chapter  50
14 Pages



What is architecture? And in what way, peculiar to architecture, does it engender aesthetic understanding? Attempts to answer the first of these questions generally begin from the position that architecture is built form (or inhabitable space) and then add some further quality that a work must have to provide it with a status that is above and beyond mere building. The thought is that architecture is a status that is conferred upon some, but not all, buildings. So, for instance, it might be thought that symbolism is one possible candidate (among others) for the required additional feature. Thus, ‘architecture is symbolic building,’ would provide a definition of architecture whereby the presence of symbolism is thought to lift architecture out of the realm of meager utility. The second question then arises concerning the nature of whatever the defining addendum is supposed to be, and the role it plays in our aesthetic appreciation.