Architecture: beyond art & science

Is architecture and art or a science? As Bill Hillier has argued, this is the wrong question. In fact it’s a silly question. Architecture is both art and science. He argues that architecture is total art and total science. In fact it’s more, because architecture engages with the everyday and the everyday is social, environmental and economic too.

Should buildings be modernist or postmodernist? Which school of thinking should be followed? More silly questions. Reality is plural. It is an unfortunate and seemingly unshakeable characteristic of architectural education that we are taught to categorise and then select. This must be a trait passed down from the compartmentalising minds of 19th century museum curators. Everything in its place.

The trouble is, while places are mostly fixed, their contents are not. People get up and move around: meet, interact, exchange and move on.

This is all too messy for some. So, they leave the social, the environmental and the economic out of it and join battle instead between art and science. Much easier to live like that. Just unfortunately wrong.

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