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What is Architecture? According to our Readers

What is Architecture? According to our Readers

Continuing our quest to redefine how architecture is perceived nowadays and exposing the different notions out there, ArchDaily gave space for its users to answer four fundamental questions: “What is architecture? What can architecture do? What is your architectural position? What is your design method?” With around 200 entries per interrogation, gathered from all over the world, the ideas shared are mostly complementary and non-conflicting, underlining a general understanding of the role and essence of this field.

After having shared insights, in collaboration with WIA, from 16 different notable figures in the architectural scenes, such as Odile Decq, Kjetil Thorsen from Snøhetta, Peter Cook, Anna Heringer, Yona Friedman, Ma Yansong from MAD Architects, Liam Young, and Wolf D. Prix from Coop Himmelb(l)au, to name a few, this article highlights the best responses of our readers to the timeless interrogation “What is architecture?”

Bathing Pavilion Tossols-Basil, Olot, Spain by RCR Arquitectes . Image © Tzu Chin YuHousing in Irkutsk, Russia. Image © Ma ChengRongThe Twist Museum, Kistefos Sculpture Park, Jevnaker, Norway by Bjarke Ingels Group . Image © Laurian GhinitoiuChina Resources Headquarters, Shenzhen, China by Kohn Pedersen Fox. Image © Su Zhewei+ 10

Read on to discover 40 of the best answers collected in response to the first of the four fundamental questions: “What is architecture?”. Stay tuned to our coverage of the remaining interrogations. 

What is Architecture?

Skanderbeg Square, Tirana, Albania by 51N4E. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu
Skanderbeg Square, Tirana, Albania by 51N4E. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu

1- Architecture is the middle ground between interlocking spheres of Art, Science, and Engineering.

2- Material of life! Architecture has stuck to our mind and life; even if you are not an architect you still do architecture.

3- Architecture is a complexity of culture, politics, and problem solving transformed into a designed object.

4- The scientific art of designing the perfect space to answer the exact problem of any function pertaining to human being activities and cultures.

5- Architecture is everything at once: traces of history and cultures; demonstrations of design and engineering; urban and natural landscapes; social ways of living.

Guardian Art Center, Beijing, China by Büro Ole Scheeren. Image © Aurelien Chen
Guardian Art Center, Beijing, China by Büro Ole Scheeren. Image © Aurelien Chen

6- Architecture is a designed environment where people celebrate their humanity in harmony with culture and nature

7- Architecture is a way to enrich human life through the art and design of everyday spaces.

8- Architecture is a vessel for multifold existential narratives of life.

9- Architecture is essentially the expression of man's relationship with the surrounding world and the answer to spiritual, material, individual, social needs, and dreams.

10- Architecture deals with designed space. Its importance is due to the fact that ever since humans settled, it has become, the study of humanity.

Hill of the Buddha, Makomanai Takino Cemetery Sapporo, Japan by Tadao Ando. Image © Vincent Wu
Hill of the Buddha, Makomanai Takino Cemetery Sapporo, Japan by Tadao Ando. Image © Vincent Wu

11- Architecture is the translation of an idea into space. It is a medium.

12- Architecture is a responsibility expressed through individual creativity.

13- Architecture is the development of the built environment, in regards to characters, cities, ambiance, and environmental synergy.

14- Architecture is the art through which I see the world and its details. It is responsibility, sensitivity, awareness a description of ourselves.

15- Architecture is a reflection of society.

Housing in Irkutsk, Russia. Image © Ma ChengRong
Housing in Irkutsk, Russia. Image © Ma ChengRong

16- Architecture is the form of spatial manifestation of human connections.

17- Architecture is what man builds to pay an ode to oneself, to the environment, to a cause, and to a culture.

18- Architecture is a manifestation of the intersection of 2 different opposing forces like solid & void, light & dark, brought to life through artistic & well-thought design.

19- Architecture is what shapes our actions and inspires our dreams. It is nature made by man.

20- Architecture is the art and science of shelter.

The Twist Museum, Kistefos Sculpture Park, Jevnaker, Norway by Bjarke Ingels Group . Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu
The Twist Museum, Kistefos Sculpture Park, Jevnaker, Norway by Bjarke Ingels Group . Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu

21- Architecture is a means of modifying the limited outside world to meet the unlimited world of the human mind.

22- Architecture is the canvas for living.

23- Architecture is about Relations! Relationships that be created and woven together between materials, objects, masses, spaces.

24- Architecture is the knowledge and act of creating for a purpose.

25- Architecture is the thoughtful and considered art of designing buildings.

Bathing Pavilion Tossols-Basil, Olot, Spain by RCR Arquitectes . Image © Tzu Chin Yu
Bathing Pavilion Tossols-Basil, Olot, Spain by RCR Arquitectes . Image © Tzu Chin Yu

26- Architecture is the integration of buildings and people's way of life to create a well-designed functional environment.

27- Architecture is subjective. It is different for everyone. For me, architecture is an idea of freedom of expression and acceptance.

28- Architecture is an assembly of processes that in turn host the proceedings of life and is, in turn, subject to transformations over time.

29- Architecture is bringing out the best of what we could do in this world. Not only about structures and designs, but also about life.

30- Architecture is the art of conceptualizing ideas into reality that caters and adapts to the people of its surroundings and environment.

The Vessel, New York City, USA by Heatherwick Studio . Image © Joan Muñoz Arango
The Vessel, New York City, USA by Heatherwick Studio . Image © Joan Muñoz Arango

31- Architecture is the practice of manipulating space.

32- Architecture is not just about designing spaces and structures, it about transforming them to create and elevate human experiences.

33- Architecture is both the art and science of space.

34- Architecture is the reflection of the cultural heritage, the progress, and economy of the place and its people's identity.

35- Architecture is the organization of the environment or space surrounding people which allows for the creation of interactions or social relationships.

China Resources Headquarters, Shenzhen, China by Kohn Pedersen Fox. Image © Su Zhewei
China Resources Headquarters, Shenzhen, China by Kohn Pedersen Fox. Image © Su Zhewei

36- Architecture is a profession that observes society and its environment and responds to its needs through art and engineering.

37- Architecture is about finding ways to plan, build, and develop locations while reducing environmental impact.

38- Architecture continues to change. But I personally think that it's a reflection of ourselves in a certain space and architecture helps us express it.

39- Architecture is an outlet for people to dream and share their personal touch with a structure. It is an epitome of self-expression made visible.

40- Vitruvius still has the most operational definition that has endured for centuries: arch. Is commodity, firmness, and sensuality.

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About this author
Cite: Christele Harrouk. "What is Architecture? According to our Readers" 14 Apr 2021. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/960128/what-is-architecture-according-to-our-readers> ISSN 0719-8884
BingDing Wood Kiln Factory Renovation, Jingdezhen, China by AZL architects. Image © He Zhenhuan

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