Mundane or Inspirational?

August 6, 2016

Fig.1: Simplifying complexity


Why is it that when I google ‘the role of inspiration in architecture’, the top results I get are about how architects are inspired, and not how architecture inspires people? Am I missing something in terms of the purpose of architecture? I have been tackling with this subject since coming to Sri Lanka: how can the architecture we produce inspire a nation rebuilding itself; how can the architecture we develop inspire people to believe in themselves and be moved like after watching the ‘Pianist’ or listening to the ‘Lark Ascending’ by Ralph Vaughan Williams? I believe, that in all post-conflict states, it is never more important for the built environment to be representative of the future the people deserve, and for its reconstruction be in the eyes and vision of hope, love, belief and courage.


I realise there are obviously deeply pressing issues that need to be resolved post-conflict, such as supporting communities directly affected through aid and economic support, improving both transport, social and economic infrastructure, enriching pharmaceutical base, and rebuilding the state to perform its duties effectively. However the role of the architects, whom have a direct physical impact on the lives of society, also have a role to play in subtly influencing the minds of the people towards hope and prosperity. The architecture almost becomes an environmental rhetoric of the messages we wish to give to the people needing inspiration to move forward with their lives and contribute to the country’s resurgence. Inspiration MUST be a design criteria in any post-conflict context to do just this, because like a cool breeze on a hot humid day, or taste of sugar after only having plain porridge as your meals, a designed moment of beauty and peace can wake someone up and change their life, and every micro-second counts when you are starting from nothing. This is something I want people to feel when they experience my buildings, and what we are trying to do here.


Fig. 2: Distilling peace

Fig.3: Impossible is nothing


Fig.4: The audacity of an idea


 Fig.5: A new perspective


Fig.6: Framing beauty 

Fig.7: Redefining convention 




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