Five compelling definitions of architecture

Taken from various places on the web.

EVA HARLOU – Framing human life

“Architecture is handcraft. Architecture is art. Most of all architecture is framing human life. With architecture comes a great responsibility of trying to understand the human nature. I’m convinced that architecture has to be functional, durable and beautiful. Furthermore it’s very important to me that my architecture reveals a clear and understandable concept – tells a simple story. I don’t believe that “less is more”, but I enjoy when simple and beautiful geometrical shapes solve all challenges in a project. Architecture doesn’t have to be difficult and I don’t think that innovative architecture has to look like something exploded.”


THOM MAYNE – Social and Aesthetic

“What is architecture really? It is taking our world view, how we exist, how we deal with each other in a civil society, and it concretizes it, it makes it permanent, it makes it evident. The social act and the aesthetic act come together. Architecture is a public act: It can only finally be about our social space: connections between people, a public space, the connective tissue.”


PETER ZUMTHOR – Architecture and the senses

“Architecture is a sensuous art, because it is perceived with the senses. If you like a house or an inner space, perhaps a living room or a church, it is something you feel, not something you think. Of course, the mind comes into play too, as it is through experience that we understand how buildings work, and so there is a certain empiricism at work. But the most important thing is emotional understanding. This cannot always be rationalized or summoned at will. It is often just there. Architecture is partly based on the sense of touch. Materials used in architecture are the equivalent of notes for the composer. I work with all materials, and like them all. The interest lies in finding ever-new ways to put the notes together – to achieve a specific final sound.”


RAIMUND ABRAHAM – Sacred or profane

“I consider architecture a discipline, not a profession. Considering the classic periods of architecture, architecture was more or less confined to the sacred and political power. Architecture represented a spiritual device and now it is considered that it should merely ornament our lives. For me architecture’s role is to elevate the profane with the sacred. If you succeed in making architecture, the sacred has to prevail. That means that in the most profane or the most pragmatic program, the program always has to succumb to this period of the sacred whether it is a small house, a cathedral or a temple.”


BJARKE INGELS – Between utopian and pragmatic

“Architecture seems to be entrenched in two equally unfertile fronts: Either naively utopian or petrifying pragmatic. We believe that there is a third way wedged in the no mans land between the diametrical opposites. Or in the small but very fertile overlap between the two. A pragmatic utopian architecture that takes on the creation of socially, economically and environmentally perfect places as a practical objective. In our projects we test the effects of scale and the balance of programmatic mixtures on the social, economical and ecological outcome. Like a form of programmatic alchemy we create architecture by mixing conventional ingredients such as living, leisure, working, parking and shopping.”

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