Is Globalization creating identity crisis for local Architecture?


The dream of man to touch the sky has become more than reality. Every single day we are pushing the boundaries of possibilities with new achievements. While we move towards ‘The Jetsons’ lifestyle local architecture is something that is dying a silent death.

As quoted by F.L.Wright ‘The mother art is architecture. Without an architecture of our own we have no soul of our own civilization’.

A couple of years back I was deployed in Dubai for one of the projects my company was working on. Being my first time in Dubai I was simply overwhelmed by the presence of skyscrapers around me. However this feeling was short-lived, after a couple of weeks the whole excitement died down. The buildings were the same every day, non reactive and static. While commuting in the Metro there was nothing interesting to see, same buildings, same reflections and same vehicles on roads (maybe that’s the reason everyone was glued to their mobiles).

Moving on to the older areas of Dubai with not so perfect and traditional architecture, I saw a lot of interesting activity taking place. Traders, food vendors, open air restaurants everything in this place was attracting people without the actual presence of a pause point.  At that moment I realized that while we architects are busy creating a beautiful utopia for future generations our buildings are failing to talk to people.

No interaction pockets

Even as we design public gathering spaces and beautiful landscape around the buildings the basic thing that lacks in today’s buildings are the interaction pockets. We are not giving any reason for the passer-by to stop and have a look at the building. The scale of modern day buildings creates interest from far but nothing interesting when close. All you see is yourself!!

One solution fits all ideology

Either it is New York, London, Dubai, Urban Mumbai or Jakarta the new age buildings are one and the same. Steel, Concrete and Glass wrapped up in different forms and elevations. All are very introvert and static in character.

Less detailing and more standard

Whether it is the rich stone cladded facades of London or the mud plastered houses with cooling towers of Middle East or the courtyard houses of India, earlier every city would have had its own distinct skin and structure developed as a response to the climate and socio economical culture of the place. However today it’s all about the facade which is archaic.

Your Modern House is just a pretty box without these 5 qualities

Stand tall but in isolation

Our buildings are designed to stand out of the crowd (yes i do understand that’s the reason we are hired for) but how much? The response to the surroundings, geological conditions is rare. Nobody wants to play with contours like falling water. Either it is a rampant digging or filling. I myself live in a city where the ground levels vary a lot but haven’t see a single building taking advantage of this feature.

local architecture

Your life is fast and so should be your home painting process

Even the homes are standard

The rise in real estate prices has result in people opting for residential apartments. These visibly are boxes put one on top of other with no character of their own.

Considering the current scenario, the road ahead looks more standardized but then how much are we willing to lose ? Will we lose all the cultural aspects of our architecture in coming decades? What should we do as architects to retain our cultural identity? A lot needs to be answered…


Waiting for your comments…

One Comment

  1. At first the consumer wants his house be unique, affordable and identifiable. To achieve these he consults the builders, interiors etc. We are to give right suggestions to him. Just altering here and there and justifying the uniqueness of our creations should be avoided. At the end stereo type of buildings will be ignored. Respect the nature and create the buildings to sustain nature.

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