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Architecture (Latin , from the Greek arkhitekton "architect", from "chief" and "builder") is both the process and the product of planning, designing, and constructing buildings and other physical structures. Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural symbols and as works of art. Historical civilizations are often identified with their surviving architectural achievements.
"Architecture" can mean:
Architecture has to do with planning and designing form, space and ambience to reflect functional, technical, social, environmental, and aesthetic considerations. It requires the creative manipulation and coordination of materials and technology, and of light and shadow. Often, conflicting requirements must be resolved. The practice of architecture also encompasses the pragmatic aspects of realizing buildings and structures, including scheduling, cost estimation and construction administration. Documentation produced by architects, typically drawings, plans and technical specifications, defines the structure and/or behavior of a building or other kind of system that is to be or has been constructed.
The word "architecture" has also been adopted to describe other designed systems, especially in information technology.
The earliest surviving written work on the subject of architecture is De architectura, by the Roman architect Vitruvius in the early 1st century AD. According to Vitruvius, a good building should satisfy the three principles of firmitas, utilitas, venustas, commonly known by the original translation – firmness, commodity and delight. An equivalent in modern English would be:
According to Vitruvius, the architect should strive to fulfill each of these three attributes as well as possible. Leon Battista Alberti, who elaborates on the ideas of Vitruvius in his treatise, De Re Aedificatoria, saw beauty primarily as a matter of proportion, although ornament also played a part. For Alberti, the rules of proportion were those that governed the idealised human figure, the Golden mean.
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