The Architecture of Time

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Only a few man-made artefacts/ forms/ organisations survive several decades or even millennia. Most of these are not built with the intent of longevity but are mostly accidents of time and history.

Often defined by constant change, buildings thrive for expansive spans of time, contents within them evolving and adapting to the needs of the time, playing a key role in the community until it can no longer turn over to serve a purpose. Eventually leading to its dysfunction.

But why do we rely on accidents to evade the long drawn out decay of built forms? What crucial factors are we missing in order to be able to make this decision ourselves? What elements are we ignoring that would act as a catalyst to extend the lifeline of a building?

Are all elements that contribute to successful design entirely tangible? Consider ‘time’. Society always functions in flux. Consider constantly evolving ‘user needs. Think about how all three of these interact to define built forms.

Look into how programmes are designed and outlined. Why is it that we focus so much on the now, that we do not stop to maybe think that even the tiniest user function or need might change? Why do we scrimp on even the least bit of space to change?


Understanding how multiple factors contribute to the longevity of a built form, and how not all of them might be tangible, change and time come into focus.

Hiding in plain sight, time and change doesn't come one without the other. Slow to begin and then all at once, change shifts and transforms, clear only in ways that only a time-lapse spanning a decade could unfold.

Simultaneously navigating the grasp of time and change are constantly evolving societies, user needs and functions.

Like change and time, the act of learning is something that remains constant.

Design Challenge: To develop an architectural concept that encapsulates the existence of a building as a process - in a case example of a skills development centre.