**Notice** This page contains no references to illicit material. It has been approved for all audiences. Lost interest??? I know it sounds drab, but you never know...something might have slipped by the censors :) Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.
A magnificent and vast arena where art and science meet to design and sculpt the structures that have been a symbol of civilized society for thousands of years, or just that thing where you make buildings?
Either way you see it, it's important. Very important... but somehow it's been ignored in this project. As the senior reporter of Architectural Affairs for Advancing the Knowledge of Silly Little Things That We Almost Forgot In This Project (aka. AAAKSLTTWFITP), I would like to bring something to your attention. While you've been reading through the Full Walkthrough (with your eyes open I hope... I know, I know... look, I didn't write it), you have been presented with many of the technical and mathematical aspects that drive our project. As boring as it may have been, I admit, it was useful. There is no point in telling someone to go out and design a bridge without presenting them with knowledge to do so effectively. However, I see a gap. A gap in the knowledge that we have presented to you, the reader. A gap that if not "ungapped" would have been catastrophic to your social and mental wellbeing. Please, let me explain and ungap you, umm...inform you.
This project revolved around certain mathematical and engineering principals which together make up the field of Statics. Statics, as complicated as it may seem, only addresses a small aspect of the design of modern buildings. The main reason we don't address anything beyond these basic Statics concepts (until now) is that we are only designing very limited and basic beam-joint bridges. Some might say that architecture doesn't belong in such a project. Maybe it doesn't, but I feel it is my duty to add the architectual viewpoint as it applies to the real world... not just the mathematical world.
Ok. Buildings and structures. They exist everywhere. I won't give you a definition, for hopefully this is something you learned by age three. Now, everyone building has a design and a purpose. The design must suit this purpose so that the people using it can do whatever they are doing effectively. For example, a hospital (kinda like what you're thinking I must have escaped from). The hospital must be built in such a way that it meets the needs of all that work and visit there. Of course, it must be able to stand up and support the weight on it, but this is only one of the criteria that the architect must think of when designing this building. It must be easy for the patients and doctors to get around in. It must be designed to suit all the complicated medical equipment in the hospital. The design materials must be suited for the environment it is being built it. The seperate divisions and wards must be incorporated in such a way that make it fluent and understandable. Importantly, it must be aesthetically pleasing to everyone who sees it. The list can go on and on. Basically, everything must come together in the right way. Although the architect does not address all these issues, a huge responsiblity is put on the architect and he/she must make sure everything goes right. Often the design is passed back and forth between the client, the architects, and all the different types of engineers in order to make sure everything is going to go right, but the project architect must often bring it all together.
Besides these technical issues, the architect also has a creative obligation. They must use their imagination to create a building which is interesting and attractive. Look at the Greek Temples. Look at the tall Gothic Cathedrals. Look at the work of Frank Lloyd Wright. Look at the tall skyscapers of the cities that surround us. The shapes, the colors, the textures. Perhaps it started out as merely steel beams and concrete, but the buildings soon evolve into something more. The architect must design a building which uses his mathematical and artistic ability to make a building into art. Without this artistic side, architecture would be become nothing more than the production of "cookie-cutter" structures, and this world would be a very bland place.
As you've now realised, the design process is quite complicated, and well, I didn't want you to go on thinking that a building is as simple as beams and joints. We never claimed to have covered anything more than the very slightest branch of engineering in the rest of the site. We did hope it would raise your interest in structures in their simplest form, however. By understanding them at this level perhaps you'll go on to gain more interest in this field. Maybe some day you'll go on to become an architect or an engineer. So in the words of that famous Sesame Street song "Do what you want to do. Be what you want to be. Just believe in yourself, just believe in yourself".
Don't worry I won't end on this high point of cheesiness. So I hope you understand a little bit more about what architecture is and how it applies to this world. Most of all I hope you understand architecture's beauty. Buildings have a purpose, but this must never be an excuse to ignore the fact that they are art. Art unlike any other. And though you won't find it in any art museum, you will find it in every small village or large city across this planet. Perhaps, this last paragraph is higher on the cheese scale.