Introduction to Architecture
eBook - ePub

Introduction to Architecture

Francis D. K. Ching, James F. Eckler

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eBook - ePub

Introduction to Architecture

Francis D. K. Ching, James F. Eckler

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About This Book

A survey of the built environment distills the work of legendary author and illustrator Francis D. K. Ching into a single volume

Introduction to Architecture presents the essential texts and drawings of Francis D. K. Ching for those new to architecture and design. With his typical highly graphic approach, this is the first introductory text from Ching that surveys the design of spaces, buildings, and cities. In an easy to understand format, readers will explore the histories and theories of architecture, design elements and process, and the technical aspects of the contemporary profession of architecture.

The book explains the experience and practice of architecture and allied disciplines for future professionals, while those who love the beauty of architecture drawing will delight in the gorgeous illustrations included.

  • Overview of the issues and practices of architecture in an all-in-one introductory text
  • Includes new chapters and introductory essays by James Eckler, and features more than 1, 000 drawings throughout
  • Professor Ching is the bestselling author of numerous books on architecture and design, all published by Wiley; his works have been translated into 16 languages and are regarded as classics for their renowned graphical presentation

For those pursuing a career in architecture or anyone who loves architectural design and drawing, Introduction to Architecture presents a beautifully illustrated and comprehensive guide to the subject.

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Object, Space, Building, City

The mother art is architecture.
Without an architecture of our own we have no soul of our own civilization.
— Frank Lloyd Wright

What Is Architecture?

Architecture is a very complex discipline. Most people live their lives in constant contact with architecture. It provides a place to dwell, work, and play. With so much responsibility for determining our experiences, and with such a variety of uses, architecture has too many forms to be precisely categorized. One house is used essentially the same way as any other, but how many different sizes, shapes, or configurations are possible for a house? There is no single correct formula for determining the perfect layout of a house, or any other type of building. At the same time as architecture is indefinite, it also has a responsibility to facilitate specific functions.
Because of the diverse forms architecture can take and the need for it to function in specific ways, it should be considered both an art and a science. It is an artistic discipline that seeks to invent through design. It is also a technical profession that relies on specific techniques of building construction.

Artistic Discipline and Technical Profession

Architects can use almost any techniques for drawing or making models to develop their ideas. However, they must document and communicate those ideas using a universally understood graphic language.

Creative Process and Construction Method

Architects go through many versions of an idea to perfect it. They experiment with different materials and modes of representing their ideas in order to develop them. However, all of the ideas that are layered into the design of a building must be realized using conventional methods of building construction. As the idea develops, it must remain something that is possible to build.

Intuitive and Academic

Many of the architect’s ideas occur spontaneously, or through the act of making a drawing or model. Many also come from study and research and the accumulation of knowledge over time.
The Ancient Greeks called these two sides of architecture episteme and techne. Episteme is the pursuit of knowledge. Techne is a craft or artistic pursuit. To understand architecture one must realize that these two notions are intertwined and are often overlapped in ways that make them interchangeable.
The two parts of architecture are realized through what architects refer to as “the design process.” The design process is the series of steps that are taken to develop a building from initial idea through the final proposal. While designing, architects must continually move back and forth between the creative act of architecture and the technical understanding of how a building is built.


Architectural episteme lies in the inquiry that is intrinsic to the design process. In the design process many questions are asked. Those questions define the problem that a design is meant to solve. To answer these questions, the architect must rely on a body of knowledge to inform design decisions. In designing a building, the architect tries many different versions of an idea in order to test and refine it. Through this process, new ideas can be generated as discoveries are made—many of which are unexpected but can still be traced to a fundamental knowledge of architecture and its contributing disciplines.
The following are aspects of architecture that refer to a pursuit of knowledge.
  • History
  • Theory
  • Human behavior
  • Human perception


Architectural techne lies in the craft of building and the application of technique in design. It is the art and craft of building. In the design process, discoveries are made through the act of making. The architect must know how to draw and represent an idea before he or she can see if it adequately solves the design problem. Different techniques for representing an idea can allow the architect to investigate it in a variety of ways and better understand how it works. Additionally, an understanding of construction techniques and technologies can yield a more feasible building at the end of this process.
The following are elements of architecture that refer craft or technique:
  • Construction methods
  • Material attributes
  • Building technology
  • Representation and communication (through drawing or model)

Design Thinking

Taken together, these qualities of architecture inform design thinking. They define the way an architect generates ideas for a building. They also provide the architect with the tools necessary for design in a more general sense of the word. The priority of architecture is habitation—a design of the way people will occupy and use an environment. This has a broad range of applications that demand that the architect design at a variety of scales—from the size...

Table of contents

  1. Cover
  2. Title page
  3. Copyright page
  4. Preface
  5. 1: Introduction: Object, Space, Building, City
  6. 2: The Beginnings of Architecture: Early History— from Ancient Times to the Renaissance
  7. 3: A Concise History: Architecture from the Renaissance to the Contemporary
  8. 4: Fundamentals of Architecture: Form
  9. 5: Fundamentals of Architecture: Space
  10. 6: Fundamentals of Architecture: Order
  11. 7: Elements of Architecture: Types, Systems, and Components That Inform Design
  12. 8: The Design Process: Tools and Techniques for Generating Ideas
  13. 9: Materials of Architecture: Their Qualities, Characteristics, and Behaviors
  14. 10: Methods of Construction: What Are the Implications of Construction Methods on Architectural Design?
  15. 11: Building Structure: Resisting the Forces That Act against Buildings
  16. 12: Building Systems: How Do Buildings Work?
  17. 13: Architectural Practice and Communication: What Are the Responsibilities of a Professional Architect?
  18. 14: Allied Disciplines: Interior Design
  19. 15: Allied Disciplines: Urbanism
  20. Glossary
  21. Index
  22. End User License Agreement
Citation styles for Introduction to Architecture

APA 6 Citation

Ching, F., & Eckler, J. (2012). Introduction to Architecture (1st ed.). Wiley. Retrieved from (Original work published 2012)

Chicago Citation

Ching, Francis, and James Eckler. (2012) 2012. Introduction to Architecture. 1st ed. Wiley.

Harvard Citation

Ching, F. and Eckler, J. (2012) Introduction to Architecture. 1st edn. Wiley. Available at: (Accessed: 14 October 2022).

MLA 7 Citation

Ching, Francis, and James Eckler. Introduction to Architecture. 1st ed. Wiley, 2012. Web. 14 Oct. 2022.