While reviewing our google analytics, I noticed that someone made it to our page using the search “architecture is not sculpture”. This is an interesting place to start a discussion.
By itself, the statement “architecture is not sculpture” is true but only so far that the adjacent statement “architecture is not just sculpture” is also true. Architecture is the ultimate in interactive art. The question of whether or not your house, or the library, or some proclaimed master piece is “good” sculpture or art may be the genesis for the comment “architecture is not sculpture” but it does not disqualify it as art. In other words, just because MOST architecture is BAD architecture doe not diminish architecture itself as an art form. It’s just become an art form performed by mediocre to poorly trained artisans…in general (wow, that’s not going garner many friends in my architect circles).
Frank Lloyd Wright proclaimed that architecture is the mother of all art with good reason. It’s really only relatively recently the history of the humanities that architecture wasn’t a meaningful part of the art of an era. In fact, many eras are defined by their architecture. But with the redefinition of “art” and the modern accessibility to architecture the point becomes worthy of a discussion. When the public body of a previously recognized art form diminishes in it’s quality to such an extent, can the art form itself then become reduced to a trade or something less then art?
I think that architecture reflects its society. It informs us of the priorities and sensibilities of it’s clients. Like nearly all artwork in previous centuries, architecture remains an art form that requires patronage. As a result, it becomes a mirror of the patrons. So if you don’t like the architecture of today, may I submit that it’s the result of two causes. One, architects are no longer trained to discover and create beauty, and two, society does not value beauty.