process of planning, designing and construction
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Architecture is the art and science of designing buildings and structures.

Fore God, you have here a goodly dwelling and a rich.
William Shakespeare
Queens College
Architecture and psychology suddenly become very close.
Jacques Herzog
Great Wall of China
Paul Klee: Colorful Architecture (1917)


  • Architectural History is more than just the study of buildings. Architecture of the past and the present remains an essential emblem of a distinctive social system and set of cultural values, and as a result it has been the subject of study of a variety of disciplines.
    • Dana Arnold, Reading Architectural History (2002), Ch. 1 : Reading the past : What is architectural history?
  • ‘Architecture’ may at first appear to be a more fixed and finite term. It has a threedimensional, tangible, useable form. But questions remain about what can be considered architecture and what cannot, and by this I mean that we usually understand architecture to incorporate aesthetic as well as functional consideration into its structure. Anything that does not fall into this category can be described as ‘just a building’. This may seem too simple. Can architecture be determined solely by the use of refined architectural style – high or polite architecture instead of vernacular?
    • Dana Arnold, Reading Architectural History (2002), Ch. 1 : Reading the past : What is architectural history?
  • Architecture differs from a work of art, which can be displayed in different settings and the subject-matter, form and meaning will remain unchanged. The physicality of any built structure can be altered over time as additions and alterations are made. Moreover, a building or work of architecture can change its function as it meets the different demands of its occupants, although its exterior appearance may be unaltered. And its meaning may change depending on the nature of the context. This reveals some of the problems of interpreting historic architecture from a modern-day perspective as the physical changes and different cultural contexts transform the object.
    • Dana Arnold, Reading Architectural History (2002), Ch. 1 : Reading the past : What is architectural history?
  • ARCHITECT, n. One who drafts a plan of your house, and plans a draft of your money.
    • Ambrose Bierce, The Cynic's Dictionary (1906); republished as The Devil's Dictionary (1911).
  • The civil engineer is the real 19th century architect.
    • William Burges in: The Ecclesiologist, Vol. 28, 1867, p. 156:
  • Windows and doors, in nameless sculpture drest,
    With order, symmetry, or taste unblest;
    Forms like some bedlam-statuary's dream,
    The craz'd creations of misguided whim.
  • When, in architecture, one uses a fixed unit and combinations of it, to produce harmony, the effect should be most striking and apparent... as it is in music by the measured beat and in poetry by the cadence and rhythm.
    • Ernest Flagg, Small Houses: Their Economic Design and Construction (1922)
  • [Makes a good architect] an open mind, energy, an appetite for hard work, a willingness to explore new solutions and push boundaries. A sense of humor is also helpful.
  • Bridges are America's cathedrals.
    • Author unknown; reported in Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989).
  • Silently as a dream the fabric rose;
    No sound of hammer or of saw was there.
  • Dancing and architecture are the two primary and essential arts. The art of dancing stands at the source of all the arts that express themselves first in the human person. The art of building, or architecture, is the beginning of all the arts that lie outside the person; and in the end they unite.
  • Architects know that some kinds of design problems are more personal than others. One of the cleanest, most abstract design problems is designing bridges. There your job is largely a matter of spanning a given distance with the least material. The other end of the spectrum is designing chairs. Chair designers have to spend their time thinking about human butts.
    • Paul Graham, "Five Questions About Language Design" (May 2001).
  • Architecture has recorded the great ideas of the human race. Not only every religious symbol, but every human thought has its page in that vast book.
  • I felt a surge of annoyance. The palace was a monstrosity. It had towers, with pennants snapping in the breeze. It had triumphal staircases. It had flying buttresses. It had colonnades. What it didn't have was structure. It looked like an immense warehouse of architectural spare parts.
  • Architecture worth great attention. As we double our numbers every 20 years we must double our houses. Besides we build of such perishable materials that one half of our houses must be rebuilt in every space of 20 years. So that in that term, houses are to be built for three fourths of our inhabitants. It is then among the most important arts: and it is desireable to introduce taste into an art which shews so much.
    • Thomas Jefferson, hints to Americans travelling in Europe, letter to John Rutledge, Jr. (June 19, 1788); in The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Julian P. Boyd (1956), vol. 13, p. 269.
  • A few centuries ago... the indigenous and often primitive architectural forms of that time had become suited to local climate through a long process of trial and error.
    • Ken Kern, The Owner Built Home: A How-to-do-it Book (1972)
  • Thirty spokes converge upon a single hub
    It is the hole in the centre that the purpose of the axle depends.
    We make a vessel from a lump of clay
    It is the empty space within the vessel that makes it useful.
    We make doors and windows for a room.
    But it is the those empty spaces that make the room habitable.
    Thus while the tangible has advantages
    It is the intangible that makes it useful.
  • The architect
    Built his great heart into these sculptured stones,
    And with him toiled his children, and their lives
    Were builded, with his own, into the walls,
    As offerings unto God.
  • Anon, out of the earth a fabric huge
    Rose, like an exhalation.
  • Nor did there want
    Cornice or frieze with bossy sculpture graven.
  • The hasty multitude
    Admiring enter'd, and the work some praise,
    And some the architect: his hand was known
    In heaven by many a tower'd structure high,
    Where scepter'd angels held their residence,
    And sat as princes.
  • Follow the architectural history of any city, and you will find it during the last half-century the sorrowful record of a pitiful destruction. The great gardens are always the first thing sacrificed. They are swept away, and their places covered by brick and mortar with an incredible indifference. Fine houses, even when of recent construction, like the Pompeiian house of Prince Napoleon in Paris, are pulled down out of a mere speculative mania to build something else, or to cut a long, straight street as uninteresting and as unsuggestive as the boxwood protractor which lies on a surveyor's desk.
  • Architects and engineers are among the most fortunate of men since they build their own monuments with public consent, public approval and often public money.
  • Thus when we view some well-proportion'd dome,
    * * * * * *
    No single parts unequally surprise,
    All comes united to th' admiring eyes.
  • The modern age has in most cases failed with the rebuilding of old cities destroyed in the war and shown itself incapable of recreating the complex grain of places which took centuries to evolve. Clearly our modern architectural vocabulary just isn't up to the job.
    • Dieter Scholzel (architect); reported in Friends of Dresden declarations (2003).
  • When we mean to build,
    We first survey the plot, then draw the model;
    And when we see the figure of the house,
    Then must we rate the cost of the erection.
  • La vue d'un tel monument est comme une musique continuelle et fixée qui vous attend pour vous faire du bien quand vous vous en approchez.
    • The sight of such a monument is like continual and stationary music which one hears for one's good as one approaches it.
    • Anne Louise Germaine de Staël, Corinne (1807), Book IV, Chapter III.
  • An architect, to be a true exponent of his time, must possess first, last and always the sympathy, the intuition of a poet … this is the one real, vital principle that survives through all places and all times.
    • Louis Sullivan, '"Emotional Architecture as Compared to Intellectual : A Study in Subjective and Objective", an address to the American Institute of Architects (October 1894) (in a misprint of its first publication "Classical" appeared in the title, rather than "Intellectual") (1894)
  • No complete architecture has yet appeared in the history of the world because men, in this form of art alone, have obstinately sought to express themselves solely in terms either of the head or of the heart.
    I hold that architectural art, thus far, has failed to reach its highest development, its fullest capability of imagination, of thought and expression, because it has not yet found a way to become truly plastic: it does not yet respond to the poet's touch. That it is today the only art for which the multitudinous rhythms of outward nature, the manifold fluctuations of man's inner being have no significance, no place.
    • Louis Sullivan, '"Emotional Architecture as Compared to Intellectual: A Study in Subjective and Objective (1894)
  • The true architectural art, that art toward which I would lead you, rests, not upon scholarship but upon human powers; and, therefore, it is to be tested, not by the fruits of scholarship, but by the touch-stone of humanity.
"Conversations with Goethe in the Last Years of His Life", page 282; by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Johann Peter Eckermann, Margaret Fuller; Translated by Margaret Fuller; Publiched of Hilliard, Gray, and company, 1839; 414 pages .
  • Architecture has its political Use; publick Buildings being the Ornament of a Country; it establishes a Nation, draws People and Commerce; makes the People love their native Country, which Passion is the Original of all great Actions in a Common-wealth…. Architecture aims at Eternity.
    • Christopher Wren, "Of Architecture", Parentalia; or Memoirs of the Family of the Wrens, comp. by his son Christopher (1750, reprinted 1965), Appendix, p. 351.
  • And so, as they kept coming together in greater numbers into one place, finding themselves naturally gifted beyond the other animals in not being obliged to walk with faces to the ground, but upright and gazing upon the splendor of the starry firmament, and also in being able to do with ease whatever they chose with their hands and fingers, they began... to construct shelters.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 39-41.
  • Houses are built to live in, not to look on; therefore, let use be preferred before uniformity, except where both may be had.
  • There was King Bradmond's palace,
    Was never none richer, the story says:
    For all the windows and the walls
    Were painted with gold, both towers and halls;
    Pillars and doors all were of brass;
    Windows of latten were set with glass;
    It was so rich in many wise,
    That it was like a paradise.
    • Sir Bevis of Hamptoun. Manuscript in Caius College.
  • Old houses mended,
    Cost little less than new, before they're ended.
  • A man who could build a church, as one may say, by squinting at a sheet of paper.
  • The Gothic cathedral is a blossoming in stone subdued by the insatiable demand of harmony in man. The mountain of granite blooms into an eternal flower, with the lightness and delicate finish, as well as the ærial proportions and perspective of vegetable beauty.
  • Earth proudly wears the Parthenon
    As the best gem upon her zone.
  • The hand that rounded Peter's dome
    And groined the aisles of Christian Rome,
    Wrought in a sad sincerity:
    Himself from God he could not free;
    He builded better than he knew;
    The conscious stone to beauty grew.
  • Middle wall of partition.
    • Ephesians, II. 14.
  • An arch never sleeps.
    • J. Fergusson, History of Indian and Eastern Architecture, p. 210 (referring to the Hindu aphorism of the sleepless arch). Also the refrain of a novel by J. Meade Falkner, The Nebuly Cloud.
  • Die Baukunst ist eine erstarrte Musik.
  • Rich windows that exclude the light,
    And passages that lead to nothing.
  • No hammers fell, no ponderous axes rung,
    Like some tall palm the mystic fabric sprung.
    Majestic silence.
    • Reginald Heber, Palestine, line 163. Recited by Heber as "No workman's steel" in The Sheldonian (June 15, 1803).
  • When I lately stood with a friend before [the cathedral of] Amiens,… he asked me how it happens that we can no longer build such piles? I replied: "Dear Alphonse, men in those days had convictions (Ueberzeugungen), we moderns have opinions (Meinungen) and it requires something more than an opinion to build a Gothic cathedral.
    • Heinrich Heine, Confidential Letters to August Lewald on the French Stage. Letter 9. translation. by C. G. Leland.
  • So that there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building.
    • I Kings, VI. 7.
  • Grandeur * * * consists in form, and not in size: and to the eye of the philosopher, the curve drawn on a paper two inches long, is just as magnificent, just as symbolic of divine mysteries and melodies, as when embodied in the span of some cathedral roof.
  • In the elder days of Art,
    Builders wrought with greatest care
    Each minute and unseen part;
    For the gods see everywhere.
  • The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.
    • Psalms. CXVIII. 22.
  • It was stated, * * * that the value of architecture depended on two distinct characters:—the one, the impression it receives from human power; the other, the image it bears of the natural creation.
    • John Ruskin, Seven Lamps of Architecture, The Lamp of Beauty.
  • I would have, then, our ordinary dwelling-houses built to last, and built to be lovely; as rich and full of pleasantness as may be within and without: * * * with such differences as might suit and express each man's character and occupation, and partly his history.
    • John Ruskin, Seven Lamps of Architecture, The Lamp of Memory.
  • Therefore when we build, let us think that we build (public edifices) forever. Let it not be for present delight, nor for present use alone, let it be such work as our descendants will thank us for, and let us think, as we lay stone on stone, that a time is to come when those stones will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that men will say as they look upon the labor and wrought substance of them, "See! this our fathers did for us."
    • John Ruskin, Seven Lamps of Architecture, The Lamp of Memory.
  • Architecture is the work of nations.
  • No person who is not a great sculptor or painter, can be an architect. If he is not a sculptor or painter, he can only be a builder.
  • Ornamentation is the principal part of architecture, considered as a subject of fine art.
  • Since it [architecture] is music in space, as it were a frozen music…. If architecture in general is frozen music.
  • Behold, ye builders, demigods who made England's Walhalla [Westminster Abbey].

See also

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