Art -- Architecture



Table of Contents

Personal Context



Architecture is the craft/art of designing and building structures which solve biological and social tasks:

  • Protection from normal seasonal wind, rain, snow, and extreme temperatures
  • Protection from or at least survival of storms, floods, lightning, and other natural disasters.
  • Facilities for cooking, eating, elimination, and personal hygeine.
  • Social context for large group mass events, small group gatherings, nuclear family living, and personal privacy.
  • Workspaces (from artisan workshops to major industrial factories)
  • Storage for goods (from trunks and cabinets to warehouses)

Thus the architect needs to understand human biology, local social patterns, building materials and techniques, and architectural traditions.

The literature of architecure is usually associated with massive public buildings (temples, burial mounds, arenas, castles, palaces, churches, train stations, sckyscrapers). See trachtenberg2002 for an overview, and morelli1999 for glorious art of living.

To actually build it, you must deal with gravity, rain, fire, and earthquake. See allen90.

Finally, you need to supply, repair, and rebuild in a finite world. This leads to the whole sustainability movement and specifically snell2005.

There are of course specialized texts for yurts, teepees, bungalows, strawbale, timber-frame, log cabin, mobile, etc.



Edward Allen. "Fundamentals of Building Construction", 2nd ed. John Wiley & Sons, 1990. ISBN 0-471-50911-0.

Steel, concrete, wood. Structure, plumbing, electrical, etc. All the "modern" technologies, most of which can be sustainable if applied with "green" architectural design.


Marcello Morelli, ed. "Royal Palaces". Thunder Bay Press, 1999. ISBN 1-57145-219-2.

Palaces from around the world. Sumptouous living where cost is no object, and the greatest artists are at your beck and call. You may not learn much, but the photos are fabulous.


Clarke Snell, Tim Callahan. "Building Green: A Complete How-to Guide to Alternative Building Methods". Lark Books, 2005. ISBN 978-1-57990-532-3.

Siting for passive solar. Cob, cordwood, straw-bale, etc.


Marvin Trachtenberg. "Architecture From Prehistory to PostModernity", 2nd ed. Prentice-Hall, 2002. ISBN 0-8109-0607-4.

Western tradition from Stonehenge, Egyption Pyramids, Greece, Rome, churches of middle ages/renaissaince/baroque periods, modern and postmodern.

Creator: Harry George
Updated/Created: 2008-05-26