events archive

Is architecture an art?

7:00pm, Monday 22 September 2014, Inn 1888, 21 Devonshire Place Mews, London W1G 6PD

Architecture can be a complex process that often involves teams of designers, engineers and planners. There are multiple explanations for the role of architecture in society, and in the contemporary world, many people see it as a branch of social or health policy - to shape behaviour, ameliorate climate change or create ‘healthy cities’.

In the 1940s the historian Nikolaus Pevsner famously defined the distinction between architecture (as an art-form) and building, as the difference between Lincoln cathedral and a bike shed. But while art exists in the realm of ideas and senses and does not need an instrumental purpose, architecture answers a brief and must perform a function. So can it be judged by the same criteria as art?


Vicky Richardson, Director of Architecture, Design, Fashion at the British Council; and commissioner for the British Pavilion at Venice Architecture Biennale


What is Architecture? (Art?) , Steven Holl, Brooklyn Rail, 2013
Introduction to An Outline of European Architecture, Nikolaus Pevsner, 1943
What is architecture?