The Contribution Of Architecture To Nation Building

“We shape our Buildings: Therefore, they shape us” – Winston Churchill

Building is the representation of Architect’s idea and over the time people who live and work there inculcate the same qualities and attributes in their life. For example, Google’s headquarters in Hyderabad, India. It is famous for its open work culture and promote fun work environment to make the workplace feel like more than just work. As in this stressful environment where people don’t have time for fun and leisure activities, google standard had instilled all these features in the office itself. Thus, improving standard of living which in turn improves the quality of work itself.

Architecture is the mirror of civilization and reflects the history of any country. It casts light on the social, religious customs and manners and development of the country. The development of civilization of any country is propagated in the development of architecture. Architecture is a live example of a particular era representing a particular society, religion or culture. Egyptian architecture reflects the autocracy of the Pharaohs and slavery of the people. Greek architecture reflects the beauty with highest perfection and the democratic belief of Greek civilization. When we talk about Basilica architecture, Basilica churches comes in mind first which reflects religious enthusiasm.

Architecture not only just represent particular aspects of the society, culture in general but it is also very useful in promoting Humanity, world peace. For example, Matrimandir in Auroville, India is an adobe for those seeking spiritual guidance & internal yoga, which is situated in its large open space and open to all religions and section. Statue of Unity in Gujarat which celebrates India’s spirit of unity and integrity and also sends out the message to whole mankind that we must unite for the well-being of humanity.

Behind the growth of every nation there are some brilliant minds which use architecture innovatively mind which eventually shape the future of its country can be an active part of this. Jantar-Mandar designed by Maharaja Jai Singh of Jaipur is an ingenious example which depicts the direction he wanted his nation to go forward to, that is not only to grow in masses and riches but also grow intellectually and with a vision.

Our country is a developing nation and therefore it needs to strengthen its roots economically as well as socially. As an architect we must incorporate these fundamentals and values of our society in our designs and present them in a more unique and feasible way. In this modern era, telecommunication and A.I. has been able to create a giant network around us which has brought the whole world together and more connected than ever, therefore the styles evolved but even in this modern construction we must give importance in honouring the cultural nuances in the built environment, since it instils a sense of confidence within the people working in and around them, and always keeps them reminding of the wonderful and glorious heritage that as a nation we all share.

As our social responsibility its our duty to meet the constantly changing needs of our society, providing them more favourable, friendly and cheerful work environment. Instead of just a vast concrete jungle we can create something which is both inspiring and visually beautiful. Architecture is more than just the buildings in a larger picture, it is embodied in our culture itself. We know that construction of buildings has a direct effect on environment. Therefore, while constructing buildings, social sustainability should be kept in mind by providing environment that supports communities in meeting their social needs. We can estimate carbon content, energy use, etc as these are quantitative aspects but the impact on social value is beyond measure. Social values derive from wellness, security, health, equity and resilience in there surrounding built in environment.

By studying the buildings of the past and corelating it with the present world research on our environment and psychology we are getting to know the effect of architecture on people’s life in an entirely different way. Dull and boring buildings have been found to cause higher levels of stress while beautiful and inspiring architecture have a potential to create calmer and happier environment. As its rightly said green and stimulating environment has a positive effect on human lives.

In order to contribute to nation building we must address national and global issues, such as climate control through sustainable development. As already been addressed in a conference of UN on ‘climate change’, as its solution, waste management, migration can be engaged by specific architectural designs. Conventional buildings have a substantial impact on the health and well-being of people and the planet. They use natural resources, generate waste & emit greenhouse gases throughout their life cycle. To minimize the impact, sustainability concept has become the prime interest. Green architecture or sustainable architecture is not new. People from earlier times have been making buildings with locally available materials such as mud, straw, wood and stone and using renewable energy from sun, the wind and water from thousands of years. Sustainable development covers various issues involving social, economic and environmental. Sustainable development which is a need of today, not only helps us in maintaining social balance but also the economical which is a priority for the people of any nation. It can be done in various ways by using local available materials or avoiding wastage of materials and an effective design. Beautiful or stimulating architecture will attract people from all over the world which help in encouraging revenue of the particular country.

Architecture helps the nation in economic development in many ways best examples are around us, in which ‘low cost housing’ or Affordable housing is consensus. Housing has an economic, social, cultural and personal significance. From its planning phase to construction and location, it has a wider impact on the development goals of nation. Energy efficient and zero waste buildings is another paradigm of how we can assess the situation better, which in turn promotes circular economy. It is a practice which means using resources and materials in optimal way and producing minimal or zero waste. As the best architecture design is the one which doesn’t cost much and still increase the revenue.

Climate change is a global issue which is becoming a serious concern for the present and future. All of this can be addressed by using environmentally friendly- materials, building construction practices and designs. ‘Vegitecture’ is one such way to reduce the impact of climate change, it means integration of living and vegetation with architecture with a vision of creating a green jungle which is more of a concrete nowadays. These green buildings are going to be asset for everyone, not just the people who are living or working in them. It will influence the surrounding community, economy and eventually lessen the burden of our existence on mother Earth. For example, Singapore emerging as a model of Green Buildings by adopting innovative architectural design and energy saving technologies.

A nation continues to grow at its regular pace and gains recognition worldwide which is acknowledged by the evolving architecture of the country. For example, Dubai which is financially stable and a strong nation, is famous around the globe for its bewitching and exquisite architecture. Like Burj Al Arab, Burj Khalifa both are compelling and inspiring building itself. Prior one stand firmly on the artificial island above the sea based on postmodern architecture, while latter one is the tallest building in the world and its shape reflects Islamic architecture. This truly depicts of what Nelson Mandela once said “It always seems impossible until it’s done”.

Architecture is just not an art which makes buildings aesthetically beautiful, there’s much more to it. Architecture comprises of various qualities i.e. strength, restraint, grace, unity, repose scale, expression of purpose, vitality etc. For nation building, these qualities must be there, a building should be strong enough like the everlasting hills or the pyramids of Egypt. Architecture gives the impression of building from its façade, materials usage etc. Building should have some message to convey and should have the appearance of life or vitality. There should be unity in the building which brings harmony. Unity means consistency in design obtained by the cooperation and sub-ordination of all parts in a scheme of architecture to a central motive. There should not be the presence of duality as it creates competition or spoil the interest of other. There must be one central feature dominating over others. Architecture includes refinement which can be achieved by proper material in the proper place in proper form.

In this modern age it is only wise if we use Technology as an integral part in our work spaces and built in environment and in turn revolutionize Architectural Design. Today we have technology that understands how people use space, their habits, emotions. We must use this to our advantage and process out designs so that it must not fail in delivering what people need. For example Automation, Robotics, 3D printing etc. all the technologies have cloaked the line between design and construction. 3D modelling apps Building Information modelling (BIM) saves times, increase the transparency between architect and client, encourage collaboration, resolve issues and ensure timely completion of the project.

Architecture evolves with - the time, requirement of a human, environmental needs etc. change is inevitable. As the current pandemic situation has prevailed globally, it is justified if our nation radically rethinks our revenue and infrastructure processes for the future. Architect and designers have unique skills grounded in critical thinking and the ability to imagine new future. We need to reconsider it all form offices to our homes, our cities and streets, parks, everything. We need to come with designs and ideas that justify and agree with the current living and working conditions and pattern then only we can help our nation and its people to take it forward to the path of development and glory.

16 December 2021
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