On Architecture and Design


Design and architecture, and most notably the distinction between them is something with many views. I share my view here, getting your input would be great!

The relationship between architecture and design

Design and architecture are two aspects of the same creation. The design is how something interacts with the world outside of it. The architecture is how the constituent parts work together to achieve the design. The easiest analogy is that of a living cell, it has an outer shell, which interacts with the rest if the world, in a predictable way. The inner working, the architecture of the cell, is dependent on that design provides inputs and outputs necessary for the architecture. In the living world, suvival of the fittest, the most adaptive designs, have made us evolve to where we are today.

A good design elegantly hides the complexity of the inherent architecture. The architecture is built up from parts, each with their own design. The recursive nature of the setup is intentional, we can always extend the design and architecture by building on known parts. The beauty with this setup is that it makes so much sense to create elegant designs, and it makes architecture self-explanatory.

Work with architecture and design

In the modern world of architecture, there are two ways of creating viable designs and architectures. Through the time tested reductionist approach, and through the evolutionary approach. The first expects us to know the end goal ahead of time, the second brings creations to the world by way if innovation. Each is best suited to their respective niches of operations. What they have in common is that they both affect how we think about design and architecture. They provide a guiding starting point to help decide how we should collaborate amongst the creative domains.

Design, the shell

The shell of an entity is what the world sees: how the world interacts with it, and how it interacts with the world. From cathedrals, to bazaars and the software world. Each setting is designed for a purpose. The purpose is reflected by the design. The architecture helps the design come to life.

Architecture, the consistuent parts

The parts, or components, of the design, and how they relate to one other, is the architecture. Each part is abstracted by its design, and this fact makes it easier to model the unknown and make assumptions by just creating a design for lower/more detailed level parts of the whole.

Design and architecture, two aspects of living things.

Everything we can interact with has a design, embodying an underlying architecture. Whether the design is deliberate or evolutionary is really not an important distinction, we can still make the distinction, and use the distinction to help us reason about the thing.