Building Basics: Architecture 101
Buildings form an important part of our lives. We live in them, work in them, and even go to school in them. But in many cases, we do not think twice about how these buildings came to be developed. Individuals who are interested in learning more about the buildings in which we live may want to devote some time to the study of architecture. Understanding architectural practice, structural terms, professions in architecture, and famous architectural sites may be beneficial for individuals interested in the study of architecture.
What is Architecture?
Before one can delve into the field of architecture, it is important to learn more about its general concept. Traditionally, architecture is defined as the art and practice by which buildings are designed and constructed. While architecture is often considered to be focused on the construction of private homes, it is also used in the development of office buildings, churches, and museums. In addition, architecture may focus on the creation of bridges, highways, and other similar public works.
Having a basic understanding of the most important architectural practices is also important for individuals who are interested in learning more about this fascinating topic. When it comes to designing a specific structure, most architects start with a drawing, which is the technical representation of the facility to be built. Traditionally, drawings are done to communicate ideas, concepts, or to make a record of a building that is already in place. In addition, architects must participate in significant amounts of planning, where they identify what exactly will be built, torn-down, or re-designed. Once plans have been completed, a blueprint--which is a detailed, to-scale drawing of the final site design--is created. Finally, before construction can begin, architects must typically identify any relevant building codes, which could dramatically influence architecture style or building capabilities.
Basic Architectural and Structural Terms
There are a number of important structural terms that are important for individuals interested in learning more about architecture.
Arch- a curved, symmetrical structure that covers an opening and is often used to support the weight of a wall, roof, or bridge.
Column- an upright pillar that is often made from stone or concrete, which may be used to support an arch or roof.
Trusses- framework composed of struts, posts, and rafters, which may support a roof, bridge, or other similar structure.
Beam- a long, sturdy piece of wood or metal that may span the ceiling of a room, may also be used in the creation of trusses.
Domes- rounded, circular vaults that may form the ceiling of a building.
Eaves- part of the roof which forms the overhang.
Gables- the enclosed ends of a pitched roof.
Professions in Architecture
There are a number of career options available for individuals interested in working in the field of architecture. Some of the career options available in the field include architectural technicians, builders, and architectural drafters. Architectural technicians will review specifications and adjust designs based on any changes to projects. Technicians work alongside architects. Another option in the field of architecture is an architectural drafter. Drafters work to create drawing for potential structures after meeting with project engineers and architects. Drafters will verify measurements and produce sketches. There are a number of options available for those looking to work in the field of architecture.
There are a number of historically important architectural sites around the world. Some of the most well-known include the Eiffel Tower, Taj Mahal, and Vatican. In addition, the Colosseum, White House, and London Bridge are considered by many historical to be classic pieces of architecture. Individuals who are interested in learning more about architecture can often do so by studying these classic buildings.
- Understanding Architecture --Describes the history of architecture and some important concepts.
- Illustrated Architecture Dictionary--Dictionary of architecture that contains both images and written descriptions.
- Architectural Terms--Discusses terms that are essential for individuals interested in learning more about architecture.
- The Architecture Week Great Building Collections--Highlights some of the most famous architectural sites around the world.
- Architecture Professions: Overview of the Architecture Related Careers--Identifies some of the most popular architecture related careers.
- American Institute of Architects--Resources and information for individuals interested in pursuing a career in architecture.
- The Eiffel Tower, 1889 --Discusses the history and architecture of the Eiffel Tower.