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Architecture (from Greek word ἀρχιτεκτονική - arkhitektonike) is the art and science of designing and constructing buildings and other physical structures for human shelter or use.

A wider definition often includes the design of the total built environment, from the macro level of how a building integrates with its surrounding context (see town planning, urban design, and landscape architecture) to the micro level of architectural or construction details and, sometimes, furniture and hardware. Wider still, architecture is the activity of designing any kind of system.


As a profession, architecture refers to the professional services provided by architects.

Architecture is also experienced[1] through the senses, which therefore gives rise to aural,[2] visual, olfactory,[3] and tactile[4] architecture. As people move through a space, architecture is experienced as a time sequence.[5]

Even though our culture considers architecture to be a visual experience, the other senses play a role in how we experience both natural and built environments. Attitudes towards the senses depend on culture.[6] The design process and the sensory experience of a space are distinctly separate views, each with its own language and assumptions.

The Architect[edit]

Architects plan, design and review the construction of buildings and structures for the use of people by the creative organisation of materials and components with consideration to mass, space, form, volume, texture, structure, light, shadow, materials, program, and pragmatic elements such as cost, construction limitations and technology, to achieve an end which is usually functional, economical, practical and often artistic. This distinguishes architecture from engineering design, which has as its primary object the creative manipulation of materials and forms using mathematical and scientific principles.

As documentation produced by architects, typically drawings, plans and technica; 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.

  1. ^ S. Rasmussen Experiencing Architecture MIT Press
  2. ^ B. Blesser and L. Salter Spaces Speak, Are You Listening? Experiencing Aural Architecture MIT Press 2007. online [1]
  3. ^ A. Barbara and A. Perliss Invisible Architecture: Experiencing Places Through the Sense of Smell Skira, 2006
  4. ^ J. Pallasmaa The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses
  5. ^ P. Thiel People, Paths, and Purposes University of Washington Press, 1997
  6. ^ D. Howes The Variety of Sensory Experiences University of Toronto Press, 1991