Architecture is the art and science of designing buildings. A wider definition would include within its scope the design of any built environment, structure or object, from town planning, urban design, and landscape architecture to furniture and objects. The term architecture also encompasses the pragmatic aspects of realizing buildings and structures, including scheduling, cost estimating and construction administration. As documentation produced by architects, typically drawings, plans and technical specifications, architecture defines the structure and/or behavior of a building or any other kind of system that is to be or has been constructed.
In order to understand architecture better it can be useful to classify it according to type: commercial (office buildings), institutional (educational), industrial, residential (houses), transportation (bridges), recreational (parks), governmental (courthouses) etc. Architecture is both the process and the product of planning, designing, and constructing buildings 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.
The process of designing and building an efficient, safe, and aesthetically pleasing architecture is a complex process. The architect must balance a variety of demands from various clients, engineers, and users while meeting the architectural design goals. In addition to the design of the physical structure itself, architects are often responsible for the design architectural scale models. In some cases, they may also be responsible for the construction management or supervision of the project. Some architects may involve themselves with all phases of a project or only in its initial planning stages.
What seems most important about the buildings is not that they’re beautiful, but that they’re beautiful in a particular way – one that (in addition to being beautiful) is expensive and hard to construct. The point is that these are not the kind of buildings people normally build. If you go to a modern city, you expect to see two things: ordinary buildings, which people build because they want somewhere to put stuff; and monuments, which they build because they want other people to know how important they are. What you don’t usually see is something like this:
How come? Is it just that architects can’t resist showing off? Architects are no more vain than anyone else. The explanation has more to do with the way rich people think about their place in society. To understand why some buildings look like this and others look like warehouses, let’s start with some history.