The 4th dimension of Architecture.

Well, culture is an integral part of architectural design. However, before we discuss the effect of Culture on Architecture we first have to know and understand the true meaning of words like civilization, culture, and architecture.

We will not be discussing “architectu…

We will not be discussing “architecture” here since it will be hard for us to come up with a whole definition. However, we will first deal with the conditions which create civilizations and culture.


The social order which is formed by civilization creates cultural progress. These factors may or may not be influenced by the political, moral and economic conditions. The pursuit of knowledge and the art form makes the basis of culture. There are numerous factors which affect culture and civilization like the geological and geographical conditions.

The culture is a living thing; it continues to grow, on the other hand, it needs fresh air—good manure and right vitamins. The essence of the culture is to escalate and respect nature. This spirit is born in all, but it is preserved most in those who are close to nature, and thus we search for culture in the countryside, besides civilization in the city.

Culture and civilization have no color bar to which you can measure and to which they can be classified. It’s a wrong assumption that a great race marks civilization. Essentially it is the great civilization which makes the people.

You have to understand that the physical and historical conditions also breed civilization, and these characteristics of civilization remain for an extended period even when conditions are altered.

Also, language, education, moral laws and the rules play an important part in the development of culture and civilization. Culture can be expressed, and its expression can be seen in language, Arts, and Architecture

Therefore, we as architects naturally try to concentrate our attention on the impact of culture on architecture. Over the years we study how things evolve from the first man, how he invented ropes, wheels, levers, pullies and other small or large equipment to lessen the labor. It led him to set economics of civilization and culture. From it, the mechanism of transport, trade, and the exchange was developed which were glorified by the art and architecture.

The architecture was associated with buildings of grand proportions with rich material, or some were delicate in design and profound in ornamentation. Architecture is not about mere building it’s about a beautiful building.

Have you seen the houses of Stone Age, they reflect their culture in architecture. It’s a time when architecture gained its full value. It became the mother of all arts. Their way of living, religious beliefs, family arrangements all were part of their architecture. We have some remarkable examples of architecture of buildings built for horses, and elephants. Also, the classification of people also impacted the way houses and buildings were made. The Socialistic pattern of Society is a controversial question, but culture and artisans proved that one could not ignore traditions.

Civilization and architecture depend upon:

  • Geological
  • Geographical
  • Climatic
  • Economic
  • physical conditions

Whereas culture grows as:

  • integration of social values
  • human values
  • customs
  • education and Arts

Here in the Subcontinent, architecture displaced the culture of the country, by the dignity of the site, fortification, and the approach, the Courts are known as Diwan-e-Am and Diwan-e-Khas, a quiet mosque or the temple. The palaces were for the Kings, but it was a portrait of what was believed and practiced by the traditions of the crafts and surrounding of the place. There are some examples of how culture and architecture overlap. Indian culture can be seen in numerous temples. The Indian and Islamic architecture used symbols pointing to the authority of the Almighty.

Religious and monumental structures built are the gems especially of the Indian architecture. The glory of the Taj Mahal, ltamad-ud-daullah Tomb, and Lake Palaces helps justify this statement.

Our future architecture will be more characterized in sanatoriums, cultural centers, and in canteens or factory structures. This new era of architecture will have to blend the old culture and tradition to make something new. The study of past can give us an insight of how architecture was practiced and thus help us use modern technologies to make a living for the people to which they can relate.

For people, let their architecture speak of their customs, manners, and materials. Let’s not import manners and materials to places and take individuality of places.