What we call space is relative to the existence of whatever structures we may choose to conceive. The architectural structure interprets space, and leads to hypotheses on the nature of space. Paul Velery, Introduction to the Methods of Leonardo da Vinci, 1894
Great architecture is holistic. The parts combine to make a whole greater than the physical reality of the building. This truth has become secondary in a society infatuated with materialistic need. I have often heard clients list off all of the incredible features of their newly completed projects. Homeowners speak of swimming pools, of media rooms with theater experiences, of kitchens equal to the finest restaurant. Schools speak of media labs and squash courts, of theaters capable of mounting Broadway productions. Corporate centers talk of health clubs and the finest food service. Even tree houses boast of hot tubs and modern electronics. Yet these are simply programmatic elements, and a list of program spaces is not architecture.
It is the responsibility of the architect to bring human experience and spiritual understanding together to give life to the space that houses the program. The needs of the client must be met, but the spaces most important to great architecture often have no programmatic purpose. These are the spaces in between, the spaces of reflection. They are side chapels in a cathedral. They provide calm and a sense of belonging. In simple terms, this is the element that makes a home out of a house.