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Role of Architecture in Nation Building

Updated: Jul 2, 2023


Nation building alludes to the formation of national paraphernalia like flags, anthems, national days, stadiums, national airlines, languages, national ideologies and so on. Although Nation-building encompasses contributions from various stake holders apart from the government and professionals, objective of this essay is proscribed and focused to the role of ARCHITECTURE IN NATION BUILDING.

This essay outlines and highlights that the role of architects in nation building is not only a mere fulfilment of someone else’s vision for creating a built environment for his/her people and society, but the architects are at the center stage to own the vision of the nation and to comprehend that their role is the foundation of nation building because the built environment displays the nation's pride.


The term ‘built environment’ refers to aspects of our surroundings that are man-made, distinguished from the natural environment. It encompasses not only buildings, but also the man-made spaces between buildings like parks, gardens and the infrastructure that aids human activities such as transportation networks, utility networks, flood defenses, telecommunications and so on.

Built environment is a method of constructing or structuring a national identity using the ability of the state. As the population increases, and pressure for sustainable development increases, the necessities we have from the built environment are becoming more demanding. Over half the planet's population now live in cities and this figure is predicted to rise to more than 70% by the second half of the century, a figure made even more startling by the fact that the human population will have increased by two billion within the same


Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations transcribed, “The major challenges of the twenty first century include the rapid growth of many cities and the decline of others, the progression of the informal sector, and the role of cities in causing or mitigating global climate change."

A mission for nation building must not forget its society's heritage and culture so as to assimilate this information within the present reality. A nation-building exercise should honor its people's past heritage to integrate national identity to its works. Built environment that gratifies self-identity and pride to one's community reflects the strength and fortitude of a culture that defines a nation as unprecedented and innovative.

It is not always clear who is amenable for the built environment. It is an interdisciplinary field, with inculpation from architects, engineers, town planners, landscape designers, urban designers, central and local policy makers and so on, but there is often an absence of leadership and that can be filled by architects.


Monumental structures like the Palaces, Colosseum, Notre Dame and Taj Mahal or modern icons like the Burj Khalifa, Falling Waters, Empire State Building, Sydney Opera House or Guggenheim Museum are reflecting the story of the time, and the way that iteration of culture wished to project itself to the longer term. Infrastructure from bridges to public spaces and even the very layout of cities also are the results of architectural marvels – little question in it.

A conscious effort and sensitivity to our nature's demand is another role of an Architect to attain stability within a nation. The Architect's role to pursue ways to attenuate negative environmental impacts of buildings and structures whilst enhancing efficiency in its usage of resources is important not only for nation's welfare but also for the subsequent generation's survival. The impact of an Architect's role to produce an area solution and technology for structures to decrease consumption without sacrificing comfort and safety can propel a nation to stability.


  • The Architect's most vital role is that they act as the merging point of incalculable disciplines within the construction of habitat for humans. Consequently the Architect's impingement is so immense that they supply the quality and rules for nearly anything that is erected and constructed.

  • An Architect is able to mold a nation composed of various groups and ascertain them as a part of a cohesive society under one flag.

  • They also shape society and present their similarities to augment unity through Architecture.

Within the context of our present and its ever-evolving socio-political environment, it is interesting to notice that the National development process can even involve propaganda or major infrastructure development to foster and enhance social harmony and economic process.

Buildings are accepted by communities and imbued with emotions and therefore the appreciation or disdain of people! They are included within the identity of nation, city, or place. It is not something that an architect or developer can will onto people, it is something that happens naturally and relates to how people see a building, how they accept it, and in fact this ends up in discussions around branding and communications. In this sense, the various monumental palaces and temples like Brihadeeswara Temple in Tanjore have become a part of the image and identity of India and is a source of pride for the people of the country, and a connection they require to the country’s past.

Bilbao without the Guggenheim wouldn't be Bilbao, but also, Bilbao without this collection of other structures wouldn't be the city it is today. Architecture, like any field, has an excellent portrayal of attempts to maneuver forward and be rather more mindful of societal issues and problems.

Many times we see that politicians or people seek to construct a monument to something, or create a show of power. They’re asking architecture to do things that transcend what verity values of architecture are. It is dismaying when people say, “We’re going to create an icon for this city or country“. An icon is something that evolves through popular acclaim or acceptance and develops over time or is also the result of a special event or an instant in history. To ask an architect to form an icon for a city, or an economic renaissance, is missing the purpose. The primary purpose of architecture is to form habitat and to fulfil the prerequisites of society or individuals for places to work and live. The aim of architecture isn't to form a monument to assist someone get elected or to induce them on a cover of a magazine.


It is fascinating to imagine an architect or a consortium of architects design a blueprint to form a brand new country. Identify an appropriate island to be bought with all legal titles and to declare it as a brand new country, populate it with people, and make a government and collect taxes and run it as a country set as an example in all told aspects.

No other best profession in this world can design a country far better than an architect because the country’s outlook and its image are hooked onto to its best-built environment. Ranging from the landscaping, city layouts, industrial corridors till iconic buildings, architects can put their life and soul to bring the country as a primary model country for the remainder of the world to follow and build many new countries.

Looking forward, it is clear that sectors such as architecture provide the much needed equipage to better meet the perplexity of urbanization and the exquisite balance that is needed to manage public and social necessitates against environment and design.

Given the leading role of the architect in how cities are prophesied and designed the architect can directly shape the implication of a design process to the betterment of a community’s overall quality of life, sustainability, social equity, health and fortitude. In owning this central role, the architectural community can reimagine and handle issues in a holistic manner discoursing the larger needs of collective social responsibility.

Technology has also contributed to the practice of architecture and its impact on society. Our access to global data, research evidence and therefore the ability to communicate instantaneously with anyone, anywhere globally has drastically changed the profession. Architects can address projects on entirely different continents, and draw from a workforce globally, with a large range of ideas and cultural backdrops to influence a project. Technology also has transformed the way we design: computer-aided drafting, BIM modelling, and virtual reality, to call some, have made it much easier to bridge between vision and reality, create unique and sophisticated shapes and convey information in ways which have not been seen before.

There are countless ways in which architects can still evolve the occupation and answer the changing needs of our society. We just have to intensify to the challenge, believing we’re capable of it.


SBE, RICS. "What Is Built Environment?” Hub.Ricssbe.Org, 2019,

"Role Of Architects In Nation Building By Decoded-One On Deviantart". Deviantart.Com, 2010,

"The Role of Architecture in Humanity’s Story". Thought Economics, 2012,

Thorne, Martha, and Paloma Duran. "The Role That Architecture Can Play In The Development Agenda". Devex, 2016,

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