Architecture is both the process and product of planning, designing, and construction, usually of buildings and other physical structures. Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural symbols and as works of art. Historical civilizations are often identified with their surviving architectural achievements.
¯ A general term to describe buildings and other physical structures.
¯ The art and science of designing and erecting buildings and other physical structures.
¯ The style and method of design and construction of buildings and other physical structures.
¯ The practice of the architect, where architecture means the offering or rendering of professional services in connection with the design and construction of buildings, or built environments.
¯ The term "architecture" has been adopted to describe the activity of designing any kind of system, and is commonly used in describing information technology.
In relation to buildings, architecture has to do with the planning, designing and constructing form, space and ambiance that reflect functional, technical, social, environmental, and aesthetic considerations. It requires the creative manipulation and coordination of material, technology, light and shadow. Architecture also encompasses the pragmatic aspects of realizing buildings and structures, including scheduling, cost estimating and construction administration.
Modern concepts of architecture
While the notion that structural and aesthetic considerations should be entirely subject to functionality was met with both popularity and skepticism, it had the effect of introducing the concept of "function" in place of Vitruvius' "utility". "Function" came to be seen as encompassing all criteria of the use, perception and enjoyment of a building, not only practical but also aesthetic, psychological and cultural.
Among the philosophies that have influenced modern architects and their approach to building design are rationalism, empiricism, structuralism, post structuralism, and phenomenology.
Modernism and reaction
The approach of the Modernist architects was to reduce buildings to pure forms, removing historical references and ornament in favor of functionalist details. Buildings displayed their functional and structural elements, exposing steel beams and concrete surfaces instead of hiding them behind decorative forms. The Crystal Cathedral is a built in a modern style with panels of glass set in metal frames making both the walls and roof.
The preparatory processes for the design of any large building have become increasingly complicated, and require preliminary studies of such matters as durability, sustainability, quality, money, and compliance with local laws. A large structure can no longer be the design of one person but must be the work of many. Modernism and Postmodernism, have been criticized by some members of the architectural profession who feel that successful architecture is not a personal philosophical or aesthetic pursuit by individualists; rather it has to consider everyday needs of people and use technology to create live able environments, with the design process
Environmental sustainability has become a mainstream issue, with profound affect on the architectural profession. Many developers, those who support the financing of buildings, have become educated to encourage the facilitation of environmentally sustainable design, rather than solutions based primarily on immediate cost. Major examples of this can be found in greener roof designs, biodegradable materials, and more attention to a structure's energy usage. This major shift in architecture has also changed architecture schools to focus more on the environment.
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