According to WebsterŪs Dictionary, it is 1: the art or science of building, specifically, the art or practice of designing and building structures, especially habitable ones. 2: formation or construction as or as if as the result is a conscious act. 3: architectural product or work. 4: a method or style of building.
Alan Gowans in Styles and Types of North American Architecture: Social Function and Cultural Expression, states that žArchitecture was always about something. Specifically it was about values held by the people who had it built -- their attitudes to life, their assumptions (sometimes conscious, sometimes not) about what is real and what is important.Ó
Architecture was about promoting and reinforcing values. žIt did so by means of forms understood within given societies as visual metaphors of values and thence of the validity of institutions they underlie.Ó
Who Builds Great Buildings?
The great buildings -- be they houses, mansions, or palaces -- have been designed by architects, but most buildings in America have been designed and built by builders with no achitectural training. These builders have sometimes relied on published plans created by architects, but more often they have been built more with their own impressions of these plans.
Innovations and great ideas come from architects. Builders copy those ideas.
The first known American architect, Peter Harrison who designed buildings in the Boston and Newport area in the middle of the 18th Century, had no formal training. He worked from books by and about the works of Wren, Gibbs, and Adam who were busy rebuilding London after the fire in 1666 and participating in the great wealth coming into England thorugh its Empire building of the 18th Century.
Charles Bullfinch ....