• Benny Kuriakose

ARCHITECTURE: TRENDY AND TIMELESS

 Barbican Centre, London

There is only good architecture and bad architecture. Whether architecture follows one of the styles such as modern, post-modern, victorian or art nouveau, if architecture is good, then it will be timeless.


One of the major characteristics of "good architecture" is that each time you experience it, it will give a different feeling and experience. The old English saying by Heraclitus is very apt here. “No man steps in the same river twice.”


Mostly "good architecture" will not only be timeless but also will be trendy. I will consider the architecture of Ronchamp Chapel, Pompidou Centre in Paris and the Padmanabhapuram Palace Complex as timeless. I have seen Padmanabhapuram Palace at least 300 times and it has been a great inspiration for me in doing my architecture. Each time it gave a different experience. There are not many examples like this.


Ron champ chapel
Ronchamp chapel
Pompidou Centre
Pompidou Centre
Padmanabhapuram Palace
Padmanabhapuram Palace

There was a time when we had an architecture style called brutalist architecture which emerged in the 1950s. The word "brutal" also means cruelty. Many buildings built in this style was greeted in Britain (in a bad state) with the word"Brutalist Architecture" especially in the 1970s. There were critics who said that it symbolises urban decay and some called it as monstrous. The movement died down in the west in the 1980s, but in India, we see a lot of projects which can be called Brutalism Architecture.


According to me, it is not as bad as we think. I happened to see the renovated Barbican Centre, London which is considered to be one of the best examples of Brutalist Architecture. The brutalist architecture has undergone many changes. The world thinks differently now.


 Barbican Centre, London
 Barbican Centre, London
 Barbican Centre, London
Barbican Centre, London

In many cities, we can see a lot of skyscrapers which look more or less the same whether they are in Mumbai, Jakarta, Frankfurt or Latin America. The first photo shows the skyscrapers in Hong Kong taken from Wetland Park which is on the outskirts. Many cities in India are also not different.


Many buildings built in the 50s and 60s are being demolished in Europe, USA, etc. The interesting fact to note is that these buildings are not demolished due to structural reasons. Most of the council buildings and apartments are being pulled down. They are trying to correct the mistakes done in the past. In India, we should learn from the expe