Firmitas , Utilitas , Venustas – Discussion 4

Firmistas , Utilitas , Venustas were the cornerstones of the age old wisdom of Vitruvius , design of a good building being based on its functional , aesthetic and technological aspects. Life comes a full circle as these Vitruvius ideas gain special relevance in today’s world of increasing globalization.

The architecture profession today is in the stronghold of two opposing forces .  One being the pressure to keep up with an increasingly commercialized shrinking world and its architectural manifestations in the form of iconic skyscrapers, standardized hotel chains and shopping malls. And the other being the architect’s conscience to create buildings that responds and relate to its surroundings.

There s a general consensus in the architectural community that the special identity of places matter.  Identity, it is agreed, is a synthesis of multidimensional physical and psychological environmental attributes.  It lends its character from the spirit of the place and the symbols of the place. Symbols of the place refer the various local elements that can be interpreted into creating something that is architecturally new.

It is the moral and social responsibility of the architect today to tread carefully while creating new spaces, because while changing the spaces, they are also changing the way the society sees itself. It is under this temperature that the architecture world stands today.

We see some architects trying to seek architectural regionalism within an international framework, some trying to recover architectural traditionalism and others trying to contrive traditional types within their moral aspects in order to produce new homogenized developments within communities built environments to promote residential ties with communities, thus promoting place identity.

As such , as we step towards a new era in architecture , it is essential that  -

  1. Maintain historic continuity by respecting the dominant styles in the region
  2. Incorporate architectural language drawn from vernacular design aspects.
  3. Integrate positive aspects of advanced technology using modern techniques materials and building automation and control systems.
  4. Addressing the project to the place identity and ground on which the project stands reflecting the local cultures and linking to the global forces.

Let us strive to create a new architecture that serves to sympathise rather than shock.

Refernces – “Globalisation challenges in architecture” – Ibrahim Mostafa Eldemery ( Journal of architectural planning and research)

“creating local identity through architecture” – Robert Adam

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