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Architecture Research Guide

modern apartment building
Assembled Units, Habitat 67 Montreal by Moshe Safdie
Photo by Hanaa Dahy

What is Architecture?

UMass Lowell trains many engineers. It may appear that the concerns of architects and engineers are different, but engineers can be assured of one thing: architects can not do their jobs without engineers. A good engineer will want to understand the architectural purpose; what is the architects goal? And to build her spectacular skyscraper an architect needs knowledge of aesthetics, materials, space, and a good engineer.

The Encyclopedia Britannica defines architecture:

"The characteristics that distinguish a work of architecture from other built structures are 
❖the suitability of the work to 
use by human beings in general and the adaptability of it to particular human activities, 
❖the stability and permanence of the work’s construction, 
❖the communication of experience and ideas through its form."


The room in which you are reading these words is a work of architecture. Architecture is all around us whether we are aware of it or not. 

What can buildings from the past tell us? How were resources allocated, and for what purposes, through history? What does this tell us about the historical period in which the building was built?

These and other questions are part of the study of architecture.