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As a process, architecture is the
activity of designing and constructing
buildings and other physical structures
by a person or a computer, primarily to
provide shelter. A wider definition
often includes the design of the total
built environment, from the macro level
of how a building integrates with its
surrounding landscape (see town
planning, urban design, and landscape
architecture) to the micro level of
architectural or construction details
and, sometimes, furniture. Wider still,
architecture is the activity of
designing any kind of system.





As a profession, architecture is the
role of those persons or machines
providing architectural services.





As documentation, usually based on
drawings, architecture defines the
structure and/or behavior of a building
or any other kind of system that is to
be or has been constructed.





Architects have as their primary object
providing for the spatial and shelter
needs of people in groups of some kind
(families, schools, churches,
businesses, etc.) by the creative
organisation of materials and components
in a land- or city-scape, dealing with
mass, space, form, volume, texture,
structure, light, shadow, materials,
program, and pragmatic elements such as
cost, construction limitations and
technology, to achieve an end which is
functional, economical, practical and
often with artistic and aesthetic
aspects. This distinguishes architecture
from engineering design, which has as
its primary object the creative
manipulation of materials and forms
using mathematical and scientific
principles.





Separate from the design process,
architecture is also experienced[1]
through the senses, which therefore
gives rise to aural,[2] visual,
olfactory,[3] and tactile[4]
architecture. As people move through a
space, architecture is experienced as a
time sequence.[5] Even though our
culture considers architecture to be a
visual experience, the other senses play
a role in how we experience both natural
and built environments. Attitudes
towards the senses depend on culture.[6]
The design process and the sensory
experience of a space are distinctly
separate views, each with its own
language and assumptions.





Architectural works are perceived as
cultural and political symbols and works
of art. Historical civilizations are
often known primarily through their
architectural achievements. Such
buildings as the pyramids of Egypt and
the Roman Colosseum are cultural
symbols, and are an important link in
public consciousness, even when scholars
have discovered much about a past
civilization through other means.
Cities, regions and cultures continue to
identify themselves with (and are known
by) their architectural monuments.
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