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How does art and architecture intertwine? Poetic vs rational?

Once specialization of professional fields became more prominent, art was separated from architecture. Many believe specialization is necessary to reach a high level of quality. Thus, we were given professions such as Engineering, urban planning, and other specializations. Yet a key question arises, can art be completely separated from architecture?

Architects must have a deeper knowledge of art, as art is the flesh or body of inventions while science is the soul. Both fields are intertwined and interrelated and are difficult to completely separate. In Merriam Webster, Architecture is defined as the art and science of designing buildings and structures. Wikiversity defines architecture as, “the manipulation of shapes, forms, space and light to change our environment.” A very famous definition of architecture is the one made by French architect Le Corbuiser:

“Architecture is the masterly, correct, and magnificent play of forms under the light.” (Vers une architecture, 1923)

As you can see, there are many ways of defining architecture, and every definition mentions art in some form. I am sure you have your own personal way of defining architecture.

Le Corbusier
Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel

Architects must constantly perform a balancing act between the poetic and the rational. It is necessary to make architecture that achieves its original function, but at the same time represents the people that will be using this structure. Thus, architects must have a sensibility for the community and the aesthetics that represent it. Architecture is a very broad and humanistic field that is at the same time technical, artistic and social. 

The profession of architect requires one to have the ability to analyze information coming from many different parties, while at the same time assuming a position of leader and/or mediator within a group of specialists. They must have the ability to empathize and understand every person’s perspective to properly represent those who will be using this structure.

Globalization and the profit motive has created a broader mix of construction needs, and the general tendency to specialize have resulted in architecture being often divided in several different specializations. Yet art and architecture have never been completely separated!


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