Architecture is both the process and the product of planning, designing, and constructingbuildings or any other 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.
He earliest surviving written work on the subject of architecture is De architectur, by the Roman architect Vitruvius in the early 1st century AD. According to Vitruvius, a good building should satisfy the three principles of fermatas, utilities, commonly known by the original translation –. An equivalent in modern English would be:
According to Vitruvius, the architect should strive to fulfill each of these three attributes as well as possible. Leon Battista Alberti, who elaborates on the ideas of Vitruvius in his treatise, De Re Aedificatoria, saw beauty primarily as a matter of proportion, although ornament also played a part. For Alberti, the rules of proportion were those that governed the idealised human figure, the Golden mean.
The most important aspect of beauty was, therefore, an inherent part of an object, rather than something applied superficially, and was based on universal, recognizable truths. The notion of style in the arts was not developed until the 16th century, with the writing of Vasari: by the 18th century, his Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects had been translated into Italian, French, Spanish, and English.
The notable 19th-century architect of skyscrapers, Louis Sullivan, promoted an overriding precept to architectural design: “Form follows function”.
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.
NunziaRondanini stated, “Through its aesthetic dimension architecture goes beyond the functional aspects that it has in common with other human sciences. Through its own particular way of expressing values, architecture can stimulate and influence social life without presuming that, in and of itself, it will promote social development.’
To restrict the meaning of (architectural) formalism to art for art’s sake is not only reactionary; it can also be a purposeless quest for perfection or originality which degrades form into a mere instrumentality”.
Among the philosophies that have influenced modern architects and their approach to building design are Rationalism, Empiricism, Structuralism, Poststructuralism, Deconstruction and phenomenology.
In the late 20th century a new concept was added to those included in the compass of both structure and function, the consideration of sustainability, hence sustainable architecture. To satisfy the contemporary ethos a building should be constructed in a manner which is environmentally friendly in terms of the production of its materials, its impact upon the natural and built environment of its surrounding area and the demands that it makes upon non-sustainable power sources for heating, cooling, water and waste management and lighting.
Philosophy of architecture
Main article: Philosophy of architecture
Philosophy of Architecture is a branch of philosophy of art, dealing with aesthetic value of architecture, its semantics and relations with development of culture.
Plato to Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, Robert Venturi as well as many other philosophers and theoreticians, distinguish architecture (‘technion’) from building (‘demiorgos’), attributing the former to mental traits, and the latter to the divine or natural.
The Wittgenstein House is considered one of the most important examples of interactions between philosophy and architecture. Built by renowned Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, the house has been the subject of extensive research about the relationship between its stylistic features, Wittgenstein’s personality, and his philosophy.
Main article: Phenomenology (architecture)
Architectural phenomenology is a movement within architecture beginning in the 1950s, reaching a wide audience in the late 1970s and 1980s, and continuing until today. Architectural phenomenology focuses on human experience, background, intention and historical reflection, interpretation as well as poetic and ethical considerations with authors such as Gaston Bachelard
The phenomenon of dwelling was one research theme in architectural phenomenology. The understanding of phenomenology in architecture was widely shaped by the later thought of Martin Heidegger as set in his influential essay: “Building Dwelling Thinking.”