Philip Johnson on Great Architecture
All architecture is shelter, all great architecture is the design of space that contains, cuddles, exalts, or stimulates the persons in that space.
— Philip Johnson
WHAT IS GREAT ARCHITECTURE?
Buildings are all over the place, but not all buildings are architecture. In the above quote, Philip Johnson talks about the point where a building becomes great architecture, taking an occupant to another level where a space actually “touches” a person. Through the senses, emotion, cognition and even spiritual moments — a great building has qualities that “move” you.
I think that as architects we should strive to achieve such qualities in our work, going beyond the programmatic to reach a type of language that speaks through our style. Great architecture most usually exhibits this type of quality, conveying to occupants in renewed ways or simply reminding them of something they have felt before.
Either way, great architecture taps into human experience — uncovering and creating that which inspires and often stirs our soul.