Professor in Residence, Department of Architecture, GSD, Harvard University, Cambridge MA, USA
The cultural elements drive the people’s way of life and ultimately influence their choice of the buildings they inhabit. Man, and his culture and his living environments are always correlated. While measuring heritage architecture, one tends to ignore the cultural and societal factors as the stakeholders. This isolated study can often paint half a picture of what a place was or could have been. An in-depth understanding of the “human element” will help appreciate the true “spirit of the place” despite the style, geometry, material, or construction method. While looking at a piece of craft, present-day perception focuses only on certain limited qualities such as visual or construction. Instant benefit has led to mass use of fabricated materials while ignoring any cautionary examination. Definition of any material’s sensual, social and symbolic worth often remains out of the scope for judgment. If these values are prioritized well, the architecture can continue to progress as a modest expression, adding a personality or realizing a life rather than producing alienating objects.