Many people, especially young students looking at becoming architects and enrolling in an architecture school, often wonder if architecture is an art form.
Can they call themselves artists, without too much pretension?
A large number of architects will probably agree that those who create or design buildings are certainly not artists, at least not in the traditional sense. However, whatever they create are akin to paintings on a very large canvas. Buildings have some limitations; the number one need is to be practical. They need to conform to measurements and standards established by the laws of physics and regulatory entities.
In fact, architecture is sometimes considered a form of science. Spatial awareness, math, and logic are all involved and once you have mastered all these abilities, you are able to be more creative with the designs of your buildings. It is also up to the public to determine whether a building is art - or not so much.
To some people, art is anything that can convey an emotion. There are many buildings that can make a person feel emotional, as soon as people set their eyes on them.
For instance, the Louvre is said to be energetic and beautiful, not because of the lighting and the content, but due to the shape of the building. The reason a building exists, can also add to its perception and luster. As soon as you step into the museum, you don’t want to leave. On the other hand, there are buildings you enter that make you want to spin on your heels and leave immediately.
Many architects treat architecture as art, as they feel that by integrating art pieces into architecture, it tends to make their work richer. Some architects believe that architecture is stand-alone art, and an argument can certainly be made for that stance. Architecture is functional, whereas art is mostly about visual aesthetics and philosophy. Unlike architecture, art is not often thought of as functional and art certainly does not need to be useful on a daily basis, like many people feel about architecture. But that doesn’t mean they are mutually exclusive, either.
If you are interested in studying architecture, speak to as many professional architects as you can. Get an idea of hard it might be or other areas in which you need expertise – municipal law for example. As them the art question and how they view themselves and the world of architects. It’s a fairly small one, but with 1,000s of new buildings being built every year, obviously influential.
One more thing to keep in mind; art is often thought of as fleeting but buildings are meant to last.