great architecture

What is great architecture? OK, you’re thinking we had a difficult time defining architecture let alone put any type of positive modifier on it. I don’t have an answer, I simply have questions.

In sports we can measure stats and championships, in business we can measure profits, in medicine we can measure saved lives. In the arts, it becomes a bit more difficult. I hope there is a more objective means of establishing this title than we find in the art world. How do we establish this status? Obviously there is never going to be unanimous consensus, but there are history books of architecture that have been canonized as great works to revere and learn from as students and architects.

These are my questions. What are yours?

Is it great because it was published? Is it great because it won awards? Is it great because the client likes and appreciates it? Is it great because the public likes it? Is it great because it was generally built as intended without cutting half of the “good stuff”?

Is it great because the architect says it is? Is it great because it is LEED certified? Is it great because it got built? Is it great because the public understands it? Is it great because the public does not understand it?

Is it great because decades or centuries later it is still standing? Is it great because it is known to inspire? Is it great because it was never built?

Is it great because the architect is a star (or near star) regardless of the inherent qualities of the project? Is it great because of the building type?

Is it great because it just is?

  • What if it got built, but due to time and fees extensive explorations were unable to be considered?
  • What if it got built, but the client made radical changes to save money?
  • What if it got built and the client imposed their sense of style and taste opposite the architect’s?
  • What if the contractor didn’t build it with the quality or detail intended?
  • What if…there’s more to the story than you know?
  • Is it still great or has it been disqualified?

photos are from jfonono’s stock photo gallery on Stock.Xchng (used under the Standard Restrictions)

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great architecture

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