Introduction to History of Architecture
The Study of Architecture History. Architectural history is the discipline that records, studies and interprets architecture. It studies its forms, purposes, and most importantly its evolution. Fortunately, ancient architecture can easily be observed and recorded. Studying architectural history enables us to understand the society and culture they represent which is very useful when working as a contemporary architect.
Comparing and studying ancient and contemporary architecture is essential. It allows an architect to consider a buildings or cities as more than a visual phenomenon and therefore the architect would have a more fundamental and culturally inclusive approach to architecture than an approach based purely on architect's own taste or style. Studying the history of architecture is extremely important because unlike studying history in other disciplinary groups, the purpose of studying the history of architecture when practicing contemporary architecture is to understand how architecture influences society and its culture.
In other words, students can study the history of architecture in order to understand how and why each era since the beginning of time formed its own unique style. The ''why'' is what really must be understood in order to produce the kind of a architecture our contemporary society needs because architectural should reflects the philosophies prevalent at any given time.
However, architectural history, like any other form of historical study, is subject to the limitations and subjectivity of history as a discipline. It is important to understand why a building was created a certain way in any given point in history; for example, the feudal castles were built with not only defense in mind, but also to allow civilians and livestock to come inside during a time of war; whereas gothic architecture was designed in order to inspire awe in the minds of the congregation every time anyone saw them. This awe lingers with us even today.
The study of architectural history can also be a good way to inspire modern day architects into trying new forms of design. Without access to differing styles of architecture, a designer would become stagnant and locked into one kind of building. If nothing else, the study of historical architecture will help to stimulate the creative juices in the minds of the students and this will make for more creative and flexible architects overall. For these reasons, it is important to study ancient architecture and learn the how and why these buildings were constructed.