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Essay

On Architecture
by Kevin Roche

I believe architecture is an art and that in practicing it one's ultimate responsibility is to use every opportunity to create a work of art. And a work of art is essentially a statement of a position; it is a statement about something. And it is a statement of belief in something.

It is a reflection on the nature of things, or some aspect of the nature of things. In addition to all of the justifications we make for a building's reason for being, which we must do in practice, we have the additional responsibility to make a statement.

The statement is not necessarily conscious; because it is an artistic effort sometimes it may be more intuitive. Because one's beliefs when working on a design are intensely held, one wants to make the statement as intense as possible so that it is clear and understandable, a thoroughly refined statement—refined in the sense of clarity—as clear as it can be.

That may be why these buildings are so perceived, but if you do not hold your beliefs intensely, if you do not believe that you are about something important, then you cannot create a work of art.