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You employ stone, wood and concrete, and with these materials you build houses a

nd palaces. That is construction. Ingenuity is at work.But suddenly you touch my

heart, you do me good, I am happy and I say: "This is beautiful."That is Archite
cture.- Le Corbusier
Architecture was once seen as the mother of the arts and many still see architec
ture as an artistic practice.
I came across a bit of text by Walter Benjamin, which I paraphrase - art is cons
umed in a state of concentration and architecture is consumed in a state of dist
raction. What this means is that art is something which one approaches concsious
ly as an aesthetic object - you concentrate on it, on reading it, appreciating i
t, interpreting it. Architecture, for the most part is being used for some purpo
se, and that purpose is what usually has your attention. You are busy with post
at a post office, shopping at the mall, learning in a classroom, and so on. This
does not mean you do not notice the architecture, but that it is more as a back
ground activity (distracted).You can always decide to walk up to a building like
a piece of sculpture and concentrate on it aesthetically, but that is your choic
e. The architecture is there driven by all sorts of other factors. 'All sorts of
other factors' is where I would start in order to get at an answer as to 'what
is architecture.'That said there are many theories kicking around. Some no longer
see the physical building as architecture but rather the activities of the peop
le in it as 'producing' architecture. That is, architecture is an activity rathe
r than a thing.For me the most beautiful definition (and one which is both thing
and activity) comes from the Polish sculptor Katarzyna Kobro written in the 30s
:1. The elements of architecture are: a) places where a man stops during any a
s from one activity to another 2. The aim of architecture is an organization of the rh
thm ofconsecutive motions and stops, and thereby the forming of the whole oflife. 3.
final goal of architecture is not the building ofconvenient houses; it is also no
t the blowing up of abstract sculpturesand calling them exhibition pavilions. It'
s aim is: to be a regulator ofthe rhythm of social and individual life.
Architecture is the culmination of intentional thought and intuitive reaction co
upled with sensible artistry bound by practical efficiency and engaging communic
ation: harmonic vision and aesthetic melody in tune with the human routine.Shelter
is predicated on the expedient. Architecture flows from the deliberate resolutio
n of passionate expression to house the movement and form of life, interaction,
society and civilization.The musical flow of instinctive response is the material
of mathematical design. This spiritual movement, this kinesthetic flow, this huma
n dance about the still point of sensual precision; is Architecture.