Architecture is the art and science of designing structures that organize and enclose space for practical and symbolic purposes. Because architecture grows out of human needs and aspirations, it clearly communicates cultural values. Of all the visual arts, architecture affects our lives most directly for it determines the character of the human environment in major ways.
Architecture is a three-dimensional form. It utilizes space, mass, texture, line, light, and color. To be architecture, a building must achieve a working harmony with a variety of elements. Humans instinctively seek structures that will shelter and enhance their way of life. It is the work of architects to create buildings that are not simply constructions but also offer inspiration and delight. Buildings contribute to human life when they provide shelter, enrich space, complement their site, suit the climate, and are economically feasible. The client who pays for the building and defines its function is an important member of the architectural team. The mediocre design of many contemporary buildings can be traced to both clients and architects.
In order for the structure to achieve the size and strength necessary to meet its purpose, architecture employs methods of support that, because they are based on physical laws, have changed little since people first discovered them—even while building materials have changed dramatically. The world’s architectural structures have also been devised in relation to the objective limitations of materials. Structures can be analyzed in terms of how they deal with downward forces created by gravity. They are designed to withstand the forces of compression (pushing together), tension (pulling apart), bending, or a combination of these in different parts of the structure.
Even development in architecture has been the result of major technological changes. Materials and methods of construction are integral parts of the design of architecture structures. In earlier times it was necessary to design structural systems suitable for the materials that were available, such as wood, stone, brick. Today technology has progressed to the point where it is possible to invent new building materials to suit the type of structure desired. Enormous changes in materials and techniques of construction within the last few generations have made it possible to enclose space with much greater ease and speed and with a minimum of material. Progress in this area can be measured by the difference in weight between buildings built now and those of comparable size built one hundred years ago.
Modern architectural forms generally have three separate components comparable to elements of the human body: a supporting skeleton or frame, an outer skin enclosing the interior spaces, and equipment, similar to the body’s vital organs and systems. The equipment includes plumbing, electrical wiring, hot water, and air-conditioning. Of course in early architecture—such as igloos and adobe structures—there was no such equipment, and the skeleton and skin were often one.
Much of the world’s great architecture has been constructed of stone because of its beauty, permanence, and availability. In the past, whole cities grew from the arduous task of cutting and piling stone upon. Some of the world’s finest stone architecture can be seen in the ruins of the ancient Inca city of Machu Picchu high in the eastern Andes Mountains of Peru. The doorways and windows are made possible by placing over the open spaces thick stone beams that support the weight from above. A structural invention had to be made before the physical limitations of stone could be overcome and new architectural forms could be created. That invention was the arch, a curved structure originally made of separate stone or brick segments. The arch was used by the early cultures of the Mediterranean area chiefly for underground drains, but it was the Romans who first developed and used the arch extensively in aboveground structures. Roman builders perfected the semicircular arch made of separate blocks of stone. As a method of spanning space, the arch can support greater weight than a horizontal beam. It works in compression to divert the weight above it out to the sides, where the weight is borne by the vertical elements on either side of the arch. The arch is among the many important structural breakthroughs that have characterized architecture throughout the centuries.
建筑是一门出于实用和象征的双重目的，通过组织和利用空间来实现设计结构的艺术和科学。。因为建筑源于人类的需求和愿望，同样也可以清楚地传达文化价值。在所有的视觉艺术中，建筑最直接地影响了我们的生活，因为它在很多方面决定了我们生存的环境特征。 建筑是一种利用空间、质量、纹理、线条、光线和颜色的三维立体形式。一幢建筑物必须实现各种要素的和谐搭配。人类本能地希望可以提供居住并且改善他们生活质量的建筑。建筑师们创造出来的建筑物不单纯的是建筑物，还为人们带来了灵感和喜悦。建筑物为人类的生活提供了遮蔽处和丰富的空间、增加人们的活动场所、完善人们的居所、帮助人们适应气候的变化，同时在经济上也可承受。建筑团队中，最重要的是那些为建筑支付建设费用并且设计其功能的人，许多当代建筑平庸的根源在于客户和建筑师双反。 为了达到建筑的目的，一定的大小和强度是必须的。尽管建筑材料已经发生了翻天覆地的变化，建筑采用的各种支撑方法自从人们发现它们以来鲜有改变，因为这些方法都建立在物理定律的基础上。世界的建筑结构也因为克服材料限制的目的而发展起来。建筑师们在设计建筑结构的时候需要将重力对材料的影响考虑在内，通过结构设计使建筑不同部分能抵抗压力、拉力、弯曲力或混合的压力。 甚至建筑的发展也是由重大的技术变革造成的。材料和建设方法是建筑结构设计整体的组成部分。早期，人们必须设计结构系统来配合当前可用的材料，如木头、石头和砖。现今的技术已经发展到能够创造新的建筑材料来适应想要应用的建筑结构。近几代建筑材料和科技的巨大变化使得包围空间更加简单、快速，并且用更少的材料。在这一领域的进步可以用现在修建的建筑和100年前建造的同规模建筑之间的重量差异来衡量。 类似人类的身体结构，现代建筑可以划分为三个独立的部分：支撑骨架或框架、围住内部空间的外壳以及像人体内器官一样重要的设施。这些设施包括管道、电线、热水和空调。当然，在早期的圆顶建筑和土坯建筑中并没有这样的设施，皮肤和骨骼也往往是合在一起的。 世界上大多数伟大的建筑都是石料建筑，因为石料建筑不仅外形漂亮、持久耐用，而且石头随处可得。在过去，整个城市的建筑物都是从艰苦的石块切割和堆砌发展起来的。在秘鲁安第斯山脉东部的马丘比丘印加古城遗址，可以看到世界上最棒的石质建筑。在开阔的空间上放置厚石板来支撑上面的石头，使门和窗的修建成为可能。设计师们必须在克服石头的物理限制以及新建筑形式发展之前发明出建筑结构，这就是拱形结构，即最初由分段的石头或砖块构成的弧形结构。拱最初在地中海早期文化中用来建设地下水渠，但古罗马人最先开发和广泛的利用它作为地上建筑的结构，他们完善了由分段的石块组成的半圆形拱。作为跨越空间的一种方式，拱可以比水平横梁支撑更大的重量。它使得其上的压力转移到两侧，由两侧垂直的部分来承担压力。拱形结构只是近百年来众多重要建筑结构的突破之一。
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