The profession of designing buildings, open areas, communities, and other artificial constructions and environments, usually with some regard to the aesthetics is what we can broadly define architecture. Architecture often includes design or selection of furnishings and decorations, supervision of construction work, and the examination, restoration, or remodelling of existing buildings. Indian architecture encompasses a wide variety of geographically and historically spread structures, and was transformed by the history of the Indian subcontinent. The result is an evolving range of architectural production that, although difficult to identify a single representative style, nonetheless, retains a certain amount of continuity across history. The diversity of Indian culture is represented in its architecture. It is a blend of ancient and varied native traditions, with building types, forms and technologies from West and Central Asia, as well as Europe. Architectural styles range from Hindu temple architecture to Islamic architecture to western classical architecture to modern and post-modern architecture.
The history of architecture traces the changes in architecture through various traditions, regions, overarching stylistic trends, and dates. Architecture focused mostly on religious buildings. Many Hindu temples featured very distinctive towers in the form of truncated pyramids and had elaborate ornamentation with hundreds of sculptures. Mughal architecture incorporated many Islamic elements. Arches and domes became common and the decoration was full of geometric patterns and stylized flowers.
We see a plethora of architectural styles that have developed in India throughout history. For our ease, we need to first phase out the development of architecture in India. We’ll address some of the following phases to understand ‘styles’:
Indus Valley Civilization
Modern architecture is generally characterized by simplification of form and creation of ornament from the structure and theme of the building. Modern architecture has continued into the 21st century as a contemporary style, especially for corporate office buildings. In a broader sense, modern architecture began at the turn of the 20th century with efforts to reconcile the principles underlying architectural design with rapid technological advancement and the modernization of society. It would take the form of numerous movements, schools of design, and architectural styles, some in tension with one another, and often equally defying such classification. Some examples of modern architecture are the Lever Hose and the Seagram Building in commercial space, and the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright or the Bauhaus movement in private or communal spaces.
Buildings are structures which have, from time to time, particular purposes. They require ongoing maintenance to prevent them falling into disrepair as a result of the ravages of time and use. Building restoration can be thought of as that set of activities which is greater than year-to-year maintenance, but which by retaining the building are less than a demolition and the construction of a new building. Most ancient buildings are constructed of stone and have survived from antiquity as a result of the stability of this building material. However, stone can deteriorate rapidly without protection, particularly in our modern era of pollution and climate change. Conservation of heritage buildings is very important because it provides a sense of identity and continuity in a fast changing world for future generations. Heritage buildings represent the history and culture of a nation. Therefore, heritage buildings need to be maintained and protected. In this age of modernism, roots of our architecture should not be buried, but restored.