We all have some things listed under the category of a ‘Bucket List’ that we hope to cross down in our lifetime – places we wish to visit, adventures we intend to explore, and many other things. As we grow, so does our bucket list. From just listing down international tourist destinations we learn to include several other once-in-a-lifetime experiences as a part of this list. 

Often our careers influence these choices that we make but sometimes those choices also influence our career – One such profession that benefits from a holistic ‘Bucket List’ is the profession of ‘Architecture’. There is no universal list that can justify being part of this profession, but there are certainly some itineraries that an architect must try to complete – some places to visit, some cultures to indulge in, some workshops to attend, and some collaborations that shouldn’t be missed. 

Must-Visit Places Around the World

The most common theme for a ‘Bucket List’ is must-visit places around the globe, especially when it is made by an architect for herself/ himself. Amongst the numerous travel destinations following are some countries that need to be visited at least once while practicing Architecture. This is to appreciate the diversity in nature and acknowledge the presence of natural landscapes that gave rise to the vernacular architecture around them.

1. Australia

Being the only continent that is also a country, Australia is a destination that cannot be compromised for any other. With three times more sheep than people, this country has a very low population density. Moreover, the natural landscapes are awe-inspiring – beaches, snow-capped mountains, plainlands, and much more.

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Sydney, Australia_©royalcarribean.com.

It is known that if one is to visit a new beach in Australia every day, then it would take her/ him 27 years to see them all.

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Lucky Bay beach, Australia_©Getty.

The Australian Alps receive more snowfall than Switzerland.

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Australian Alps_©istockphoto.com.

There are some exotic flora and fauna found in Australia that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

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Australian Kangaroo_©visafirst.com.

2. Iceland

Iceland, popularly known as the ‘Land of Fire and Ice’, is a country where volcanoes and glaciers co-exist. This presence of two dynamic wonders of nature makes the country a remarkable landscape with thundering waterfalls and magnificent night-time displays.

In Iceland, you can swim outdoors in hot springs throughout the year.

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Volcano emitting ash into air in Iceland_©Gauti.
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Aurora Borealis in Iceland_©Joe Capra-Scientifantastic

The Northern Lights paint the sky into a sight that shouldn’t be missed. 

3. Japan

Japan is known to be one of the most socially and technologically advanced nations in the world. With the world moving ahead at Godspeed, Japan is the country that believes in striving ahead of everyone else by working very hard. Its geography comprises four islands which together form a country.

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Japan_©usnews.com
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Forests in Japan_©worldatlas.com

69% of Japan is covered in Forest.

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Earthquakes in Japan_©csmonitor.com

Japan experiences over 1000 earthquakes in a year.

International Cultures that Represent a Rich Heritage

As an architect, we develop a comfort zone in and around either the culture we are brought up in or the culture we get accustomed to while pursuing our undergraduate degree. While this may help us in designing for the vernacular but it will not give us global exposure. For the same reason, we must try and indulge in different cultural practices around the world – by choosing to visit cities during important festivals people celebrate there, or during a season where people in that city celebrate the open spaces around them.

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Holi in India_©indiathedestiny.com

1. Indian Festivals

India is a country with diversity like no other – it is home to over 1.3 billion people, 9 recognized religions, 22 different languages, and numerous fascinating cultural experiences. The country and its citizens live by the motto ‘Athithi Devo Bhava’, meaning ‘Guest is equal to God’ and is known most for its hospitality.

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Indian festival of Diwali_©indianexpress.com

Indian festivals represent an enriching list of cultural practices for which the country is globally recognized.

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Indian food platter_©matchingfoodandwine.com

Indian food is rich in spices, flavors, and lots of love.

2. African Tribal Life

Africa is the only continent in the world that spans both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere. This serves as the justification for the diversity in its climate and landscape that is also reflected in its civil structure throughout history. While ‘African people’ are homogenized in recognition all over the world, it is interesting to note that there are more than 3000 diverse tribes in ‘Africa’. 

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Ndebele women in Africa_©africabudgetsafaris.com

African tribes represent communities that live in harmony with nature. 

3. Choose a European Country

Europe is the continent known as the ‘Peninsula of Peninsulas’. It is home to both the smallest country in the world, the Vatican City State, and the largest, Russia. With the British responsible for colonizing many countries around the world, Europe was the continent that led the rest of the world into industrialization. 

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Polish Traditional Dancing_©heritagetribune.eu
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The Café Griensteidl in Vienna, watercolour by Reinhold Voelkel,1896_©aeon.co

The culture of Europe is reflected in its art, architecture, and literature.

Some Architectural Workshops 

As the world of construction leaps ahead into modular technologies and prefabricated building solutions we are slowly missing out on traditional techniques of construction that require meticulous craftsmanship and attention to detail. 

As architects, we are responsible to revive these traditional construction techniques and devise sustainable building methodologies through that knowledge. Therefore, in our ‘Bucket List’, we cannot miss out on workshops that teach us how to treat natural resources as construction technologies.

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Bamboo workshops in Bali_©Bamboo U

1. Bamboo Workshops in Bali

Sustainable Building solutions stem from the healthy use of Natural resources – One of which is ‘Bamboo’. Some species of Bamboo account for a compressive strength twice as that of concrete, and tensile strength close to that of steel making it a go-to solution for a wide variety of constructions. 

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Bamboo workshops in Bali_©Bamboo U

The use of this natural resource is restricted to places where it is naturally grown and where they support the local climate.

2. Mud Construction Workshops in Tamil Nadu

Another sustainable material, that has been used by several civilizations throughout history to create their architectural solutions for living, is ‘Mud’. Varying with respect to the location and geography of different cities, different soils give rise to different construction technologies in mud. 

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Mud workshops in Tamil Nadu_©Thannal.com
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Mud workshops in Tamil Nadu_©Thannal.com

‘Soil’ is an important component of construction, whether used as a sole material or in composition with other materials, and its knowledge can give rise to various design solutions.

Collaborations that are Mutually Beneficiary 

Architecture is a multi-disciplinary profession. It represents the field of design wherein the professional is capable of playing the role of an anthropologist (who studies human behavior), product designer (who customizes spaces, furniture, or even interior décor artifacts), project manager (who is the communication link between the clients and contractors), and draftsman (who is responsible for construction drawings) all at the same time. 

While playing these multiple roles an architect has to collaborate with several consultants and clients, but some collaborations could help them with a new perspective towards their design.

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Tsai Residence and Guest House by HHF Architects in collaboration with Ai Weiwei/FAKE Design_©architizer.com

1. Collaborate with a Local Artist

Art and Architecture are homologous disciplines that differ only in perspective – but often architects tend to forget that art should be an integral part of their perspective towards design solutions. This problem can be resolved by collaborating with an artist in the design process. The presence of a local artist not only provides a fresh perspective but also helps to bring in a cultural point-of-view in the process. 

If not always, an architect must try and collaborate with an artist at-least once-in-a-lifetime.

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Canyon Residence by Lehrer Architects L.A in collaboration with Charlie and Jo Ann Kaplan_©architizer.com

2. Collaborate with a Psychologist 

Understanding humans and designing spaces for them may be the foundation upon which the profession of architecture is built upon. It is the responsibility of an architect to design for users and cater to their needs but there are several design problems that an architect judges from her/ his own experience rather than exploring public opinions. 

These are times when architects may need professional help in understanding how space has a psychological effect on the human mind.

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Notre Dame Catholic College_©fohlio.com

Several architects have conducted their thesis upon the premise of the psychological impacts of design on the human mind. Those researches can hugely benefit from the professional help and understanding of a psychologist.

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Amanenomori Nursery School, Japan_©indiaartndesign.com

There are several other places, and experiences in the world that an architect can indulge in and benefit from. The key to finding the right ‘Bucket List’ lies in subjective choices and feasible budgets. But keeping aside the customization of such lists, it is always a healthy practice to keep a ‘Bucket List’ and continuously updating it after new experiences in life.

References

Art-chitecture: 6 Stunning Artist-Architect Collaborations – Architizer Journal

https://www.africanbudgetsafaris.com/blog/african-tribes-african-culture-and-african-traditions/

https://www.trafalgar.com/real-word/facts-about-iceland/

https://www.makemytrip.com/blog/crazy-facts-about-australia

https://thannal.com/10-days-natural-building-workshop/

https://www.sotc.in/blog/12-fun-facts-about-europe

Gautami Menon
Author

Gautami Menon is a final year student at the Institute of Architecture and Planning, Nirma University. As an aspiring architect, she is passionate about expressing design through the written medium. She believes that architectural design is a platform where intellect meets art and her designs are an attempt at justifying the same.

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