Architecture is…

My friend shared a arch daily list of definitions about architecture. Most of them are academic pablum, but a good amount seemed was worth cutting, pasting and resharing:

Pithy sayings
12. “Architecture is an artificial fact.” – Mario Botta in Perspecta
30. “Architecture is the petrification of a cultural moment.” – Jean Nouvel in Newsweek
57. “Architecture is bashful about reality.” – Wouter Vanstiphout in Archis
75. “Architecture is a history of style written by the victors.” – Herbert Muschamp in New York Times
87. “Architecture is the pathology of the contemporary era.” – Forensic Architecture

As Compromise
32. “Architecture is a muddle of irreconcilable things.” – Juhani Pallasmaa in The Architectural Review
36. “Architecture is most often a victory over the process of creating architecture.” – Sam Jacob in Log
42. “Architecture is capable of absorbing anything, and hence tends to dissolve into everything.” – Ole Bouman in Volume
67. “Architecture is expected to carry too much weight in many cases.” – Patricia Patkau in Globe and Mail
117. “Architecture is the sum of inevitable negotiations.” – Felipe Mesa in Domus

A profession to make things better
21. “Architecture is about improving conditions: environmental, social and sometimes also political.” – Arjen Oosterman in Volume
68. “Architecture is not a goal. Architecture is for life and pleasure and work and for people. The picture frame, not the picture.” – William Wurster
83. “Architecture is both an art and a practical pursuit, and the profession has always been divided between those who emphasize the art, that is pure design, and those who give priority to the practical.” – Paul Goldberger in New York Times
102. “Architecture is not about the creation of newness but rather about the fulfillment of needs and expectations.” – André Tavares in Forbes
109. “Architecture is not an inspirational business, it’s a rational procedure to do sensible and hopefully beautiful things; that’s all.” Harry Seidler in the Sydney Morning Herald

I think this as close a summation of what I try to do.
112. “Architecture is about giving form to the places where people live. It is not more complicated than that but also not simpler than that. – Alejandro Aravena in his 2016 Pritzker Prize acceptance speech

Maravillas Gymnasium by Alejandro de la Sota (photo by my buddy Chen Cheng)

One thought on “Architecture is…”

  1. Great posting. In harmony of the last point, Einstein said,

    “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”
    “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not one bit simpler.”
    “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”
    “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex …
    It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.”
    “Out of complexity, find simplicity!”
    “I believe that a simple and unassuming life is good for everybody,
    physically and mentally.”

    John Archibald Wheeler said, ” Einstein’s 3 rules of work
    1) Out of clutter find simplicity,
    2) from discord find harmony,
    3) in the middle of difficult lies opportunity.

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