Architecture is the artistic product and the process of designing, planning, and building structures or other physical structures. Architectural projects, in the large material form such as buildings, can be perceived as pieces of architecture and as visual works. Although the word ‘architecture’ may give the impression of an artistic or design discipline separate from the technical discipline of building construction, architectural planning generally includes the wide range of disciplines that embrace the complete selection and management of materials, space planning, building design, construction administration, and environmental considerations. In fact, the term architecture itself (as well as the architectural sciences) is derived from the Greek word Archaios which means a temple or assembly.
The most famous Greek architectural masterwork is the Roman basilica. This spectacular church structure was probably built during the 2nd century B.C., on the orders of the Emperor Trajan. The term architecture came into use around the 12th century with reference to the works created by medieval architects in the Italian city-state of Florence. Florence became an important center of the Renaissance in Europe, and the architectural designs of this era have become known as characteristic Florence. Other Renaissance cities include Barcelona and Bologna, which were also prominent centers of artistic creation during the Italian renaissance. Other cities around the world that have played a key role in architecture include Mexico City, Tokyo, Cairo, and Vienna.
Today, architecture is considered to encompass many different fields and areas of study. In addition to the more traditional styles of architecture such as Greek and Turkish city-states, there is also the more abstract forms of architecture such as the New World Colonies style of architecture, or the Gothic architecture of medieval Europe. Architecture is, therefore, a broad and varied discipline that has developed over the centuries, illuminating and transforming the way people thought about and built their homes, towns, villages, and cities. This article only briefly examines some of the most famous forms of architecture that can be found throughout the world, but the history of architecture will always remain a fascinating and important part of human history, for all of its wonderful wonders and beauty.