Designing Architecture Colleges: Creativity Inspired by The Arts

Dr. Sampada Peshwe
Associate Professor

 The word ‘Architect’ originates from the Greek Arkhitekton signifying ‘Master Builder, Director of Works’; arkhi  meaning Chief or Ruler and tekton meaning builder. In the past, buildings or structures were designed as well as constructed by the master builder or the Arkhitekton. This role of a master builder has been carried forward to contemporary times, albeit with a shift in focus. The architect has evolved from a ‘master builder’ to a ‘master designer’. With the task of actually ‘constructing’ the architectural structure being looked after by civil and structural engineers, the greater part of the spectrum that is the architect’s role today is occupied by the activity of ‘designing’ the building or architectural structure.

Designing of a piece of architecture is a work of inspiration arising from multitude of sources for creative stimulation. Myriad arts like poetry, painting, music and even dance find themselves as channels of creative stimulus for architectural design. It is important that this aspect of architectural design be given importance by colleges of architecture in the teaching of design. SMMCA is one of the very few colleges for architecture do so.

The design of a building could be a spatial manifestation of the abstract and metaphorical ideas in poetry. Nader Khalili is an architect and author whose breakthrough building technology ‘Superadobe’ has inspired a global movement. His innovative method was inspired by the poetry of the 13th Century mystic poet Rumi.

The Rumi Dome 23 

The Rumi Dome(Source:

The award winning residence House Holman, designed by the architecture firm Durbach Block Jaggers, derives inspiration from the famous painting ‘The Bathers’ by Pablo Picasso, one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century.



The House Holman by Durbach Block Jaggers (Source:

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 The Bathers by Pable Picasso (Source:    The exploded view of House Holman (Source:

In the contemporary scenario, an excellent example of architecture inspired by music is Anisotropia – a concept by the architecture firm Or project for the Busan Opera House in South Korea where the music – a composition for piano, to be exact – shapes the building’s form.




Anisotropia – a concept by Orproject architecture firm for the Busan Opera House in South Korea(Source:

The most famed contemporary example of a structure inspired by dance is the ‘Dancing House’, which is a nickname given to the Nationale – Neterlanden office building in downtown Prague. The building has been designed by Czech architect Vlado Milunić in collaboration with Canadian architect Frank O’Gehry. The building is named so because it resembles a pair of dancers and was originally named ‘Fred and Ginger’ (after Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers).


The Dancing House(Source: Wikimedia Commons)       Ginger & Fred(Source:


Initial sketch of the building & Windows of The Dancing House (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Architecture is like a fascinating symphony, inspired by various arts, each art lending its unique character to it. The world of architectural design is one of creative exploration, stimulating experimentation and inspired achievement. Very few colleges for architecture address this aspect of architectural design. At SMMCA, creative thinking techniques are employed in the design process and are an integral part of the design process. These creative techniques take inspiration from various arts to generate innovative designs and design solutions.

Poetics of Architecture: Theory of Design by Anthony C. Antoniades
Architecture & Music: A Duet by Matt Majors
Frank Gehry’s ‘Ginger and Fred’ in Prague – Essay by Josef Pesch (Internet version by Henri Achten. URL – Printed version of this essay appeared in KUNST & KULTUR 4.5, June July August 1997, p 14 – 17.


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