The evolution of the architect

October 2021
The evolution of the architect

The role played by an architect is multi-layered and a clear representation of the society and culture of that period of time. Infinitti Design Studio Principal Architect & Co-founder Saawant Kaul says, “Architects traditionally have been visionaries who have helped shape the urban landscape and provide a breeding ground for an evolved society.”

Looking back

Architecture, as a profession, flourished globally only after the Renaissance. It was a late bloomer even in India. In the pre-independence era, there were only two architecture colleges in India, and currently there are more than 400.

Cityspace ‘82 Architects Founder & Principal Architect Sumit Dhawan speaks of the evolution of this profession. “Industrialisation and globalisation have played a significant role in the blossoming of high-rise and monumental structures. Apart from that, rapid urbanisation spearheaded innovative community requirements and accommodation strategies,” he says.

Materials and finishes also became increasingly versatile and accessible, making complex interior and exterior attributes feasible, he added.

Tech edge

The use of technology has played a critical role in the evolution of the role of the architect. Along with aiding in the creation of improved design, technology also helped accelerate processes. Ayan Sen, Owner, Ayan Sen Architects Urban Designers and Planners says, “It (architecture) has evolved in phases. The first phase had a lot of public buildings and socialist architecture. The emphasis was more on restoration of colonial buildings. With globalisation and the tech age, things definitely catapulted in the 90s.”

Pandemic blues

As with others professionals, the pandemic brought about notable changes in the manner in which architects have been functioning. DSP Design Associates Founder & Principal Ar.Yatin Patel says, “The role of architects in these extraordinary times has defied all stereotypes associated to the profession. As architects it took time for us to look beyond the horizon and examine the potential of “design thinking” in not only iconising skylines, but driving social change with spaces capable of being catalysts of transformation for far more human-adaptive environs while being green-sensitive”.

Continuous evolution

Over the years – read decades –the role of architects has greatly evolved, be it in India or overseas. Infinitti Design Studio Principal Architect & Co-founder Santa Gaur speaks of the critical and symbolic role of this profession. “Architecture is the pulse of society. One can understand various parameters like prosperity, maturity, education and degree of evolution of a civilization by simply looking at the prevailing architecture at that point in time. This is because architects are the translators of the combined vision of a society, and reflect the aspirations of the people.”

This last point is further emphasised by Mr Sen when he says, “It is very important to make the building based on the physical context (surroundings). It has to be designed as being a part of that place.”

It can be seen that an architect’s role has, over time, extended from being only functional to functional, innovative, aesthetical, and constantly evolving over time.

This article has inputs from winners of the CONSTRUCTION WORLD Architect and Builder (CWAB) Awards.

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