems cannot easily be categorized and separated into neatly formed disciplines. Boundaries are breaking down and multiplicities of difference exist. There is a newfound realization that most of our troubles stem from neglecting the interconnectedness of knowledge and the interdisciplinary character of all real-world problems’.

Any built/product results from and overlap between practices, methods, and approaches from various creative design fields, cross-pollinating to translate innovative ideas into workable realities. Design is now realized to have a complex and nonlinear process of development that draws influences from all walks of life. A new movement in search of “biomimetic” architecture has forged increasingly unlikely alliances between synthetic biologists, botanists, and other scientists with artists, builders, and material scientists. There are many designers, envisioning their designs in different scales, types of architecture, encouraging different human interactions, innovating systems of practice, and expressing themselves in any form they see fit and solve complex design problems through this multi-disciplinary approach.”Architecture is a fine art, [but] it is also a technology and an applied social/behavioral science in which architects make statements on the activity patterns, physiological needs and aesthetic preferences of people.” -Jon Lang



Categorization-Natural Language and Design, Uday A. Athavankar

Resisting easy categorization and expectations, Arunima Kalra is an architect through education, but she professes art, design, entrepreneurship, writing and many other professions with passion and vibrant imagination. Geeky, impulsive and a bit rebellious, she can be spotted working towards her own artistic utopia.