History of Architecture and Design – What Makes an Architect Great

In the universal world of architects and their design, throughout history there has always been those architects who stand out from the crowd. Architects who simply elevate design to new incredible levels. Designers who think outside of the normal expected ways to do things and create lasting impressions on all those who see those designs. Masters of their craft, artists and creators. Alchemist and magicians.

Like great composers or sculptors, they bend the rules, shape the future and exceed all expectations.

So what makes an architect great? What separates your average architect from the masters of design?

If we go back in time and examine those architects who have excelled at their craft, producing jaw dropping design and highly imaginative ideas, it is not too difficult to see why. Some are plain lucky and happen to get the opportunities to create great buildings. Others are born with a gift and some develop their gift over time.

Like any trade or taught profession, a majority of architects will stick within the parameters of what they were taught. Providing perfectly adequate, standard designs and filling a much needed market. Some tick to one style or one particular flavor of design and others keep to a fairly rigid set of rules.

Yet as in any profession, it is always those that test the limits, delve into the rich pool of the imagination, allow their ideas to flow and break down boundaries that stand out. The difference is simple to see once studied. They are artists, alchemist and in touch with the essence of creativity. There is so much one can be taught and lean but there is also a genuine gift that is just there.

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Yes they too, of course they always have to consider form and function, requirements costs and techniques in construction. What can be done and what cannot be done. But the truely great architects create using that bottomless reservoir of ideas and imagination. They do not restrict themselves and often rebel against what is expected.

To be great you cannot follow the herd. You have to stand out from the crowd. Imagination comes from one’s life experiences, what one sees and reads. What one absorbs. There are those who are just born with a gift, an eye for detail, an artistic bent.

These are the greats. These are the architects who truly define architecture as an art form. Whether it’s designing a luxury house or creating design for the tallest building in the world.

In modern times names such as Frank Gehry, Frank Lloyd Wright, Leoh Ming Pei, Zaha Hadid, Tom Wright, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Renzo Piano, Jean Nouvel, Walter Gropius and Moshe Safdie surely stand out.

And how can one not be blown away by the designs of Sir Christopher Wren, Cesar Pelli, Achmad Murdijat, William F Lamb, Jørn Utzon and Richard Rogers.

But there are still more and some are even long since forgotten. Lost in the corridors of history.

They are all artists and have helped create something special. Rewarded us with the spectacular and inspired others to scale ever greater heights. They have helped form our cities and enrich our lives.

Written by: Asetti.com International design architects

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