What Is Architecture?

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WHAT IS ARCHITECTURE?

Architecture is constructed around the formation of a design idea. Before defining what architecture is, one must first look at the designer and the process of design. Jane Anderson sums up the definitions of these ideas; “There is no one right answer in architecture.” This makes the definition of architecture hard to discover, however, easier to explore. Throughout history theories incorporate information on these architectural characteristics and attempt to explain them. A number of fundamental questions need to be asked to try and define what architecture and, on the opposite side of the spectrum, what architecture is not.

Firstly, the process of creating architecture needs to be explored. Steven Harfield explains the process as problematization, finding and understanding the problem and looking at solutions that could be pursued. Many solutions can result from one problem. A designer must first understand the problem at hand and then create the solution, “The shaping of the question is part of the answer” (Hein, [p.ix Ching]). However, can all the solutions that have been created, be considered architecture? “Design does not just require the solution of complex problems but relies on the individual to identify, state or define the design problem” (Anderson p. 34). The idea of individuality becomes important, first and foremost, it describes how exactly the design will come to life; secondly, what kind of design will be created.

Is architecture, architecture, only because the process undertook to create the end product was satisfactory? Can something be considered architecture if the process of creation only took five minutes? Without process, the issue of meaning and experience within a project is lost. However another question is formed; does architecture need meaning?

Individuality within any form of design leads to the need for meaning. If a group of people were told to fold a piece of paper, some will attempt to...
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