A word on “Architecture”

Getty Center – Richard Meier and Partners

Let’s say you’re on a holiday trip to visit some foreign city. You walk around, going through parks, squares and avenues. You look at the surrounding buildings. Some are more remarkable and even famous.

Then you say : “Nice architecture !“.

Actually, in that case, you’re talking about “style“.

E.g.: Roman, Gothic, Italian Renaissance, Neocolonialism, Haussmann’s style in Paris, Art Nouveau in Brussels, Art Deco in South Florida.

For more modern buildings, with shades and supporting items more visible, you’ll again say “Nice architecture !“.

In that case, you’re talking about “structure“.

E.g.: Miami Modernism in South Florida, “freestanding” structures, Richard Meier or Santiago Calatrava buildings (but let’s not digress about styles of structures) …

So …

“What is Architecture then ?”

Have you ever thought about why the building has been made like it is, what’s the purpose of the building, which activity is hosted, what’s inside, why there’s different rooms, how are they organized, how they’re accessible, connected, who’s running the activity, how that building is integrated in the environment, how it is operated, … ?

Common usage of the term “architecture” tend to let people think that it is a “description”.

But, really,

“Architecture is an Activity, an activity of creation”

rem: this is why some use the word “architecting”

This creation activity requires integration of different aspects and viewpoints, integration of constraints, integration of capabilities and multi-dimensional vision capability.

Whatever the style, the purpose, the principle remains the same.

“Architecture is the conceiving activity of giving shapes and structure to space, by integrating constraints and to serve a purpose.”