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Architecture is more than an envelope of space or a shelter for human activity and interaction. Architecture provides us a window, visual introductions, and insights into human thought and journey through the ages. Through architecture, which represents a festive spectrum of our life and legacy, we witness many diverse and distinct highlights of building adventures at defined periods in the history.

Architecture offers us physical evidence of a multi-faceted three-dimensional tapestry of people and their cultures. It is a study of the diverse patterns for living, worship, work and celebrations. Architecture reveals imaginative responses and unique adaptations to provide a safe and stimulating environment for human needs, experiences and advancement.

There is a special spirit present in architecture. It is evident in Nature’s grand cathedrals located in breath-taking settings of canyons, valleys and mountain tops, in the man-made “mansions” of ultimate grandeur and opulence, the very modest places to live, work, worship and gather, and everything in-between. Our special architectural heritage remains central to our community and national image. Our spirit gravitates towards the magnificent sacred places of worship, palatial buildings that proclaim authority, majestic enclosures and serene gardens to imagine the lives of rich and famous. Landscaped corridors delightfully interrupted by imposing statues of the famous, festive fountains, and spectacular piazzas lined with great shopping arcades and sidewalk cafés offer us a sense of times, history, and inspirations that shaped them.

Our historic architecture, often embellished with familiar and inspired ornamental designs and motifs, colorful decorations and visual surprises captures our imagination and demands our special attention. Our sacred landmarks are often treasure houses of artistic excellence and cultural insights.

Architecture is a living “theatre.” It is a physical, visual and spatial creation to enhance and conduct life experiences. Architecture places wonder, inspirations and unique aesthetics within our sight and discovery. Architecture links our spirit to the past, anchors our thoughts to the present, and transports our mind to the future. Architecture provides a vast encyclopedia of creative knowledge, wisdom and culture as it relates to the art and science of building in the history of human civilization.

Architecture has provided us formidable forts, “Great Walls”, citadels and defenses to keep ill winds and dangers from threatening the safety, liberty of individuals and institutions, and the sanctity of historic treasures and heritage sites. Many architectural gems have been lost forever to the ravages of time, agonizing neglect and unfortunate shortsightedness. Today, the architectural mosaic of humanity has many missing panels. Throughout history, the burning, looting and plundering the important heritage of the vanquished was a cruel attempt to rob people of their dignity and culture, and demoralize the conquered people. One can witness the scars of this calculated tyranny in all cultures and corners of the world.

Our past can never be an excuse for future apathy in this regard. Each of us has a special responsibility to see the survival of precious architectural heritage as a collective trust and commitment to future generations. It is heartening to see that the international organizations today are engaged in saving entire cities such as Venice and restoring designated heritage sites throughout the world under the leadership of UNESCO. Humanity is engaged in building friendly “bridges” that span huge physical, cultural, and spiritual divides and paving new passageways to interconnect our shared heritage and destiny. Nations and cities are engaged in their own efforts to identify, save, and integrate their past into future fabrics of communities

Today, the opportunity exists to learn new techniques, traditions, and creative ideas from one another; build imaginative enclosure and beautiful “canopies” for human needs and endeavors. Thanks to science and technology, the preservation, restoration, and rediscovering endangered architectural heritage has taken on new urgency. Man cannot afford to lose this window to the past unique spectrum of life and human legacy.

Kanwal Prakash Singh
August 13, 2002


Kanwal Prakash Singh