How architecture influences the culture of a place

How architecture influences the culture of a place

By Ummema Nazim

Let us understand the difference between modern and contemporary architecture. They are not the same. There’s world of difference between them. Modern Design refers to the period that has passed, while contemporary design is all about the present and the future.

Arches have been used since pre-historic age by many civilizations and they are still being used in the contemporary age. Islamic architecture is a combination of many elements in which Arches remains one of the most influential features. Architecture in Saudi Arabia has passed through a dramatic transformation over the years. Vernacular architecture (local architecture) is slowly being replaced by modern or contemporary style. Thus diverting attention from the main design elements of a place which leads to the disappearance of tradition and culture and that is the reason why it is important for the developers and planners to understand local architecture of a place and incorporate those elements through their design development proposal in context with contemporary architecture. Modernization can also be achieved in building construction without erasing the old style of architecture to develop the concept of contemporary design. Social and economic changes are emerging thick and fast in Saudi Arabia from building the world’s tallest tower to being the first country to grant citizenship to a robot. Increased travel and the use of social media has exposed a significant portion of Saudi society to western culture. This is also reflected in their architecture and design. We urge the designer and urban planners to appreciate and cherish local architecture of a place and develop it further with contemporary style without erasing the old building elements.

Architecture can be a powerful tool. It can offer its users the possibility to create shared memories and can connect their memories to a physical space. People identify themselves with public building and public spaces and connect them to their personal stories their cities. It is significant to maintain the culture and history of a city to make it their own because every city has its own accomplishments and tradition. As Arna Mackin says “Can we see a city as a book that constantly being written- without losing any old chapters”.


The architecture of a country is like a mirror. It gives an insight into the country’s development over the years. Many times architecture also helps us predict what type of traditions have been followed in the country over a large span of time. Hence it is important for a country to retain its architecture to keep the culture of a country intact.

Cities often exist for centuries.

Languages and nation are often short-lived-generations pass through,

Foreign people, new rulers, a multitude of languages,

The city survives it all.

Chris Keulemans

About the author:

Ummema Nazim is a licensed architect and interior designer who loves to explore new places and study them. To know more, follow her blog on . She also loves travelling, reading and cooking and has her YouTube channel “Hyderabadi Pakwan” and tune in for some authentic Hyderabadi biryani and much more.






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