Art and Architecture

“Architecture is art. Architecture is the greatest pf the arts, and it encompasses thinking that the other arts don’t even deal with. Like the relationship of the work to the individual human being – the person who uses it; the person who experiences it; the person who sees it; and how that person perceives that space. You know, there’s an old adage that a sculptor can make a square wheel, and an architect has to make a round one. You have a certain responsibility not just to your client, but to the public at large with what you do"

Richard Meier, Architect.

“No other art makes the claims of social responsibility that architecture does and no other art has the arrogance to think it will remake the world"

Paul Goldberger, Architectural Critic. Building Up and Tearing Down.

“Yes, architecture is art. It is the most contaminated art. Also, it is the most imposing. If you’re a bad writer, people won’t read your book. If you’re a bad architect, the city has to live with your work for a very long time"

Renzo Piano, Architect.

One might say, not all buildings are architecture. Some buildings are created due to economics, and although they might provide a glimpse into architectural know-how, most have nothing to do with architecture.

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Daveid Darbyshire Comment by Daveid Darbyshire on February 16, 2011 at 9:07am
Art to me is anything that can convey an emotion, if someone says "I love this building" that is art. Buildings make you feel emotion either the moment you see them or more often than not the moment you entre it. If a job centre does not give you a feeling of hope, you are just going to want to get out of there as soon as possible. It is how they make you feel that will dictate how you perform. We don't have time to analyse and dissect the art comes in how it makes us feel. If you can have an emotional connection to an object or thing that is art. It is the art of connecting with peoples emotions.
Dr. Bill Thompson Comment by Dr. Bill Thompson on November 22, 2010 at 11:42am
having taught cultural context in architecture for a decade I found that our search for knowledge of perception lies at the back of any error contained in the quotes and indeed intentions notwithstanding or contradicting the status of the writers, in other words the quotes may ring true but the underlying knowledge of perception is egregious
Alan Thompson Comment by Alan Thompson on November 14, 2010 at 10:47pm
Catherine. I'm inclined to agree with Richard Meier that Architecture is an art.

When we ask the question: "What is the relationship between Art and Architecture?" The first answer must be: Architecture is an art in its own right, with a very special set of concerns. The second and more complex answer is: Architecture also relates to almost all of the other art forms, to a greater or lesser extent. This includes music, dance, photography, film, painting and sculpture (etc...) But, architecture has a complex relationship with the other arts. Since, it can not only work alongside these other disciplines, or attempt to house them, it can become the subject of their work. Our built environment can become the subject of all of the other arts. A painter or a film maker may be obsessively concerned with architecture; or they may not care for it at all.

Paul Goldberger's observation is very confusing. Whether or not architects "claim" social responsibility , they are actually very responsible to society for their actions. And of course, by definition, they do remake the world. That's just a true-ism? Although, they can make that world better, or make it worse than they found it. They can act responsibly, or act irresponsibly ... but in the end, they are the ones who do remake it. Although, these days contractors, clients and a whole number of other players are also equally responsible for what really gets built. Its a much more complex process now. It is certainly a very contaminated artform. It is also the most imposing artform, which is why it ought to demand such social responsibility.

Architecture only comes into the world through a process of consultation and debate. This process involves many interest groups. The only reason that we should ever end up with poor architecture is when this process goes wrong. There ought to be an equal responsibility on the shoulders of the critics, the planners and the planners. Often, the biggest problem is not allowing an informed debate to develop over a proposed design. To really look at its qualities and weaknesses and confront them before its too late.

We are living in a society that is less and less inclined to have an open, informed conversation about the quality of design. If we are not prepared to pay attention to the quality of design in our public realm, then we should not complain when end up with cities that fail to provide the quality of life that would have wanted?

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