What is Good Architecture

This blog is made up of selected comments made on LinkedIn.


What is good Architecture?

Is it timeless, does it enhance the human spirit, does it add value to the clients business, does it improve mankind?


Please understand the difference between Iconic Architecture and Good Architecture. Although Iconic Architecture can also be a good architecture but this discussion is only on what makes a good architecture.


Marty Swiderski starts off the discussion with the question; what is good Architecture? He further questions the notion of “Good Architecture”

Is it timeless?

Does it enhance the human spirit?

Doe it add value to clients’ business?

Does it improve mankind?


Can good architecture be defined from the answers of these 4 questions? Or is there even a definite answer to “What is Good Architecture?”


Carlos Zamudio points out, “The answer to this question is very similar to what you reply to what is good music or any other art. It is partly objective but mainly subjective.”


Marty disagrees about Architecture being subjective, “Architecture is not subjective like Art is in the eyes of the beholder. Good Architecture serves many functions; some functions may be obvious and some functions may be subconscious. Good Architecture is multi-functional and has many dimensions conscious and subconscious. Timeless Architecture serves many years into our life time and into our children’s life time and still looks like it was constructed today.”

There are few things we can learn from Marty’s comment.

FirstlyGood Architecture serves many functions; some functions may be obvious and some functions may be subconscious.”  From this we can derive that Good architecture must serve its purpose. The function of the spaces created should be well executed and well thought. A living room should not be the same size as the toilet. A good architect should be able to design Good functional architectural spaces regardless of the plot size, orientation, shape etc.

Dost Muhammad seems to agree; “A good Architecture is a solution which makes life easy and comfort for living…”

So does Ghazal Alizadeh; “My opinion, good architecture what to give users a sense of security and comfort and convenience.”

Deniz Sevki Kayabay shares the same opinion “GOOD Architecture is the architecture that serves your functional needs with respect, make you feel comfortable and delighted as well as amused…”

Antonio Danel Diaz takes it to another level “Good Architecture is that one that has scale, proportion, harmony and also a bit of surprise and mystery. It should enhance the human spirit. It has to be planned very carefully in every detail, and the people that sees and inhabit it feel and do whatever they are going to do; happily and comfortable and why not, fun and with serenity”.

Secondly “… some functions may be subconscious”. To my understanding subconscious functions are ideas or concepts that have no fixed regulation but is still needed to make a Good architectural product.  As Mark Demmerle explains “Good architecture is about rhythm, hierarchy, scale and, proportion”. So it is not enough that you create a dining room that can fit a dining table fulfilling its purpose. The space must also be scaled to the right size and proportion, rhythm in the interior design and hierarchy in the placement of the rooms.
What about the exterior? As James Matley puts it simply “A building you do not notice because it blends with its environment with respect and harmony.

These two points by Marty can be summarized by Bernard Humphery – Gaskin Good architecture is artistically acceptable to its environment; it’s in harmony with its human needs; and it stirs the soul and elevates the human spirit….”

Third point from Marty is “Timeless Architecture serves many years into our life time and into our children’s life time and still looks like it was constructed today.”  Using sound construction method and materials with the understanding of the environmental factors can help the longevity of the building.

Watson Ng Andu agrees “Good Architecture must stand the test of time.” Although he sees an obstacle “The challenge is that the architectural environment is subject of change whether in urban or natural landscapes, hills, valleys, deserts or coastlines.”

To sum up what Marty was saying, I will quote Natalie Rice “All buildings, according to Vitruvius should have the qualities of firmitas (strength or durability) utilitas (usefulness) and venustas (beauty)”

Firmitatis and utilitatis is objective while venustatis is subjective

Author: Town House Design


One Response to What is Good Architecture

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