Art – chitecture
“There are three forms of visual art: painting is art to look at, sculpture is art you walk around, and architecture is art you can walk through.” – Dan Rice
I’ve always thought of art and architecture as two separate things, never really seeing the connection between the two seeing as I don’t come from the conventional artistic background. With my newfound interest in the different types of art, I’ve come to realize that the two are intertwined in more than ways than one. What makes a piece of art, like a painting, visually satisfying are size, scale, texture, and value – all formal elements contributing to the artwork’s meaning. All that is also true regarding architecture except that the piece of art is specific to a building — same same, but different!
Both art and architecture are created using almost the same principles, elements, and engagement of the senses. The artist visually expresses a complex set of ideas into shapes while the audience receives that expression. The difference is that architects create livable or usable spaces which has led to many saying that it’s not as pure an art form as, say, sculpture.
The best examples of the union between art and architecture lie in some of history’s most famous artworks. Michelangelo, famous for his painting of the Sistine Chapel ceiling, also designed the St. Peter’s Basilica. Antoni Gaudi, the architect who designed the Sagrada Familia in Spain, had a unique style which was influenced by neo-Gothic art and defined by, but not limited to, vivid colors and textures, nature, and religious imagery. Le Corbusier’s Notre Dame du Haut, one of the 20th century’s most important buildings, was “bound to old architectural notions, particularly to Romanesque and Gothic art”.
Not only are art and architecture deeply connected, but there is an endless number of examples to prove how art enhances architecture! Art and architecture can coexist in one of two way: either additive art or integrated art. Additive art is when the artwork is “added’ after the project’s completion, which is ideally done during the planning stages to consider where different pieces of art will go. In this case, the architecture is creating the space for art. Integrated art is when the art is part of the architecture, which means it must be done during the earliest stages of planning. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Communal Hospital structure in Los Angeles, California is a great example of integrated art with the artist’s installation being the main feature in the façade.
Ultimately, whether architecture’s purpose is to organize space or create beauty, whether it’s an art or a science, is continuously up for discussion. It’s interesting to note that the Roya Institute of British Architects reclassified Architecture as a science in 1958, before which it was mostly taught in art schools. Technology plays a role in the matter, with computers doing most of the heavy lifting leaving architects not really “drawing” which sways the debate of “is architecture art?” into a clear direction. For me, art-chitecture is how I like to call the intertwined nature of both – patent pending!
“Architecture is intended to transcend the simple need for shelter and security by becoming an expression of artistry.” – Jay A. Pritzker, founder of the Pritzker Prize