• Vishwa Patel

Memories as a tool to design

Updated: Sep 1, 2019

“We shape our dwellings and afterwards our dwellings shape us” - Winston Churchill.


When designing a house which is going to be “Home” for someone, abstract elements such as desires, memories, symbols should be addressed in the architectural process.

Memories of our home is one of the best ways one can connect what “Home” mean to people’s life and what role; it plays in the growth of a person. Memories in a home could be created due to locality of the house, its proximity to roads, the furniture arrangements, and many more.


For example, someone who grew up with joint family, feeling of “Home” is about eating winter food in the warmth of winter Sun in courtyard, veranda or the terrace. For such a person, a “Home” would be that experience which could not be created in house/ building with no such social gathering spaces. Similarly, A double height in center of dining rooms allows all the children of that house to celebrate their birthday with decorations hung from the railing of double height.


People are sad when they are shifting to a new house, even if they are moving in to a better place- it is not just about comfort of that place, but about the memories attached to that place. Hence it becomes important for designers to think of those images while designing for people. When a family moves from a bungalow to an apartment, memory of chatting with neighbours in veranda disappears. Instead, the lift lobbies and corridors become a place for socializing for grandparents. Also, a window niche facing the street becomes a source for interaction with the outside activities for grandmother.


“If walls could talk” by Lucy Worsley is about architectural history of internal spaces in a “Home” i.e. The Living Room, the Bedroom, the Bathroom and the Kitchen which concentrates more on what people actually did at the table, on the bed, in the bath and at the stove.


There is a subjective aspect of having some memories for which one cannot design for, but it also becomes responsibility for an architect to cater some of the memories and its images and to translate it into architectural spaces and elements.

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