-by Gautam Shah
A building exists and flourishes in the circumstantial surroundings and with environmental factors. These bear upon the building. A building exists in the social, political and an economics profile of the locality. The environmental factors are absolute and are fairly consistent, but at micro level these effects are conditioned by the happenings in the immediate vicinity. A building has a relevance for its form, functionality and technological grade.
Contextual setting of a building is considered mainly in terms of its Location and Age, and both change concurrently. A good building is integral to its space and time. Changes in the contextual settings affect some buildings more, if these are: acutely located that is subsisting on the site related advantages, stylized, highly dependent on the technology, and endowed with high degree of functionality.
Location is the external realm of the building. It has two facets: the distance or the extent and the stack holders of the building. A building serves certain terrain or physical distance. When these get enlarged due to efficient transport services the usage is increased, but conversely barriers like railway tracks, canals, closure of roads, or loss of visual identity affects the raison d’être (reason for existence) of the building. Stack holders become insincere for maintenance when the location begins to deteriorate due to economic, social or political problems, and affects the pride or faith in the building.
Life of building is governed by its surroundings. Environmental pollution over a location strains the parts and components, hastening their failure. Old buildings in good localities are more likely to be well looked after than in deteriorating locations.
Age dilutes the connections a building has with the site and the circumstances. A building on ageing becomes irrelevant for the original functions and current day technologies. However, it can still continue to survive, if its structure is safe and habitation worthy.