Cultural Expressions in Architecture

Architecture is a process that is manifested by culture imposing a royalty on those of the mighty empires, or to those who thrive to create an identity. Culture plays a vital role at the very outset of any design process. The very essence of every structure is conceptualized and derived from the cultural identity of the user. It defines and frames the design process and helps to recollect the memories of the past.

Apart from the political, moral and economic condition of a place, the culture and civilization encourage the flow of the progress of that place. The pursuit of knowledge and art forms the basis of the culture of one’s country.

There are several examples where culture has been expressed extensively in architecture across the globe. If we talk about the Greek concept of the Agora that is about a gathering space it evolved as their cultural practice of congregation. In Egypt, the civilization believed in life after death and that lead to the formation of great pyramids and mortuary temples which have now become the identity of that place. In Rome, Pantheon was constructed out of their cultural belief in polytheism.

These popular examples prove the fact that architecture happens as a frame for cultural beliefs and situations. People constructed their thought processes according to their way of living. Architecture never deviates from culture, it rather adapts and merges with the layers of belief and abstraction. The cities and countries across the planet have been moulded under the cultural influences that vary from place to place.

The design flow not only in areas of ritualistic and religious importance but also has the cultural imprints on residence designs. One such example is Rajasthan, where all the towns developed around the rich heritage of India some five hundred years ago still stands tall and strong amidst all the modern developments around the city. All the dwellings in Jodhpur in Rajasthan share a common foundation and common walls between each other. The basic belief was the unity amongst the Brahmins living there that shines bright amidst the uniform and characteristically similar appearance. The settlements are of the same height, same colour, with similar architecture and ornamentation. Developed on a hill next to Mehrangarh Fort, the town not only reflects the rich history and culture of its golden era but has also evolved symmetrically due to various other reasons. The region being prone to earthquakes share a common foundation to withstand the tectonic shocks. The climatology of the place brings similar ornamentation of Jharokhas to reduce the urban heat island effect. The town is painted in blue to act as an effective solution for insects. All these developments carried with respect to the cultural practices of Jodhpur led to a complete architectural evolvement of the town. The architecture of the city of Jodhpur is self-sufficient to narrate the stories and tales of its rich and vibrant culture amidst the strong architectural foundations.

The architecture of India is evolving through centuries. We live in a land that celebrates diversity and that is why we have retained a certain amount of continuity across history. Indian architecture has been through different time periods, but it celebrates the diverse culture of this land in the most eminent way. The cities of Indus valley is proof that town planning is substantial for a civilization. Some other instances where culture has played a vital role in shaping up the architecture are the Great Stupa at Sanchi and the rock-cut caves at Ajanta. 

The caves of Badami in Karnataka also have the imprints of early Chalukyas in the form of bas reliefs and carvings on the red rocks. When the Chalukyan Kings decided to excavate four cave temples out of the rocky terrain area, little did they knew that they were shaping up the source to identify the cultural patterns and social status of Badami?

There are a plethora of examples that show how culture has always dominated invalidating the architecture of a place. The richness of heritage, the culture imbibed in the surroundings have always inspired architects to merge the elements of both the aspects, regardless of time, and style.

Inscribing Architecture brings you the entire world of architecture and design at a single platform, capturing the essence of architecture for all. Architecture should not be exclusive to some. It should resonate with the everyday lives of the people and we make sure we bring that to you.

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