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Sam DefE architecture draft5 (2)

Sam Kuo
Mr. Hutchins
11 Geng Composition H
8 Jan. 2020
Architecture Redefinition
Architecture generally refers to the practice of designing and making buildings,
at least in the eyes of most people. During a personal trip to China, I confirmed this
most agreed-upon definition myself. Mass look-alike residential buildings were
erected, high rise, yet soulless, highlighting the functional aspect of them, and perhaps only the functional aspect of them. In the USA, the design of Fallingwater by an
internationally renowned American architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1935 in southwestern Pennsylvania showed that a house could be both functional and aesthetic. To
its residents, Fallingwater with exquisite external and internal features provides a
comfortable and relaxing environment in which they can call home (Hoffmann).
Shortly before his passing, Wright, with years of architectural experience, realized an
element was missing from his design when he announced to the public that “philosophy is to the mind of the architect as eyesight to his steps” (Seckel). Without philosophy, architecture was disconnected from nature just like an architect losing his vision.
This missing element of philosophy from both my observation and even Wright’s
own design of Fallingwater further expands the core meaning of such art of building
design. Function combined with aesthetics and philosophy defines the true meaning
of architecture.
According to the dictionary, architecture is defined as “planning and construction of buildings” (Curl). It is related to design and engineering. Due to such denotation and probably being limited by this denotation, architects feel obliged to work
within this boundary. Few have stepped out of this zone to add more components in
addition to the functional aspect of architecture. This dictionary definition together
with Wright’s design of Fallingwater plus his realization of what this art could mean
years after his own design hopefully gives architects new insights about architecture,
bringing architecture to the next level as a continual expansion of human knowledge.
The capabilities of architecture can be identified as system functions and their
interactions, which define how the functions will work together to perform system
tasks. To begin with, people pursue the function of every architecture such as the
purpose of building a hospital. Structural and mechanical systems are crucial to the
function of architecture. These systems in turn respond to the constraints of sites,
procedures and available building technologies. The architect should have a clear understanding of the physical processes that make up the building and operation of the
building itself. That is why a good architect should embrace technology and innovation in design. On the other hand, to build in an effective way, joining architecture
with engineering and construction site supervision is necessary. Architectural function can be also considered from the outside as a response to the environment and
context. A building's enclosed system regulates the effects of the sun, rain, dust, and
other elements(Wallis). Sophisticated building envelopes reduce the energy required
to maintain a comfortable interior and reduce costs for maintenance. In this sense,
functional design aligns with sustainable design. Even function in architecture has
multiple meanings, but usefulness is often related to the other core values of durability and beauty. The functionality of the application may change over time, but good
buildings can adapt to new types of use, extending their use and durability. If a piece
of architectural work is considered beautiful or at least pleasing to the eyes, its owners and users will be more likely to maintain it for generations, prolonging its useful
In such, architecture can also be considered as visual arts such as paintings and
sculptures. A combination and balance of the elements of space design, symmetry,
and color is indispensable though not yet widely being incorporated into many designs of architecture. Various forms of satisfying and harmonious space proportions
may determine whether an aesthetically pleasing building can be built or not. Symmetry reflects the forms of shapes and even angles across the central axis. The color
of the building can and will connect to people’s emotions, not merely the exterior but
also the interior of it. Balance means the equal distribution of visual weight (Wilber).
Visual balance can be regarded as a vertical axis; human eyes have the ability to balance the visual weight between the two sides of the axis. When any component or
decoration is not balanced from the vertical axis, the effects can be disturbing, making the people who pass by or reside in that building feel uncomfortable. A wellknown historical architecture style, Gothic architecture, can represent the style of the
building that may affect people’s point of view (Pope). Though it is classical and famous, yet it only shows the functional and aesthetic aspects of architecture. Despite
Gothic architecture was a style that flourished in the 16th century, it failed to include
the philosophy component of architecture (Robert). This means philosophy is an element that cannot be ignored by architects in their design of buildings.
Philosophy is and should be another main component of architecture in addition to function and aesthetics, manifesting the life values of both the designer and
people in general. Living comfortably while being able to enjoy the place in which
they live serves as the basic needs of people (Kelly). Owing to this reason, architects
may have to consider the kind of customer base they wish to target. Most people usually distinguish the environment for building from the natural environment. This distinction does two things in architectural philosophy. First, it helps people to determine what they can discount as buildings. Even caves can be regarded as buildings,
but most natural environment elements are not architectural. On the other hand, the
general public have a clear definition of the natural environment whether the building
is suitable for living or not, and if not, then there is a lack of coherence between each
other (Capdevila-Werning 2013).
Through the understanding of the three key elements which are function, aesthetics, and the philosophy of architecture, architects need to redefine the current definition of architecture. To live poetically, people have to assimilate into the local culture. Similarly, architects maintaining a nice control of function, aesthetics, and philosophy in their design are taking architecture to a new height both for their own
fame and for the benefits and well-being of people.
Works Cited
Capdevila-Werning, Remei, 2013, “Constructing the Absent—Preservation and
Restoration of Architecture”, Proceedings of the European Society for
Aesthetics, 5: 163–177.
Curl, James Stevens, and Susan Wilson. The Oxford Dictionary of Architecture.
Oxford University Press, USA, 2015.
Hoffmann, Donald. “Dismembering Frank Lloyd Wright.” Design Quarterly, no. 155,
1992, pp. 2–5.
Metaphilosophy, vol. 7, no. 3/4, 1976, pp. 173–190.
Pope, Arthur Upham. “Gothic Architecture and Persian Origins.” The Burlington
Magazine for Connoisseurs, vol. 63, no. 364, 1933, pp. 42–42.
Robert, Porter “Architecture.” Deleuze and Guattari: Aesthetics and Politics, 1st ed.,
University of Wales Press, 2009, pp. 71–100.
Seckel, Harry. “Frank Lloyd Wright.” The North American Review, vol. 246, no. 1,
1938, pp. 48–64.
Wallis, Aleksander. “Functions of Architecture.” The Polish Sociological Bulletin, no.
73/74, 1986, pp. 65–71.
Wilber, Donald N. “The Role of Color in Architecture.” Journal of the American
Society of Architectural Historians, vol. 2, no. 1, 1942, pp. 17–22