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Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Architecture is a collection of conflicting thoughts, goals, and interpretations.  What makes architecture interesting, is that all of them are true.  Ever since the coining of the word architecture, we have sought to redefine it.  The OED defines architecture (n.) as: “The art or science of building or constructing edifices of any kind for human use.”1  The word originated from the Latin word architectura and the Greek word arkitekton, or αρχιτεκτων, the combination of αρχι "master" and τεκτων "builder", meaning master builder. The word changed to architecture in the 1560s Middle French, and in 1581, the definition was recorded by W.Stafford as: “Architecture, that is to say, the scyence of building.” 2  Since then the definition of the word has remained virtually the same,  however we have yet to figure out what the word actually means.   

Architecture is something different for everyone, and is different for even one person at different times of their life.  The only way to establish any sort of opinion or understanding about architecture is to analyze your own feelings and thoughts about your surroundings.  I see in my own interpretations of architecture, reflections of other people’s opinions.  That is exactly what architecture is; a collection of interpretations. 

Waterloo Architecture Student Mural: What is Architecture?
(Photo Taken)

Architecture is evidence.  It is what we leave behind to show the world our failures, our attempts, and our accomplishments.  Architecture is our mark on the earth.  It represents our past societies’ values and morals.  It shows us our grandest achievements.  It shows us our most unfortunate tragedies.  We build buildings as tall, as strong, and as beautiful as we can to represent all that is wonderful in life.  We build memorials and museums to remember our history and our mistakes so as not not forget them.  Architecture is who we used to be, who we are, and who we want to become.

"All Architects want to live beyond their deaths."-Phillip Johnson

"We used to build temples, and museums are about as close as secular society dare to go in facing up to the idea that a good building can change your life (and a bad one ruin it)."-Alain de Botton

"Architecture is to make us know and remember who we are."
-Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe

"All fine architectural values are human values, else not valuable."
-Frank Lloyd Right

"We share our buildings: thereafter they shape us."
-Winston Churchill

"Each new situation requires a new architecture."
Jean Nouvel


Architecture is the truth exposed to interpretation.  Architecture is the act of taking a lesson learned in life and expressing it.  It is the art of being able to provide to people an opportunity to learn, feel, think, and do.  Architecture is always showered with different opinions, sometimes is it very far from the intentions of the architect, but sometimes the viewer can understand the true concept that was being expressed.  That is when architecture is at its finest.  That is when the beauty of our humanity is fully captured.

"Architecture is too slow in its realization to be a 'problem solver'."
-Cedric Price

"Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody."
-Jane Jacobs

"Skittles and beer."
-Donald McKay

"Architecture is basically a container of something. I hope they will enjoy not so much the teacup, but the tea."
-Yoshio Taniguchi

"The job of buildings is to improve human relations: architecture must ease them, not make them worse."
-Ralph Erskine

"Inspiration in Science may have to do with ides, but not in Art.  In art it is in the senses that are instinctively responsive to the medium of expression."
-Arthur Erickson

"Architecture appears for the first time when sunlight hits a wall.  The sunlight did not know what it was before it hit a wall."
-Louise Khan

"Architecture is what nature cannot make.  Architecture is something unnatural but not something made up."
-Louise Khan

"I call architecture frozen music."
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe



1. "Home : Oxford English Dictionary. http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/10408?rskey=kSbd2K&result=1&isAdvanced=false#eid (accessed November 18, 2012).

2. "Home : Oxford English Dictionary. http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/10408?rskey=kSbd2K&result=1&isAdvanced=false#eid (accessed November 18, 2012).

3. Quotes. I Like Architecture.com. Famous Architecture Quotes. http://www.ilikearchitecture.net/category/more-cool-stuff/quotes/page/3/ (accessed: November 18, 2012).

1 comment:

  1. Good collection about architecture quotes. I have composed some quotes from you. Thanks for sharing!!