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Architecture At War


The world at any given point of time has always experienced conflict on some varying scale. War in itself acts as a sudden catalyst that brings about rapid and at times unforeseen changes to everything it encompasses. It is a dynamic shift in everything that has been previously known and available to man. This includes the way we see buildings, the way governments see society and the way the world understands Architecture.

A city is by large a collection of well established architectural identities in a common context. The city as a whole already has a rich history, culture and routine that is partly shared by its architecture. An introduction of war into this zone is always coupled by a wave of panic, trauma, suffering and loss which become hazardous roadblocks in the process of reviving the city.

A New World Order- Post World war revolution

The surviving generations yearned for a new outlook, a new profile for their society, one that inevitably doesn’t remind them of grief from the old outlook that has been leveled in unfortunate circumstances. This caused a rise of a new order, a new approach to help and enrich a better society in hopes of ending the same cycle.

Architecture and the way of living were one such aspect again that dramatically changed. An urgent need for large scale “re-housing” led to an emergence of Buildings that emphasized functional needs and efficient construction.

The traditional ornamentation previously adorned by building slowly became an obscure element and structures would now emphasize on their constructional feats and scalability as a highlight. Exposed and Raw textural qualities of building materials in a way gained a lot of appreciation pertaining to a Brutalist Movement along this time period as well.



Invisible Walls- The Defining traits of the Middle Eastern Conflict

The history shared between Israel and Palestinian settlements spans across many decades which puts into perspective of the role of “Architecture of Violence”. Over the years the spread of settlement colonies and its nature has been documented and studied for various reasons. The settlement often ensured a complex circulation network so as to prolong any militia activity. All kinds of Barriers, both physical and psychological, are spread out across the terrain. Entities like Fences, Trees, Checkpoints, Highways which are typical elements in a city planning are passively used here as tools of order and authority. Their strategic placement now divides people and keeps the authority at a high pedestal.

Public Buildings issued by Governments not just cater to a building program but also propaganda. Materials, motifs and geography are constantly manipulated to evoke an extreme patriotic response which helps in creating radical groups. The Architecture of Destruction is meant to cause a delay in peaceful discussions and imitates a lingering zone of tension.

War and its imminent threat has consequences that lead to numerous irreversible cultural shifts that tend to last. It’s ironically been observed that a society that changed due to a war could only change again after another war. History has been a witness of this and Architecture continues to be a breathing, imposing evidence for the same.


Aditya Shanbhag, 3B



Citations :

• Form follows Function: https://www.arch2o.com/destructivism-how-does-war-affect architecture/

• Brutalist Movement: https://www.theartstory.org/amp/movement/brutalism/

• Isreal Palestinian Conflict: https://www.aljazeera.com/amp/program/rebel-architecture/2014/9/2/ israel-the-architecture-of-violence