What is Architecture

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About this sample


Words: 1385 |

Pages: 3|

7 min read

Published: Nov 26, 2019

Words: 1385|Pages: 3|7 min read

Published: Nov 26, 2019

A simple question like this has the ability to turn heads and arise foggy thoughts that puzzle one’s mind, and – strangely – an exact answer to it has never been agreed upon to this very day. However, most people do approve that it is a form of art. As Frank Lloyd Wright once said, “The mother art is architecture. Without an architecture of our own we have no soul of our own civilization. ”To begin with, architecture can be compared to various forms of art like music, paintings and sculptures, but are they really similar? Of course, rhythm; aesthetics; harmony; proportions; and patterns are obviously a common factor, but to what extent can the previously mentioned characteristics be implied without being stopped by a set of limits and boundaries? The answer is: not so much. Yes, architecture can be viewed as a form of art. It is more like a mirror which reflects how the architects express their ideas. For instance, the iconic Dancing House by Frank Gehry makes people wonder how the tilted structure is stable enough to stand exquisitely on the ground independently; and so does Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim museum with its magnificent spiral exterior. Also, the shiny metallic surfaces of Frank Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall radiate uniqueness and magnetize visitors by its beauty; last but not least, the way Zaha Hadid’s marvelous Heydar Alijev Cultural Centre appears to fold effortlessly is enough to give an insight of what she thinks of beauty in terms of architecture.

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Nevertheless, there are always questions that linger in many thoughtful minds: “Is architecture merely sculpture – the three-dimensional composition of forms in space? Is it the application of aesthetic considerations onto the form of buildings – the art of making buildings beautiful? Is it the introduction of poetic meaning into buildings? Is it the ordering of buildings according to some intellectual system – classicism, functionalism, post modernism…? ” (unwin,2014). The ultimate answer is: It is a blend of both. The aesthetics of a building have the power of turning it into a landmark or a symbol in which one whole country or even a continent could be remembered by just a simple glimpse of it – of course it depends on the intelligence of the architect. But, the visitors are not going to stand in front of a building and admire its elevation for so long; in fact, it takes mere seconds to click a picture and have it saved forever. What really matters is the function the building proposes; the journey from the parking spot to the entrance, for instance; most importantly, the circulation which either makes the visit worthwhile or breaks it.

Furthermore, there is no doubt that many have stumbled across the statement that “architecture is the design of buildings” (unwin,2014), which weakens – or even destroys – the real meaning behind architecture, tossing all concepts and studies that the architect struggled with for years to attain an optimum design in the given conditions to the bin. The simple thought of viewing architecture as a still object, like a cupboard – which loses its value after a long period of time of usage, just to be replaced by a substitute – carries so much disrespect towards all architects of the world and degrades them. Architecture was never just an ‘object’ and never will be. It is a shelter, an experience, a social place for interaction and a journey to embrace while it lasts. To add over, this quote: “In musicology the architecture of a symphony can be said to be the conceptual organization of its parts into a whole, its intellectual structure” (unwin,2014), flips minds. Isn’t it ironic that this definition, related to music, is much more clearer than the famous definition of architecture itself? In fact, it perfectly describes the architecture behind buildings too. Isn’t it also funny how some people restrict architecture to buildings and objects, but at the same time use it in other contexts – as shown before, regarding music –to imply that something is more complex and sophisticated that it seems? Sometimes people calling themselves ‘food architects’ can be spotted; doesn’t this give at least a hint to those ignorant minds that the word ‘architecture’ can be referring to the beauty of complexity, textures, colors and surfaces of an object? It precisely denotes certain characteristics that revolve around the object; the feelings induced because of the way a certain thing is sorted out and handled. Moreover, opening old history books and travelling back in time where buildings were of no existence, architecture still existed. It could be symbolized by a specific area of land where people sought shelter in and changed it in their own way to accommodate their own activities and purposes; it became a way and style of life.

For instance, lost people on a deserted island will try to survive in unthinkable ways and attempt to make a dwelling out of the harsh, dry sands. After a while, numerous segregated, assigned areas can be noticeably seen: a place for food, sleeping, sitting and much more. This was actually the birth of vernacular architecture – the basis of architecture as a whole – where dwellings were created because of natural instincts, common sense and the power of the mind, using whatever material present at that point of time. It was and still is the identity of a place; just like people have names, parents and birth dates, dwellings have designers, builders and date of construction. If walls and partitions were to be built around these areas and a roof was to be placed on the top, a building would be formed. Survival changed to a need and then turned to a desire; people started craving the essence of beauty and the logic of function, and that’s how architecture became a profession. Going back to the very first point mentioned at the start of this article, many categorize architecture under ‘art’ with professions like music and paintings, not realizing that there is a significant difference between them. Music and paintings are a sweet way to escape life, while architecture is a bittersweet means of coping with it. Not only but also, techniques and methods applied in music and paintings are infinite, unlike architecture where many considerations are kept in mind. It combines art and science under one roof, banishing full control over imagination and reality. Gravity, building orientation, sun angle, public infrastructure, overall layout of surrounding buildings, the surrounding environment and many other endless factors are taken into account before even drawing a line on the plan sheet. It is a life-changing implementation of design for the real world, for real uses like shopping, education, living and much more. It is a structure for people with five senses who require proper spaces for their various practices in life. Maybe a few artists may argue that their piece of art can be interpreted in a wrong way or that it will not convey the exact desired feeling unlike architects who have the ability to do so in the palms of their hands.

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They can decide literally everything and have control – in that sense – on even the littlest details without the users realizing it. Using mind tricks indirectly, like choosing to go right by immediate reflex action, have always been used to control people’s motion, behavior and interactions. Apart from this, architecture is a language of its own. Not to mention that every language has its own accent, architecture has its own styles that spread all over the world and can be easily identified from country to country. It can also mirror cultures and traditions, giving unique identities to each building. For instance, the great Saint Peter’s Basilica located in the Vatican city reflect the Italian renaissance period and the religion of most of the citizens in Rome. Instead of expressing one’s self with words, architects express themselves in the form of structures. To conclude, architecture revolves around concepts, beliefs, philosophies and solutions with no rights or wrongs, but a different mindset and perspective. Maybe it is still seen as the production of objects; but to architects, buildings burst with life with people and experiences. The walls of any building have witnessed countless memories made at different intervals of life and will encounter more.

Works Cited

  1. Unwin, S. (2014). Architecture and the principles of design. In Analysing Architecture (3rd ed., pp. 32-42). Routledge.
  2. Pallasmaa, J. (2009). The eyes of the skin: Architecture and the senses. John Wiley & Sons.
  3. Leach, N. (1999). Rethinking architecture: A reader in cultural theory. Routledge.
  4. Frampton, K. (2007). Modern architecture: A critical history. Thames & Hudson.
  5. Harries, K. (1998). The ethical function of architecture. The MIT Press.
  6. Groat, L., & Wang, D. (2013). Architectural research methods. John Wiley & Sons.
  7. Jencks, C., & Kropf, K. (2015). Theories and manifestoes of contemporary architecture. John Wiley & Sons.
  8. Rowe, C., & Slutzky, R. (1997). Transparency: Literal and phenomenal. In Mathew Gullerud & Daniel P. Gregory (Eds.), Theoretical perspectives in environment-behavior research: Underlying assumptions, research problems, and methodologies (pp. 36-42). University Press of America.
  9. Lefaivre, L., & Tzonis, A. (2003). Critical regionalism: Architecture and identity in a globalized world. Prestel Publishing.
  10. Tafuri, M. (1980). Architecture and utopia: Design and capitalist development. MIT Press.
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What Is Architecture. (2019, November 26). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 19, 2024, from
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