Get Instant Help From 5000+ Experts For

Writing: Get your essay and assignment written from scratch by PhD expert

Rewriting: Paraphrase or rewrite your friend's essay with similar meaning at reduced cost

Editing:Proofread your work by experts and improve grade at Lowest cost

And Improve Your Grades
Phone no. Missing!

Enter phone no. to receive critical updates and urgent messages !

Attach file

Error goes here

Files Missing!

Please upload all relevant files for quick & complete assistance.

Guaranteed Higher Grade!
Free Quote
Architecture as an Art Form: Understanding the Existence of Architecture

What is Architecture?

In lecture one, we said that architecture borrows theories from the past, from areas that can be used to understand and interpret architecture as an entity; a built, experienced and lived-in thing.  In this sense one of the most fruitful ways of understanding architecture has been to examine the existence of architecture as an art form.

It is often said that architecture is primarily an Art, which implies that it is not a scientific Endeavour.  While such claims take the position that art is an opposition to science, some also define Architecture as the art and science of building, meaning that Architecture involves both logical (scientific) and emotional (artistic) thinking. When one says that architecture is primarily an art, what is implied is that in fact, its process of production is similar to that of the other arts and that its products can be seen also as ‘artefacts’. Use of the analogy of Art to understand Architecture has many limitations but is most certainly a fruitful one, as long as we do not get entangled in the definition of Art itself. 
If we take the general interpretation of art as the way of doing things driven by passion and emotion rather than by reason and logic, many things can be considered as potential art forms. We can talk of the art of conversation, the art of gardening etc. in this manner. But what we have commonly come to consider as art are those particular kinds of activities that are predominantly and almost always done with passion and emotion and not otherwise. So we count a number of activities as ‘ART’, requiring artistic talent and skills. Music, Sculpture, Painting, Drama etc. fall into this category and when one says that Architecture is an Art, indeed one is making a comparison with the category of art that belongs to such acts as music and painting. As Le Corbusier once said that ‘Architecture is Frozen Music’ and as Frank Lloyd Wright once said that to ‘create architecture is to create drama out of inert stone’, architecture can be seen and examined as an art form.

If we take the common and popular forms of art such as music, paintings, and sculpture for a comparison with Architecture, we begin to see a great deal of commonality between these two kinds of activities very soon. However, Architecture is a specific art form and therefore has its own characteristics and dimensions that are specific to itself, and therefore cannot be exacted with any other art form. In fact, this is true of all art forms be it music, painting. Literature, drama, performances etc.  Each of these art forms, while being similar in many ways have their own specific characteristics.  Nevertheless, we can make general comparisons between these art forms and architecture so that we understand the similarities and differences better.

Architecture as an Art Form

In order  to make this comparison, it is perhapss necessary to construct a view of Art itself, so that we understand how art comes into being and how Art exists as an Art form. In an answer to the question, where does Art exist?, I have found the following explanation the most exciting and inspiring.

2.2    Art: An Interpretation

When we ask the question, where does Art exist? we come across the fundamental question of what is art, in order to know, discover and recognize where it exists. If art is something different from what we see in the everyday world, we must be able to describe some particular characteristics that will help us distinguish such things as Art different from the other things. 
First, let us look at objects and try and understand if we can find any descriptions of object-characteristics distinguishing them. We have chairs, tables, computers and filing cabinets in our offices. We have cookers, pots, fridges, beds etc. etc. in our houses. We have pens, pencils, erasers, books, bags, etc. etc. in our rooms. We wear clothes, shoes bangles, ear rings etc. Are these art objects or not?. Well, if we start from the first parts of our list; chairs tables filing cabinets computers etc., we hardly look at them as art objects on an everyday basis. On the other hand, we do consider the jewellary, the hand bags, the earrings, and the bangles as some kind of art objects. We do recognize a ‘quality’ in the latter more than their utilitarian value. In the former, we see more of the utility value. In fact, if we look at them more closely however, we realize that they are all ‘Art-Objects’.
There are many things that we do not consider as art in everyday life. This is because they have significant utilitarian values. We use them to get things done; cookers to cook, the fridges to keep food cold etc. etc.  We use the jewellary as well. But then we use them for ornamentation; to generate what we call ‘beauty’; to excite the aesthetic senses, and to communicate subtle values of aesthetic sensitivity, class, sense of belonging to one culture or another etc. In essence however, all objects are art-objects. This is why Coomaraswamy said “everything is art and that everyone is an artist”        

In everyday life, we do not call them all Art, nor do we see them in this way. We keep most of the everyday objects away from our category of Art. Nevertheless, they all have the characteristics of Art. We may call them ‘Utilitarian Arts’. In the arts that we recognize as ‘art’, we look for less utilitarian value and more of aesthetic and emotional value. This is why all of a sudden we may have ‘antiques’, the furniture and other objects of the old times become great pieces of Art. In other words, for something to become ‘great art’, it should acquire the characteristics that can initiate in the people, a sense of aesthetic value; cherished, and treasured by the values of the society in which it exists. 

Architecture and Other Art Forms

Thus, any object can become a great piece of Art. The old, broken chair in your store room can suddenly become a great piece of Art! For that matter anything. So where does art exist. This is an interesting question.

To illustrate this point, let me take the case of a clay pot; a insignificant utilitarian object. We know clay pots that exist in all peasant dwellings of poor rural villages around the world.

Imagine in a remote village, say somewhere in India, there is this clay-pot that is used to collect water. It is no great piece of art. Its shape is common, it’s inexpensive to make, and it lies in the kitchen. Then, imagine some ones who visits this village form outside, comes across this pot, and suddenly feels that it has a great shape; a wonderful proportion; he likes it. And then he will take it away. He will take it away and keep it in his living room, dramatically placed in the midst of well- defined space; it will begin to adorn the living room. The visitors will admire this; the owner will cherish this as a valuable belonging. It will remind him of the Indian village, the innocence of its people, and the great sense of feeling he had in encountering it. The pot has become a great piece of Art!. 
So where did the art exist?
We might conclude from this story that the Art existed in the man who picked up the pot. It is he who recognized it. Isn’t it?. For the poor peasants in the Indian Village, there was no art in this object. Yes, this is partly true. Art is in the person experiencing it. Or some kind of a component of ‘Art’ should exist in the person. But then, there is no way that he could discover it unless it also existed in the object. So we may say that the characteristics to generate the ‘art’ existed also in the object. 

In fact, it is in the meeting of these ‘potentials’ that were partly in the object and partly in the person that art comes in to life. This view of Art seems s to offer us a great deal of understanding as to how art comes into being and the nature of art. 
We use the term ‘Artifact’ to refer to such objects that has the potential to become - to be discovered as art. People, those have the skills and the sensitivity to be kindled by such artifacts, we may call them artistic-minded. In other words, for ‘art’ to come in to being there are two fundamental resources needed.  The first is entities that have the potential characteristics to generate aesthetic and emotional sensation in people. At the same time, people who have the skills and the emotional sensitivity of mind to recognize and be kindled by such enteritis. When the two meet, and unite generating a ‘feeling’ that ‘touches’ the heart and elevates that persons being; yes, art comes into being. 

Understanding Art

This interpretation can be extended to all forms of art. Sarachchandra writing on the nature of Drama says, that the Drama as an art does not exist anywhere in reality. As he says, it comes into being momentarily. Imagine Shakespeare’s great drama Macbeth. When we read the written book on this drama, does it come in to being. Well it does not. Imagine, a group of performers rehearse this on a stage without the audience. Does the drama exist there? No it does not. Imagine that it is played into a packed audience, who do not understand a thing about the drama. The audience does not recognize the nuances of the satire and gestures and thus remain unaffected by the performance. Does the drama come into being? No it does not. In fact, it is when and only when that the performers perform well, and that the audience unites with the totality of the experience that is generated by the performance that drama comes in to life elevating both the performer and the audience in both mind and spirit. There, drama comes into being. 
Art is born.

This unification, this coming together of the minds and spirits is what we may call ‘the great art’; the art that we cherish and treasure. The Art that we believe expresses and elevates the culture and civilization. The Art that is so unique to the nature of being human. This is no easy task.

At the core of this exercise, the artist producing the artifacts, and a person encountering the artifact and being awakened by its presence of  ‘art- potential’, there is a process of communication; a process that is generated in the hearts and minds of the artist and reaching the hearts and minds of the people; the audience. Ideas, concepts, feelings, emotions, values, meanings and messages are transferred through and shared between the artist and the people through the artifacts, which we may generally call ‘the Art’.  
The ways in which this is done in different forms of art are different. They employ different techniques, modes and methods, and therefore communicate different forms of ideas. In most art forms however, popular and common themes have always existed and continue to exist. Human society is ‘touched’, and want to be touched by certain emotions and feelings over and over and these have made up the popular themes of many forms of Art across the world. 

The Existence of Art

For example, it is so common to find, popular concepts in music to comprise of Love and its varying facets in all cultures and in all times across the world. Teenage, parental, marital, and patriotic love have always fascinated both artists and people alike. Many forms of art employ themes related to religious, communal,  and cultural affiliations. Fascinations about Nature and worldly things, remorse and lament of loss, National feelings, pride, collectivism, Humanity in general, and  personal sufferings ‘move’ the people emotionally so much that they produce objects and entities to express those feelings. Those artifacts when available to be shared by others become great pieces of Art.                 

Perhaps, the focus on music offers us the opportunity to relate and understand the way of the ‘Art’ better and closer to Architecture. Music, is a composing of lyrics, voice and style of singing, and rhythmic sounds to generate an aesthetic sensation through the aural media. Sometimes they could be associated with scenery, people and action and acquire techniques of the visual media as well. It’s essential rudimentary element however is sound, and its in the articulation of sound that Music is born.  

It is not sufficient to say that composing sounds in one way or another generates Music.  We can tap the table ourselves in chaotic ways and make sound. But they do not create music. The sounds so generated and composed should create emotions, which can be interpreted, and understood. In other words, people should be able to relate to them and make sense of them. To begin with, there must be some order in the sounds; we call this beat and rhythm. Then there must be some variety if this rhythm. Different beats and different rhythms and different sounds are as essential basic aspects of such sound as sound itself. Such rhythmic sounds can make meanings; a composition of ideas and concepts that the listeners can understand.  We call this articulation. Themes are communicated in this way; by means of particular sounds or words and lyrics which already possess connotations and nuances of emotions. In a way, music is made to communicate such subtle nuances of meanings rather than make statements. Sounds can be composed to make slogans, statements or speeches. The threshold of the Art of these is indeed dependant on the way in which it is done and how they generate the subtle, powerful passion and emotion, available through the media. 

There are in fact, essential rudimentary characteristics of composing that is necessary for art, whether it is music, painting or otherwise. These are well known and often discussed under different subject matter, as “Basic Design Theory”, or as Fundamentals of Art.  They relate to the concepts of rhythm and rhyme, order and harmony, variety, scale, proportion, balance, and indeed composition. We will examine these in detail, as they relate to architecture later. But what is most significant to understand is that they are so common to all art forms and particular art-forms depend on particular aspects of this nature and not necessarily all.

So if Art is in this way, how do we see Architecture as an Art? 

sales chat
sales chat