Essay on How Does Architecture Impact Society

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It’s a little wacky to think that we live, as Lilliput, among pieces of gigantic artwork every day. These artworks are the concrete or brick buildings and structures designed by the architects. Architecture is an art form that easily integrates itself into every aspect of our society. Hence, it makes sense that architects, and their brilliant ideas, play a significant role in developing a society and a country as a whole, which consists of inspired and empowered citizens.

In reality, architecture gives a solid and livable form to the culture and beliefs of the people, it reflects the national ambition and targets of a nation in the world. It gives a position to a nation that it swanks in the world. Architecture is a service discipline that is charged with innovation and creativity and holds responsibility for national consciousness. Actively, architecture must lead a nation and be in the vanguard of a nation’s progress.

Nation-building is a complex term. It cannot be limited to a single definition. According to my comprehension, nation-building is the headway for a nation to advance technology, and reconstruct society with the unification of different ethnic groups with a vigorous economic situation. Architecture is undoubtedly the most efficient means to foster this system of ideas by unifying all of these under one cohesive nation.

Architects can provide a society beyond what is obvious, that is, its built environment or the most vital need of a human: shelter. They convey five other responsibilities that drive a nation towards stability and development.

Long-term Vision

In the performance of an architect’s professional duties, he/she is always geared up for the future. They always try to provide a healthy image of the nation by looking at the mistakes of the past structures and trying to find solutions for such problems in the present scenarios. Having long-term goals satisfied by a built structure, through the medium of architecture finally builds the nation.

Conservationist

Achieving sustainability and stability within a nation is a very important responsibility an architect upholds. An architect focuses on minimizing the negative impacts a structure can have on the environment by implementing sustainable development goals. The impact of an architect’s conscious and continuous effort to provide safety and comfort without ruining the sensitive nature can propel a nation to progress. This is not only for a nation’s welfare but also for the survival of the future generations.

Regulator

An architect’s most important role is they regulate between multiple service providers targeting society’s development. They act as the merging point of other disciplines in the construction department. Consequently, the architect’s influence is so huge that they provide the standard for almost anything that is erected and constructed.

Unifier

An architect’s role is also to unite a nation composed of different cultural groups through the medium of his/her profession. Frame their similarities and reverently design their differences within one nation forms the ultimate goal and develops a nation socially and the final analysis of the built-environment contains one society of different people.

Preservationist

Architects preserve the culture and heritage of a society and assimilate that knowledge into the present construction. An environment that promotes own identity and presents pride in one’s nation reflects the strength and resilience of a culture that defines a nation as burgeoning and idiosyncratic.

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‘A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and the souls of its people.’ – Mahatma Gandhi

I think, as an architecture student, I can recast this sentence quoted by the Father of our Nation ‘India’ into an architectural sphere where it would become ironic to say that a nation’s culture resides in the hearts and the souls of its people, and the people reside in the culture of its nation’. Alvar Aalto’s quotation ‘Architecture belongs to culture, not civilization’ upholds this statement of mine, which means the dwelling where a nation’s people reside is ironically, its culture, designed by the architects, which holds a vital part in their hearts and souls. Even the modern architectural style has evolved by going through the journey of architecture which started from the traditional and cultural ideas. Architecture is more than just the built environment, it’s a part of our culture. It stands as a representation of how we see ourselves, how we see the world as well as where we stand in the world. This can unquestionably be linked to nation-building.

Culture is one of the main pillars of development and sustenance of communities and no society can progress in its absence. Architecture is a balanced combination of art and technology which is ranked along with the literature and fine arts. In some aspects, it can even outrank them as it is loaded with technology which the latter is not equipped with. Technology and art are not the only elements, but harmony, functionality, quality, balance, and spatial value are of equal importance too. These components are all determined by a society’s culture, customs, traditions, beliefs, and geography. Architecture not only affects society as a whole but also tends to have a profound impact on its occupants on a more individual and personal level. Everything from the layout of the space to the material finishes, from the ventilation to the lighting, can contribute to occupant’s health, mood, and productivity and may have a positive influence on social development in any country thus, by and large, building the nation.

Architecture Unfolds National Ambition

Every nation tends to adopt the theory of Nationalism which is an ideology and movement that promotes the interest of a particular nation, especially to gain and maintain the nation's sovereignty. The quandary between nationalism and global consumerism has led the officials to choose a global architectural language to narrate national ambitions and reach for a higher position in the world. Great examples of architectural solutions to satisfy nationalism and global consumerism are the Beijing National Stadium and the Guggenheim Museum of Spain, which incorporates the interests of citizens and leads to building their nations. Hence, standing out in representing them worldwide.

Economic Growth is the Predominant factor of national development

The element that influences the ease or difficulty of nation-building is the level of economic development. It can be largely achieved through the means of architecture.

Along with being an architecture student, I’m a commerce student, from where I’ve got my roots in economics. Nation development is not only measured in terms of culture unification but a nation’s economic position forms a very significant role. It’s the architecture and landscape design that serve the most in economic development. The huge revenues that the city, state, and country earn at the macro level are due to the tourism factor. Architecture performs the function of stimulating tourism in particular regions of a nation. The distinctive, dynamic, and emblematic architecture can be a travel destination by itself like the Taj Mahal, the Eiffel Tower, and the Burj Khalifa. Buildings and their architectural expression have a brief influence on the local economy but large revenues for the nation. The identifiable icon or iconic building can encourage investment in such areas. Therefore, architecture and economy grow together when they have a multidisciplinary approach.

‘As an architect you design for the present, with an awareness of the past, for the future which is essentially unknown.’ – Norman Foster

To design a space that can successfully incorporate the needs of all three aspects of time is true architecture, which can resemble its nation worldwide. It can be explained through the medium of the current scenario of Covid-19 where the only and best vaccine are the shelters provided to the people. The basic example that could be cited is of a school or a convention center, which is their present form, while in the past it was seen as a public forum and in the future as a potential community quarantine center. In light of this example, we can infer that architecture can help in stabilizing a society, nation, and the world from further societal misery in every nation. Such is the importance of architecture when foresighted, that is, when future vision is considered it can ameliorate its society.

It is to be reminded of what Mr. Mahdi Elmandjra, President of UNESCO (1961-76) and World Future Studies Federation (1977-81) say ‘Architecture synthesizes the traits of a nation and it expresses the nation’s genius as well as its cultural identity.’

References

    1. Maclang, Amor. Architecture and its role in nation-building https://businessmirror.com.ph/2016/06/14/architecture-and-its-role-in-nation-building/ June 14, 2016
    2. Decoded-one. Role of Architects in Nation Building https://www.deviantart.com/decoded-one/journal/Role-of-Architects-in-Nation-Building-225820948 June 5, 2010
    3. Vangelatos, George. How Does Architecture Impact Society? A High Level Look https://hmcarchitects.com/news/how-does-architecture-impact-society-a-high-level-look-2019-10-18/ October 18, 2019
    4. Kwakye, Gustav. The Architect’s Role in National Development https://newsghana.com.gh/the-architects-role-in-national-development/ December 6, 2019
    5. Goverdhan, Viplav. The Role Of Architecture In Economic Development http://www.iaacblog.com/programs/the-role-of-architecture-in-economic-development/ June 27, 2016
    6. Khair-El-Din, Abd-El-Hamid M. ‘Architectural education and national development’ – vol. 55, no. 32, pg. 133-137 https://www.jstor.org/stable/43622064?read-now=1&seq=1
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