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What is the architecture?

We explain what architecture is and how it arises in the history of mankind. Types of architecture Town planning.

  1. What is the architecture?

Architecture is the art and technique of conceiving, designing and constructing buildings that function as a habitat for the human being , whether housing, workplaces, recreation or memorials. The term comes from ancient Greek, formed by the words arch – (“chief, authority”) and techné (“creation, construction”), from which it follows that it is the art of construction.

In a strict sense, architecture is inherent in human civilization and cannot escape it while living in society . When the human being erects a hut with woods to shelter from the elements, when he paves the earth to erect a square with the statues of his martyrs, when he designs a temple with which to worship his gods, or when he erects an immense tower of offices, man puts into practice his architectural knowledge .

The various styles and modes of architecture in human history, in fact, reflect many of the conditions and moments of his thinking , whether in artistic or pragmatic terms. In fact, his knowledge is based on three fundamental principles: beauty, firmness and utility .

At the same time, architecture has been included among the Fine Arts of mankind, along with painting , literature , music, sculpture , dance , cinema , photography and cartoon .

  1. History of architecture

The first treatise on architectural knowledge comes from the first century BC and is about Architecture of the Roman Vitruvius. However, the effort to make beautiful, useful and lasting structures and environments precedes the era of humanity. The great works of ancient cultures that today surprise by their workmanship, such as the pyramids of Egypt, the Mesoamerican stone cities, the temples of Greco-Roman antiquity or the Christian habitats of Cappadocia, are just some evidence of this.

The ancient, medieval and modern architecture exhibits the aesthetic methods and trends of the different cultures that gave rise to it . For example, European medieval architecture shows the dominance of the Christian religion and obscurantism, while the Renaissance reveals the renewal and breakthrough efforts that prevailed at the time.

Later, with the advent of industrialization and the discovery of new materials, architecture would give a huge leap forward and nurture new knowledge and technologies , which would during the twentieth century started a true urban and architectural explosion along and width of the world, and the emergence of totally original styles of architecture, disconnected from tradition and built heritage .

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  1. Types of architecture

Architecture can be studied and classified from numerous points of view, such as historical, cultural or functional. Broadly speaking, let’s define the following three classifications:

According to its functionality . That is, according to the purpose with which it is built.

  • Religious architecture . One whose works have worship functions, such as churches, temples, mystical monuments, etc.
  • Military architecture . The one that proposes buildings of strategic, tactical or defensive use, such as castles, walls, barracks, etc.
  • Civil architecture . The one that conceives structures and spaces for the use of ordinary citizens : from houses and buildings, to squares and civic monuments or cultural spaces ( theaters , libraries, schools, etc.).

According to his construction technique . That is, according to the criteria governing the construction.

  • Stylistic or historical architecture . That which connects with the tradition from which it comes and has produced traditional, durable pieces, using inherited methods and imaginary.
  • Popular architecture . Constructions made by the people themselves, such as artisans or people of little education, using natural materials and usually without major aspirations of greatness.
  • Common or vulgar architecture . That made by professionals of the area obeying a purely pragmatic criterion, that is, of use and functionality, without taking into account mostly an architectural tradition.

According to its historical period . You can name as many architectural styles as there are historical moments and contexts, that is, hundreds of them. In the West, the three most recognizable are:

  • Roman architecture . That typical of the Roman Empire and its Greek heritage, was characterized by great functionality and logic , which did not neglect the motives of its important religious world.
  • Baroque architecture . Characterized by the great abundance of details and ornaments, it is typical of the 16th and 17th centuries in Europe and Latin America.
  • Neoclassical architecture . Typical of the European 18th century, it represented a return to the classical values ​​of Greco-Roman antiquity, in the hands of the newly discovered faith in reason and human enlightenment.
  1. Architecture and urbanism

Urban planning is a discipline very close to architecture and is responsible for the understanding, conceptualization and improvement of cities .

For this, it uses geography as a fundamental tool, to ensure the most suitable design not only for buildings and public spaces, but also for roads and displacement systems , to take better advantage of the relief , the climate and thus meet the social and cultural needs of the population . As you will see, it has many points of contact with architecture , and they are usually studied together.

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