“Architecture Lacks Reflection”

It was interesting to become a part of the ambitious and dignified Mediating Modernity Conference that happened on the 24-25th January, 2013.

Initially, while preparing for the conference and looking into the projects that various artists and designers were going to present, I could not connect with the content of the conference. I had no clue of what exactly was going to happen and how is it going to help me in any way. The only thing that I could tell to myself was, “things seem meaningful, let me see what it brings up”.

My least level of expectancy, a little bit curiosity about the term ‘Modernity’ and happiness in arranging and being a part of the organizing team for the conference, led me to have some excitement to attend the conference. This excitement also emerged after looking into the professional level of organization.

The conference mainly talked about modernity related to gender, culture and architecture.
The thing that struck me in the conference was an interesting phrase used as a comment by Prem Chandavarkar , “Architecture lacks Reflection”.

I found this phrase interesting because seeing the kind of large scale work happening around me in architecture and interior design specially in township and office building sector, I have an opinion that instead of looking into the individual activity of a person for designing and without taking into consideration the minutest detail of what the place is being designed for, the architecture now focuses only on the function and requirement of the user. The concept development and the designer’s insight lacks to a greater extent. I have myself seen that innovation in design is happening at a much diminished level and the majority of designers and architects merely combine various elements of different architecture and design works to produce an amalgamation of all these works in a new form.

I have a feeling that the basic idea or a concept lacks or shifts due to various constraints like work accomplishment deadlines and various budget constraints and also that architecture is now more of a business-oriented field. I have come across very less designers who have a justifying thought process for developing any space.

After listening to this remark by Mr. Chandavarkar, my own ideology about the same was ignited again. Whenever I come across works where I feel that the work is completed or done only for the sake of it being done, or I do not find the answer of why has something been done, I make it a point, that whatever I design or work with, will always be justifying either the concept of design or the function. I always get an inspiration from such non reflective works that my work will have to reflect my thinking process and my design idea. I make it points that even if I am making a wall, I have to question myself if it is required there, how would the people using it behave or how would they think, instead of forming spaces conventionally.

In my opinion, reflection on architectural practices brings out a new style of architecture. Looking back in the history, I could say that whenever there have been changes, due to a different ways of thinking or perspectives which may be called reflective thought, there have been revolutions, new styles and forms have been created.

I, as a part of my research project is working on modernity and while going through the ‘A History of Interior Design’ By John Pile, I came across the way design has evolved and become minimalistic in its nature. This evolution has been happening due to the continual changes and reforms of the way people have started looking at things produced by designers.

I could conclude by saying that any innovative, successful and functional design is the result of studying human activity for the space or product for which it is being designed and the play of spaces and materials to capture the natural elements like light and air inside a space and looking at the smallest of things with a different perspective instead of following what the world follows.

This is the only way to make a difference and to get back to innovation and see your own reflection in your work.


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