Architecture – art or technology?

From a legal point of view, one may wonder whether an attempt to define the concept of architecture, which is a field of science and art, will be helpful when trying to grapple with the legal concept of an architectural work. In my opinion, however, being aware of the difficulties we will encounter when trying to describe architecture (as discussed in today’s post) is not so much helpful as necessary to fully understand the special nature of an architectural work in legal terms.

If we search well, we will find thousands of definitions of architecture. They differ from one another, depending on who, when and for what purpose formulated them.

Linguists try to derive the term architecture from the Greek word “architect,” meaning chief builder. Simple? Well, simple. And simple is supposedly good.

Sociologists have developed numerous definitions treating architecture as a tool – political, allowing the dialogue between the public and the individual, economic, or symbolic. There must be something in it.

A very popular definition in the 19th century defines architecture as the art of shaping space. On the other hand, architecture can be seen as the art of limiting space, marking out boundaries between what is internal and external, private and public, accessible and inaccessible.

Architecture is described as the science and art of designing, constructing and constructing buildings and other spatial structures. This description appears in many foreign language dictionaries (the art and science of designing and erecting buildings, open areas, communities, and other artificial constructions and environments) and seems to be the most popular definition.

Finally, architecture is not limited to buildings, but applies to all objects. Interior architecture is distinguished. The planning of space on the scale of geographical or administrative regions, the shaping of landscapes, or finally the planning of cities and neighborhoods, i.e. urban planning, are considered to belong to architecture.

We will eventually come to the conclusion that due to the number of different definitions, the concept of architecture in absolute terms has become undefinable. Probably it is really so, because the holistic difficult word approach to architecture would have to be limited to the statement that it consists in creative spatial phenomena caused by man. However, such a definition and this general way of looking at architecture will not be useful in any way.

However, the problem with finding or constructing an absolute definition of architecture does not mean that we cannot formulate a definition of architecture useful for a specific purpose. Today’s purpose is to try to define the scope of the legal concept of an architectural work, so that you will know what I mean when I write about copyright in architecture.

Undoubtedly, architecture is a field of science and technology. Architects must be equipped with the knowledge of construction, building, material science, physics, erection techniques and much more, which is essential in the creation of architectural works. This matter is an important part of the education of architecture students at universities and colleges.

Architecture is at the same time a branch of art. Since ancient times the goal set before creators was that architectural objects should affect people, hitting their sense of beauty, and aesthetic elements of created works have always been an important part of them. The styles of architecture have changed over the centuries. Objects with exceptional artistic qualities are part of the cultural heritage and are considered masterpieces.

Of course, not every architectural work will be considered a masterpiece, and not every work of art will be considered a masterpiece. Judging which works of art are highly artistic has been, is, and probably always will be a topic of discussion and a source of controversy, but the same is true of all other arts. Such assessment will never be fully objective, because it cannot be, as it depends on the subjective view of the assessor and his/her individual sense of beauty.

Creators of architectural works, so mainly architects, but not only, should be considered as artists, despite the opposition of part of the architectural community. It seems, however, that one may be tempted to say that for most architects architecture is a language of expression and artistic expression, just as for a painter a painting, and for a poet a poem. In their projects architects usually try to contain an idea and create them in their characteristic style.

Architecture is closely related to the creative work of people, mainly the activity of architects. This one involves the design of building structures, which are then to be realized. The rule is that these objects are to be created in a particular space, i.e. in a particular place, and they are designed from this angle. The creators do not limit themselves to the object itself, but they also organize the space in its surroundings so that as a whole they fulfil the tasks set before them.

To sum up, architecture should be considered as a science (technique, construction) and art (aesthetic elements) of creating projects and erecting objects based on them, taking into consideration the features of the place (space), time and needs of future users, characterized by usable character (functional elements). In turn, the results of this work are architectural works, protected by copyright.

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James Dennis