Architecture quotes

architecture quotes


The following quotations have been culled from a variety of sources - some more reliable than others. Our policy is to print mere hearsay from even the most slanderous of liars until a quotation is refuted by one of our esteemed readers. Please Email Us to send your favorite quote or to praise, correct, or accuse us.

Style is trendy and fleeting. Bad taste is timeless.


Man, there’s another freedom out there, and it comes from somewhere else, and that somewhere else is the place I’m interested in. (on using a grid)

Frank Gehry

The scary cousin in architecture’s dysfunctional family (on Frank Gehry)

Zev Borrow

When a building is as good as that one, f#*@ the art. (On Gehry's Bilbao Guggenheim as a place to experience art)

Philip Johnson

Ram-shack-le /'ram-shak-el/ adj. Pertaining to a certain order of architecture, otherwise known as Normal American. Most of the public buildings of the United States are of the Ramshackle order, though some of our earlier architects preferred the Ironic. Recent additions to the White House in Washington are Theo-Doric, the ecclesiastic order of the Dorians. They are exceedingly fine and cost one hundred dollars a brick.

Ambrose Bierce

Architecture is the art of how to waste space.

Philip Johnson

Noble life demands a noble architecture for noble uses of noble men. Lack of culture means what it has always meant: ignoble civilization and therefore imminent downfall.

Frank Lloyd Wright

Among the planets of the arts, architecture is the dark side of the moon.

Bruno Zevi

Samuel Taylor

Light, God’s eldest daughter, is a principal beauty in a building.

Thomas Fuller

Architecture is to make us know and remember who we are.

Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe

All architects want to live beyond their deaths.

Philip Johnson

I don’t think of form as a kind of architecture. The architecture is the result of the forming. It is the kinesthetic and visual sense of position and wholeness that puts the thing into the realm of art.

Roy Lichtenstein

Ah, to build, to build! That is the noblest art of all the arts. Painting and sculpture are but images, Are merely shadows cast by outward things On stone or canvas, having in themselves No separate existence. Architecture, Existing in itself, and not in seeming A something it is not, surpasses them As substance shadow.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

No architecture is so haughty as that which is simple.

John Ruskin

The architect represents neither a Dionysian nor an Apollinian condition: here it is the mighty act of will, the will which moves mountains, the intoxication of the strong will, which demands artistic expression. The most powerful men have always inspired the architects; the architect has always been influenced by power.

Friedrich Nietzsche

Le Corbusier was the sort of relentlessly rational intellectual that only

France loves wholeheartedly, the logician who flies higher and higher in ever-decreasing circles until, with one last, utterly inevitable induction, he disappears up his own fundamental aperture and emerges in the fourth dimension as a needle-thin umber bird.

Tom Wolfe

No person who is not a great sculptor or painter can be an architect. If he is not a sculptor or painter, he can only be a builder.

John Ruskin

Heredity is a strong factor, even in architecture. Necessity first mothered invention. Now invention has little ones of her own, and they look just like grandma.


Form ever follows function.

Louis Henry Sullivan

Less is more.


Less is a bore.

Robert Venturi

Less is more work.

Patric McCue

Less is more, except when it is not enough…


True, there are architects so called in this country, and I have heard of one at least possessed with the idea of making architectural ornaments have a core of truth, a necessity, and hence a beauty, as if it were a revelation to him. All very well perhaps from his point of view, but only a little better than the common dilettantism.

Henry David Thoreau

In my experience, if you have to keep the lavatory door shut by extending your left leg, it’s modern architecture.

Nancy Banks-Smith

All fine architectural values are human values, else not valuable.

Frank Lloyd Wright

Architecture is "frozen music"… Really there is something in this; the tone of mind produced by architecture approaches the effect of music."

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

No one should drive a hard bargain with an artist.

Ludwig Van Beethoven

The physician can bury his mistakes, but the architect can only advise his clients to plant vines.

Frank Lloyd Wright

Where do architects and designers get their ideas? The answer, of course, is mainly from other architects and designers, so is it mere casuistry to distinguish between tradition and plagiarism?

Nancy Banks-Smith

Use your eyes; plagiarize.(On borrowing design strategies from other cultures.)

Steven Ehrlich

Liberate the perimeter for the people! (On pushing the managers towards the core so that everybody can share the view in high rise offices.)

Laura Hartman

[Architecture] is easy: you just stare at the paper until droplets of blood appear on your forehead.

Gene Fowler

Architect. One who drafts a plan of your house, and plans a draft of your money.

Ambrose Bierce

You have to give this much to the Luftwaffe: when it knocked down our buildings it did not replace them with anything more offensive than rubble. We did that.

Charles, Prince of Wales

But what if we are dealing with fools? (On design juries)


Commodity, firmness, delight.

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