The question “what is architecture?” is one of the most basic but also one of the most challenging stuff architects ask themselves. It is a philosophical question that repels a complete answer yet incites an intellectual examination. Architect’s answers to this question help outline their designs.

WHAT IS ARCHITECTURE? is also a question that is particularly important for students who are looking for different perspectives on architecture as they come to form their own definitions.

While artists work from real to the abstract, architects must work from the abstract to the real. Architecture, beneath all its limitations of engineering, safety, function, climate and economy, arouse us with designs in space and light achieved in the abstract.

The profession of designing buildings, open areas, communities, and other artificial constructions and environments, usually with some regard to aesthetic effect. Architecture often includes design or selection of furnishings and decorations, supervision of construction work, and the examination, restoration, or remodelling of existing buildings.

Architecture is a passion, a vocation, a calling — as well as a science and a business. It has been described as a social art and also an artful science. Architecture must be of the highest quality of design. Architecture provides, in the words of Marcus Vitruvius, the great Roman architect and historian, “firmness, commodity and delight.

NOTE 1st Century BC Roman Architect Vitruvius is the author of the treatise De architectura. The work is divided into 10 books dealing with city planning and architecture in general; building materials; temple construction; public buildings; private buildings; clocks; hydraulics; and civil and military engines. His work was used as a classic text book from ancient Roman times to the Renaissance. Firmness refers to structural integrity and durability; Commodity refers to spatial functionality or in other words, “serving its purpose” and fulfilling the function for which the building was constructed; Delight means that the building is not only aesthetically and visually pleasing, but also lifts the spirits and stimulates the senses.

The art or practice of designing and constructing buildings.

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Architecture is everywhere. Each and every building: home, school, office, hospital and supermarket were designed for their particular purpose. It is of vital importance that these buildings, and in turn the environments they form and the neighbourhoods and cities they are a part of, are designed to be the best possible buildings for their specific context, use and the people who use them.

The complex or carefully designed structure of something.

Architecture has the ability to materially affect outcomes: it can affect the way we relate to each other, increase business productivity, support communities and neighbourhoods, improve health, and even decrease crime.

Architecture: “The art or science of building; esp. the art or practice of designing and building edifices for human use, taking both aesthetic and practical factors into account.”

Architecture also has the power to inspire and delight — it can enhance everyday experiences.

What is Architecture all about?

Architecture is the art and science of designing buildings and other physical structures. A wider definition often includes the design of the total built environment from the macro level of town planning, urban design, and landscape architecture to the micro level of construction details and, sometimes, furniture. The term “Architecture” is also used for the profession of providing architectural services.

Architectural design is primarily driven by the holistically creative manipulation of mass, space, volume, texture, light, shadow, materials, program, and Realistic elements such as cost, construction and technology, in order to achieve an end which is aesthetic, functional and often artistic. This distinguishes Architecture from engineering design, which is usually driven primarily by the creative application of mathematical and scientific principles.

Interior Architecture bridges the practices of interior design and architecture so that professionals working in the field have a structural and load bearing education with an emphasis on interior spaces. The field is similar to architecture in that it deals with structures and load bearing walls. It is similar to interior design in that it focuses on interior spaces.

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There is no one-size-fits approach in architecture, each building project should respond to its very unique context: site, climate, social, budget and materials.

Buildings also need to be able to age well, to adapt to changing requirements and have flexibility to accommodate various uses. They also should be built sustainable, in both the materials that they use during construction, and the energy resources that they require to function.

If architecture is only in the building, what, we might say, puts it there? The labour and skills of the contractors and mechanics who build the building? If that were true then every building would be architecture, and not even the most sceptical of observers would claim that to be the case. Architecture is something different from building. So what makes it different?

Architecture is the built realisation of a particular concept, or idea. This idea can be about construction, or the way people will use a building, or how the building fits into a physical, or a social, landscape.

Humanity leaves immortal echoes through its history using the media of language, art, knowledge and architecture.

The more concepts and ideas formulated by the architect have an Imminence for contemporary conditions of living, thinking and working. We want architecture to participate in the crucial changes affecting our lives, and not simply form a backdrop to them.

Developers, corporations, and politicians understand the marketing value of architecture, as long as it gathers attention. But that cannot be all there is. Architects themselves, whom devote their mind and their talents for ideas to serving the interests of developers, corporations, and politicians, are ignoring more urgently critical conditions. Continuing the struggle to understand what architecture is helps keep everyone especially the architects more honest.

The balanced integration of artistic sensibility and scientific methodology as it applies to designing buildings and their environments is essential to creating great architecture.

The public realm refers to publicly-owned streets, parks, which is where buildings are situated. Architecture clearly meets this definition. All of us, as the public, interact with architecture. We are affected on a practical and emotional level by both the way a building appears in its context and by its interior environment.

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The scientific method is used by architects to research and develop concepts on Countless levels required to create buildings. These levels include understanding the surrounding context from environmental, historic, stylistic and infrastructure perspectives; and determining program areas required by users such as interior products, structure, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire protection, technological and security systems.

The orchestration between art and science involves discipline in both the lateral and linear thought processes. Lateral thinking utilizes analogies and links ideas across a spectrum to create something imaginative. Linear thought is a step by step idea that keeps us grounded and leads to a specific result.

At its simplest, architecture is the design of buildings, groups of buildings and often the space between buildings. But the scope of architecture goes well beyond just the drawing of plans.

At a time when it is fashionable to say that architecture is everything-from philosophy to science to art to theory

Architecture takes imagination; the ability to order ideas and communicate them clearly; creatively (not necessarily artistic ability); a keen interest in human behaviour, our habitat and the natural environment; and problem solving skills.

Before defining architecture, the terms ‘designing’ and ‘engineering’ must be made clear. The clarification of the term ‘designing’ is needed for making a distinction between the design and the architecture of a system. All these terms refer to how systems are constructed.

In an odd but quietly very important way, works of architecture ‘speak’ to us. Some buildings, streets and even whole cities seem to speak of chaos, aggression or military pride; others seem to be whispering to us of calm or graceful dignity, generosity or gentleness.

However, a dominant strand of modern opinion doesn’t think it matters very much what our buildings speak to us about. It is deemed pretentious or over-sensitive to suppose that something as external as a building could really have much of an effect on our inner mood. We’d rather see ourselves as able to generate our psychological states independently of the colour, shape and texture of the walls.

And yet a more modest, permeable idea of who we are would accept with good grace that we remain in truth, very vulnerable to the voices of the largest, most public objects in our environment. Our inner states are heavily open to influence and we may be as harmed by architectural ugliness as we are by moral evil. Our spirits can be decisively sunk by a grid of city streets designed without any talent or care.

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In modern commercial society, buildings are seen largely in terms of finance, cost and return on capital. Politicians impose some restraints on developers. There are frequently a few rules about height and environmental performance. But the full range of the kinds of damage that ugly buildings create for us has not been recognised or granted political expression. There’s nothing unusual in this. Many forms of public harm can be real yet ignored; it took many decades for industrial pollution of rivers to be interpreted as any real threat to the public good.

If we better understood the impact that ugly architecture has on our lives, its power to sap our spirits and give assistance to our worst selves, we’d surely legislate against it. But as yet, no politician who announced an intention to make the built environment more beautiful would prosper — or even be deemed sane.

In the utopia, architecture would more fairly be interpreted as a branch of mental health, with a crucial role to play in public contentment. And bad design would — at last — be interpreted as the crime it is to the health of the collective spirit.

Have you ever wondered why architecture is so important for the society we live in? Architecture is the art that provide us the physical environment we live in. It is a deep expression of human civilisation in a particular era and it will endure and outlive us in forms of monuments that future generations will study and strive to understand. All architects represent a great force in our society because architecture is as well an expression of the strengths of the society as well as their technological progress. Architecture is a form of visual art that creates irrevocable works. Human value this art so much because it’s a permanent expression of the society values, desires, ways of thinking and ideals, ideology and many other things in a fixed point in time. It is like a reflection in the mirror, a way society sees itself as well as how it sees the environment, nature and finally, this world.

Architecture can indeed serve us as a little time capsule of human history. It reveals us human thoughts, ideals, ideas, even our fears and worries. All human emotions and thoughts can be reflected in one powerful piece of art that lies ahead of us while we remain still, watching it in awe. It reflects our culture, who we are and where we belong within the society.

As you probably know, architecture is part art and part science. Being an art, it provides us an outlet for creative expression and allows the society to view, create and shape their environment and living space differently, in a unique way. Being a science, architecture also covers our functional needs, providing us living space and environment that is practical and comfortable.

Ideally, when creating their work, architectural experts must always equally incorporate functionality and aesthetical aspects in their building design. Thanks to modern technology, the boundaries of architecture are constantly expanding, and new wonders can be made every day. Unfortunately, many architects have neglected the aesthetics of their work over functionality, therefore losing the unique difference that was present between architecture and engineering.

What is the role of architecture in today’s society? Well, the situation is not different, as it was never before. Designers either respond to the community with their work or they shape it, dictating the environment. However, it is better to answer to a particular social or natural phenomenon than to force it. Many architects today are fighting for a better and cleaner planet.


What is the main point of architecture? ›

Beyond merely providing shelter, architecture becomes the stage set and context for our lives. It's the reason we feel empowered on the roof deck of an 80-story building, connected and thriving in a busy public plaza, and humbled in a soaring cathedral.

What is architecture in your own opinion? ›

At a basic level, architecture is commonly defined as the process of planning, designing and constructing buildings or structures. By definition, a building is merely a structure with a floor, roof and walls. True architecture goes well beyond a mere building.

What is architecture in your own words essay? ›

Architecture is a multi-faceted discipline with various sub-fields, including urban planning, interior design, industrial design, civil engineering, and environmental engineering. Moreover, it also includes construction management, landscape architecture, historic preservation, urban design, and structural dynamics.

What is architecture Short answer? ›

architecture, the art and technique of designing and building, as distinguished from the skills associated with construction. The practice of architecture is employed to fulfill both practical and expressive requirements, and thus it serves both utilitarian and aesthetic ends.

What are the important things in architecture? ›

Excellent Math Skill Is Essential For Architecture

To become a successful architect you have to do a complete study of the 4 primary areas of math i.e. geometry, trigonometry, calculus, finite math that will teach you the skills required to design and construct a building.

What is the most important skill in architecture? ›

You'll need:
  • design skills and knowledge.
  • knowledge of building and construction.
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail.
  • thinking and reasoning skills.
  • customer service skills.
  • excellent verbal communication skills.
  • analytical thinking skills.
  • the ability to use your initiative.

What describes a good architecture? ›

These principles are: Durability (Firmatis) – It should stand up robustly and remain in good condition. Utility (Utilitas) – It should be useful and function well for the people using it. Beauty (Venustatis) – It should delight people and raise their spirits.

What is architecture summary? ›

Architecture is defined as the art and science of designing buildings and structures. A wider definition would include within this scope the design of any built environment, structure or object, from town planning, urban design, and landscape architecture to furniture and objects.

What can I write about architecture? ›

Young Architect Guide: 10 Tips for Writing About Architecture
  • Take a Personal Perspective. ...
  • Harness Visceral Imagery. ...
  • Ask Rhetorical Questions. ...
  • Master Metaphors and Similes. ...
  • Use Personification. ...
  • Set the Scene. ...
  • Kick Off With a Quote. ...
  • Apply Some Dry Wit.

What is a good sentence for architecture? ›

He studied classical architecture and design in Rome. The architecture was designed with defence in mind. The exterior of the building was a masterpiece of architecture. This is a fine example of Moroccan architecture.

What is the deep meaning of architecture? ›

Architecture is the art and science of making sure that our cities and buildings actually fit with the way we want to live our lives: the process of manifesting our society into our physical world. -

What is architecture give an example? ›

Architecture, as a field of work, is the art and science of designing and building structures, such as churches, houses and bridges.

What does an architect do in simple terms? ›

Architects spend much of their time in offices, where they develop plans, meet with clients, and consult with engineers and other architects. They also visit construction sites to prepare initial drawings and review the progress of projects to ensure that clients' objectives are met.

How do you explain architecture to a child? ›

The science and art of designing buildings is known as architecture. People who practice architecture are called architects. Architects express an artistic vision through the size, shape, color, materials, and style of a building's elements.

How can architecture help people? ›

Architecture has helped shape society by providing custom living spaces that give us comfort, good health, and safety. It also adds a sense of awe and intrigue to iconic structures throughout the world.

What are the core values of architecture? ›

These can be summarised as Integrity, Humanity, Creativity, and Sustainability.

What are 5 things architects do? ›

Architect Job Responsibilities:

Researches, programs, plans, designs, and administers building projects for clients, applying knowledge of architectural design, construction detailing, construction procedures, zoning and building codes, and building materials and systems.

What is the true value of architecture? ›

There are many ways to define the value of architecture, not just the capital cost: things such as return on investment, visual beauty, functional space, efficiency and user delight, and the enhancement of cultural identity.

Why is good architecture important? ›

Architecture not only affects society on a high level but also on a more personal level, it can have a profound impact on its occupants. Everything from the layout of the space to the material finishes can contribute towards occupant health, mood, and productivity.

What is the beauty of architecture? ›

Beauty, in architecture, lies in the performance and behavior of architectural structures and façade elements as a component. The structural form should have an aesthetic appeal while being simultaneously driven by engineering considerations.

What are the 3 main types of architecture? ›

  • Environmental Design.
  • Interior Architecture.
  • Landscape Architecture.

What do I love about architecture? ›

Architecture gives you the freedom to use the creative part of your brain, it's an art that works with science to design places and buildings where people can live, interact, work and play. You get a lot of opportunities to showcase your creativity and art while designing structures.

What inspires you as an architect? ›

The environment is the primary source of inspiration for many designers. Nature is a treasure trove of many excellent ideas that we still try to learn and uncover today. Some modern buildings mirror their designs from nature. It is one of the most proven and tested ways of extracting pure ideas.

What is your passion as an architect? ›

You have a passion for space and environments, just like you do for people. You're highly affected by your surroundings. You can see, feel and understand the energy in the environment. You may have relationships with objects, buildings, and spaces similar to the relationships you have with people.

What makes a good architecture essay? ›

To summarise, the few things that will help you write a great architectural essay are to do your research, save the articles and papers you want to use, make sure you take full advantage of the university resources, proofread your work multiple times and add those useful images at the end.

What is my strength as an architect? ›

Architect (INTJ) Strengths

Rational – Architects pride themselves on the power of their minds. They can reframe nearly any challenge as an opportunity to hone their rational thinking skills and expand their knowledge – and with this mindset, they can devise inventive solutions to even the most arduous of problems.

What is the base word for architecture? ›

The root of the word architecture is the Greek arkhitekton ("master builder"), which makes sense because the ancient Greeks were very skilled at architecture — think of all those columns and stadiums and temples.

Why is it called architecture? ›

Architecture came from the Latin word “architectura” or from the Greek word “arkhitekton.” Arkhi meaning “chief” and tekton meaning “builder.” The product of architecture are often buildings, and historical buildings are usually considered achievements in architecture.

What are the 5 basic architectural? ›

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) defines Five Phases of Architecture that are commonly referred to throughout the industry: Schematic Design, Design Development, Contract Documents, Bidding, Contract Administration.

How does architecture work? ›

Architecture is an art that works hand-in-hand with science to design places where people can live, eat, work and play. Architects are not just involved in the design of a building. As a licensed professional they are also responsible for public safety and overseeing of projects.

What is the most important element in architecture? ›

Throughout all phases of society the hearth formed that sacred focus around which took order and shape. It is the first and most important element of architecture.

What is architecture for you as a student? ›

Architecture allows you to be both artistic and analytical

Architecture is an interdisciplinary field. Drawing concepts and design sketches requires artistic skills, while the technical side of building construction requires deep analytical skills.

What are the 3 important elements of architecture? ›

Writing near the end of the first century B.C.E., Roman architect Vitruvius Pollio identified three elements necessary for a well-designed building: firmitas, utilitas, and venustas.

What are the 3 rules of architecture? ›

Firmitas (Firmness, Durability) – It should stand up robustly and remain in good condition. Utilitas (Commodity, Utility) – It should be useful and function well for the people using it. Venustas (Delight, Beauty) – It should delight people and raise their spirits.

What are the rules of architecture? ›

According to the Hyatt Foundation which administers the Prize, these three rules recall the principles set down by the ancient Roman architect Marcus Vitruvius Pollio: firmitas, utilitas, venustas. Vitruvius described the need for architecture to be well-built, useful by serving a purpose, and beautiful to look at.

What is the golden rule in architecture? ›

One of the simplest ways to impart a sense of balance to a structure is to base it off the principles of the golden rectangle. To explain it simply, a golden rectangle signifies any shape that can be wholly divided into up into a square and a rectangle that, when combined, establish a ratio of 1:1.61.

What are elements of architecture? ›

Key Terms: Elements of Architecture
  • Scale & Proportion. Scale refers to a building's size in relation to its surroundings and other objects, including the human body. ...
  • Balance. One way to consider balance in architecture is to examine a building's symmetry. ...
  • Light. ...
  • Color. ...
  • Line. ...
  • Texture. ...
  • Ornament. ...
  • Rhythm.

What is the first rule of architecture? ›

To be an Architect, you must build your designs. You cannot build your designs if your clients don't want them. You can't make money if you don't sell your designs.


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