The practice of architecture, broadly speaking, is the planning, designing and constructing of buildings to a specified brief and for a specific purpose. It is the skill of taking into account space, form, and ambience in order to respond to requirements of function, as well as technical, social, financial, aesthetic and environmental aspects.
The word is now used to refer simply to the design and appearance of a building, and has also been adopted in electronic and computer programming.

Architecture through History
The concept of architecture amongst humankind can be traced back to about 10,000 BC, if not before – that is to say, our ancestors were already thinking about the function of built structures over 12,000 years ago, and soon after that they started thinking about the aesthetics of them, too.
In the 1st century AD, the Roman architect Vitruvius set out in a document that a good building should be durable, useful and beautiful, and any architect worth his salt should strive to achieve the balance of all three. This sensible approach has mostly stood the test of time – despite opposing ideas emerging over the centuries, notably in the 19th century: art critic Ruskin’s belief was that aesthetics should override all else, and the father of the skyscraper Sullivan’s view was that “form follows function”.
In fact, humankind places such importance in architecture, and holds it so close to its heart, that its true definition provokes intense debate that covers the fields of science, sociology, art, and even philosophy.

Studying Architecture
To study architecture, you will need 100% dedication, a good technical mind, the ability to strongly argue your case, but you will be rewarded with variety and pride. All in all, you’ll need to set aside around 7 years to become a fully trained and employable architect.

Work as an Architect
Once a company has taken you on, you’ll be worked very hard for a long time and with little reward. Those who do make it tend to make it big. Many disillusioned architects believe that the profession is becoming obsolete, thanks to advances in technology and decisions being made higher and higher up the chain of command.

Architecture in Everyday Life
Take a walk around your town or nearest city, and open your eyes. You’ll see evidence of architecture everywhere – in the shopping mall where you buy your soda, in the opera house, the museum, the underground bicycle park, in the new ‘green’ offices, even in the town planning of the roads and pedestrian crossings. Not much that you see will have been an accident, and that goes for every decade, every century. Try looking around for different styles, and try to work out which century they originated in. You’ll be inspired, no doubt – but also, you’ll be awed as you take in the history and imagine the great minds that thought up all you can see. Architecture’s not a profession for everyone – but it’s certainly there for everyone’s benefit.

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