Some years ago I got into a heated argument while out on a second date. My date, a student of architecture (like me) and I were arguing over the spatial semantics of a footpath. I was indignant at the crowds-pedestrian and vehicular- that took over the walking path; he approved of them. According to him, the crowd contributed to the lively atmosphere, and was one of the endearing and defining characteristics of an Indian market. 

We went back-and-forth, talking about utility v/s hinderance, top-down planning and organic architecture, and concluded- for the sake of ending the argument- that it is what it is. But perhaps that moment is when I discovered a love- not for the lad, but for the poetry in architecture, and for the subtle way it influences and defines a culture. And today, almost a decade after my days of going on dates with architecture fellows, I’m attempting to collect my writings and findings into this blog.  

Few things define a culture as its architecture does. But when we speak of architecture, we tend to think of the big monuments. The pyramids, the triumph arches, the gateways and the manicured lawns- idyllic, touristy places that you can put on stamps and sell. But life rarely takes place around these structures- they are commemorative at best, and usually nothing more than a rebranding campaign of their time.

I am interested in the little things. The stories behind copper door knobs, and the grainy texture on old wooden floors; the reason why you’d find a fleur de lis in an old Marathi wada, and how the planning of a settlement can lead to reduced crime. Architecture- the tiniest details- affects and is affected by so much by our lives, and this writing is an attempt to chronicle the ways in which it does that. 

This blog is essentially an extension of my notes app- a collection of the whimsical and wonderful ways that people and their habits leave a mark on our buildings (and not just the ‘Rambo was here’ types). I’m trying to understand the chaos that ensues at the intersection of planned architecture and unplanned living- to learn from it and to live with it.

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Of planned architecture and unplanned life.