Ancient monuments reaching skyward were built to honor, please, and appease gods who lived, literally, on a higher plane. These buildings were therefore fundamentally necessary and functional in a way we may find hard to understand today.

Form and function

From two bricks put together well to monuments that tracked the stars and aligned humanity with the heavens, architecture had great and even other worldly ambitions from the very start. One of its purpose from the smallest well put together building to the highest skyscraper, is to lift the human spirit. In architecture we find a way of celebrating our humanity and of raising ourselves above the concerns of the matter of fact. Not exclusively, of course, architecture might be the self-conscious act of building artistically, and hopefully well, but it is also about shelter. One of the marked differences between architecture and the fine arts is the buildings have very particular functions to perform. Few artworks, with the exception of Marcel Duchamp’s Foundation, need lavatories. Or, for that matter, gutters, drainpipes, wiring, gas, electricity, heating, lighting, ventilation, windows, and air conditioning. On this level, architecture is a machine.