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Architecture without Architects- A review

By- Vicky Kumar Roy


1st yr, 2nd sem, Sec- C
The need of shelter for human beings had led to the evolution
of building science since past thousand years. The first shelter is thought to be developed by branches of
trees by the nomads living past thousand years, which was developed without any architectural
specialization. Thus, in a similar way architect Bernard rudofsky introduces us to the non-pedigreed
architecture where building art is observed without any specialization, an art which has developed through
cultures and practical experiences. So, he introduces us to a discipline which is far away from our governed
senses of building art. In this article he introduces us to various cultures which have developed this
discipline as per their need and practical experiences. In simple terms, it is Architecture by the people.
At some point in our life, we must have past across a village or
settlement during journeys, which looks far different from what precisely planned city or settlement. They
does not looks like designed by professionals but possess all the qualities of comfort to the people living
there. The house is developed by the people by gaining some practical experiences and depending on their
need. I remember my first Louis I Khan college trip to kibber, Himachal Pradesh which was a small
settlement located in a cold desert. The houses had a thatched roof of about half a meter height, which kept
the house warm. They have very small windows so as to allow ventilation without allowing much wind to
come inside. They made their ground floors according to cattle whose warmth made their first floor warm,
where they lived. Thus, all these things have been developed by them through their own practical learning
and experiences and not by specialized professionals.
Architecture has a distorted history due to shortage of relevant
documents, and it has been a question about the beginning of architecture. Rudofsky focuses basically on
indigenous architecture, which had been mostly neglected by the past historians since they only focused on
relevant and larger scale monuments and cultures (eg. Egypt, Roman, etc.) only. Humans started building
ever since they started understanding things. The art of building has developed due to human instincts. For
example, the way beavers build dams, chimpanzees find shade under a leaf or sleep in a horizontal plane
have inspired mankind to the evolution of various art forms. Indigenous architecture explains a lot about the
people, cultures and traditions, much better than the larger building designed by professionals. They have a
glimpse of continuous evolution since decades by their ancestors. It is a gradual process of implementation.
For example, houses in Ladakh(a cold desert) are found different from the houses in Rajasthan(a desert).
The people from ladakh never went to rajasthan to understand the working of their building and make
something completely opposite to theirs, as their climate is completely opposite. They developed
specifications in their house out of their own instincts and understanding and they work out fairly well. In
Mongolia, the yurts are called gers. Felt covers on an artistically decorated wood construction protect the
interior against weather. The ring-shaped opening of the single-family tent remains open for ventilation and
acts as a source of light.
All these building art is developed not by specialized professionals
but by the people, an indigenous architecture. Thus, Rudofsky clearly breaks the narrow discipline which
has governed our senses of building art. It is not only the need of confining the growth of community well
understood by the professionals but it is matched by their understanding of the limits of architecture itself.
Thus, it clearly shows that architecture has always been possible without architects also.