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100+ Inspirational Design and Architecture Quotes

Updated on August 8, 2019
Lewis Martin profile image

Architect who loves to travel, read, collect and write. Always looking for inspiration big and small.

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Some of these Architecture and Design Quotes are all time classics and canonical, and some are much less well known. I have tried to organise them so the list has its own flow for example one of the most famous Architecture quotes ever is ‘Less is more’ by Mies Van Der Rohe. I have added a few quotes below that which are replies to it like Robert Venturi’s ‘Less is a bore’ which is a direct repudiation of Mies's quote and an example of his and Denise Scott Brown's writing which as much as their buildings made them famous. It appears if you look hard enough even Ed Sheeran has an opinion about Architecture too!

  • Less is more. - Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe
  • Less is a bore. - Robert Venturi
  • Less is only more where more is no good. - Frank Lloyd Wright
  • Yes is more. - Bjarke Ingels
  • Sometimes less is more than enough. - Unknown
  • Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. - Leonardo da Vinci
  • Architecture should speak of its time and place, but yearn for timelessness. - Frank Gehry
  • Architecture is the art of how to waste space. - Philip johnson
  • Architecture is the learned game correct and magnificent of forms assembled in the light. - Le Corbusier
  • Architecture is inhabited sculpture. – Constantin Brancusi
  • Architecture is a ride - a physical ride and an intellectual ride. - Antoine Predock
  • Architecture is a social act and the material theater of human activity. - Spiro Kostof
  • Architecture is what nature cannot make. Architecture is something unnatural but not something made up. - Louis Kahn
  • Architecture is too slow in its realisation to be a 'problem solver'. - Cedric Price
  • Architecture is the thoughtful making of space. - Louis Khan
  • Architecture is like writing. You have to edit it over and over so it looks effortless. - Zaha Hadid
  • Architecture is always dream and function, expression of a utopia and instrument of a convenience. - Roland Barthes
  • Architecture is a political act, by nature. It has to do with the relationships between people and how they decide to change their conditions of living. - Lebbeus Woods
  • A design isn't finished until someone is using it. - Brenda Laurel
  • Form ever follows function. - Louis Sullivan
  • Function First. - Michael E. Pipkins
  • Function influence but does not dictate form. - Eero Saarinen
  • Where form comes from I don’t know, but it has nothing at all to do with the functional or sociological aspects of our architecture. - Philip Johnson
  • Architecture is not about form. - Peter Zumthor
  • Form follows profit is the aesthetic principle of our times. - Richard Rogers
  • My work is not about “form follows function”, but “form follows beauty” or, even better, “form follows feminine”. – Oscar Niemeyer
  • A house is a machine for living in. - Le Corbusier
  • A house is not a machine to live in. It is the shell of man, his extension, his release, his spiritual emanation. - Eileen Gray
  • Design is a plan for arranging elements in such a way as best to accomplish a particular purpose. - Charles Eames
  • I don’t want to be interesting. I want to be good. - Mies van der Rohe

Source
  • I don't know why people hire architects and then tell them what to do. - Frank Gehry
  • In pure architecture the smallest detail should have a meaning or serve a purpose. - Augustus W. N. Pugin
  • The mother art is architecture. Without an architecture of our own we have no soul of our own civilization. - Frank Lloyd Wright
  • We shape our buildings, therafter they shape us.- Winston Churchill
  • Architecture must concern itself continually with the socially beneficial distortion of the environment. - Cedric Price
  • Architect. One who drafts a plan of your house, and plans a draft of your money. - Ambrose Bierc
  • Prose is Architecture, not interior decoration. - Ernest Hemingway
  • It is therefore indisputable that the limbs of architecture are derived from the limbs of man. - Michelangelo
  • The modern architect is, generally speaking, art's greatest enemy. - Pierre-Auguste Renoir
  • Among the planets of the arts, architecture is the dark side of the moon. - Bruno Zevi
  • Music is liquid architecture; Architecture is frozen music. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  • Finally, architecture is bigger than buildings in the same way the city is; it concerns the production and dissemination of knowledge as much as it does embodied energy. - Samuel Medina
  • The white façades of the villas and apartment houses were like blocks of time that had crystallised beside the road. - J.G. Ballard
  • If we find a mound six feet long and three feet wide in the forests, formed into a pyramid, shaped by a shovel, we become serious and something says, "someone lies buried here"... Now that is architecture. - Adolf Loos
  • Any work of architecture which does not express serenity is a mistake. - Luis Barragan
  • Beauty is the harmony of purpose and form. - Alvar Aalto
  • The only way to enjoy architecture is not just to look at it but to move around it and through it. - Kenneth Bayes
  • The architecture we remember is that which never consoles or comforts us. - Peter Eisenman
  • Good ideas come from everywhere. It's more important to recognize a good idea than to author it. - Jeanne Gang
  • I'm interested in conflict and confrontation. -Thom Mayne
  • If Nature had been comfortable, mankind would never have invented architecture. - Oscar Wilde
  • For architecture, nature provides only indications and analogies, not models to imitate.- Leon Krier
  • Each new situation requires a new architecture. - Jean Nouvel
  • I think space, architectural space, is my thing. It's not about facade, elevation, making image, making money. My passion is creating space. - Peter Zumthor
  • There are no straight lines or sharp corners in nature. Therefore, buildings must have no straight lines or sharp corners. - Antoni Gaudi
  • I was attracted by the curve — the liberated, sensual curve suggested by the possibilities of new technology yet so often recalled in venerable old baroque churches. - Oscar Niemeyer
  • The architects who benefit us most may be those generous enough to lay aside their claims to genius in order to devote themselves to assembling graceful but predominantly unoriginal boxes. - Alain De Botton
  • I prefer drawing to talking. Drawing is faster, and leaves less room for lies. - Le Corbusier
  • When I'm working on a problem, I never think about beauty. But when I'm finished, if the solution is not beautiful I know it's wrong. - Buckminster Fuller
  • My hand is the extension of the thinking process - the creative process. - Tadao Ando

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  • An interesting plainness is the most difficult and precious thing to achieve. - Mies Van Der Rohe
  • There are 360 degrees, so why stick to one? - Zaha Hadid
  • I search for an ideal condition of new architecture in-between artifice and nature.- Sou Fujimoto
  • God is in the details. – Mies van der Rohe
  • The cosmetic is cosmic. - Rem Koolhaas
  • Architecture is essentially an aesthetic art, and ... our goal is to essentially broaden and deepen human experience, and we do that primarily through creating aesthetic situations. - Coy Howard
  • We had better not enjoy the moment, but create the moment. - Ai Weiwei
  • Any architectural project we do takes at least four or five years, so increasingly there is a discrepancy between the acceleration of culture and the continuing slowness of architecture. - Rem Koolhaas
  • The speed of change makes you wonder what will become of architecture. -Tadao Ando
  • One might regard architecture as history arrested in stone.-A. L. Rowse
  • They swore by concrete. They built for eternity. - Gunter Grass
  • Modern architecture has the potential to send you to an early grave. - Steven Magee
  • Modern architecture only becomes modern with its engagement with the media. - Beatriz Colomina
  • Authentic architecture is not the incarnation of the spirit of the age but of the spirit, full stop. - Leon Krier
  • The door handle is the handshake of the building. – Juhani Pallasmaa
  • The silence of architecture is a responsive, remembering silence. A powerful architectural experience silences all external noise; it focuses our attention on our very existence, and as with all art, it makes us aware of our fundamental solitude. - Juhanni Pallasmaa
  • Modern architecture is not a style, it's an attitude. - Marcel Breuer
  • All fine architectural values are human values, else not valuable. — Frank Lloyd Wright
  • Whenever I draw a circle, I immediately want to step out of it. - R. Buckminster Fuller
  • One of the great beauties of architecture is that each time, it is like life starting all over again. - Renzo Piano
  • The most beautiful house in the world is the one that you build for yourself. -WitoldId Rybczynski
  • For architecture, among all the arts, is the one that most boldly tries to reproduce in its rhythm the order of the universe, which the ancients called "kosmos," that is to say ornate, since it is like a great animal on whom there shine the perfection and the proportion of all its members. - Umberto Eco
  • Chairs are architecture, sofas are bourgeois. - Le Corbusier
  • Always design a thing by considering its next larger context - a chair in a room, a room in a house, a house in an environment, an environment in a city plan. - Eliel Saarinen
  • The difference between good and bad architecture is the time you spend on it. -David Chipperfield
  • Inconsistency itself breeds vitality. - Kenzo Tange
  • Buildings should be good neighbours. - Paul Thiry
  • Among the planets of the arts, architecture is the dark side of the moon. - Bruno Zevi
  • The ideal architect should be a man of letters, a skillful draftsman, a mathematician, familiar with historical studies, a diligent student of philosophy, acquainted with music, not ignorant of medicine, learned in the responses of jurisconsults, familiar with astronomy and astronomical calculations. - Vitruvius
  • 98% of what gets built today is shit. – Frank Gehry
  • People ignore design that ignores people. - Frank Chimero
  • ...architecture is my delight, and putting up, and pulling down, one of my favourite amusements. - Thomas Jefferson
  • It is a building designed by committee: all they have been able to agree on is that it should be rectangular, have windows, and not fall over. - Max Barry
  • [The building] had been designed by an architect, so it bore little resemblance to any normal structure. - Gary Corby
  • When strange objects shape the landscape, we get fiction. - Umair Siddiqui
  • I'm gonna pick up the pieces and build a Lego house if things go wrong we can knock it down. - Ed Sheeran
  • The extent to which you have a style is the extent to which you have not solved the problem. - Charles Eames
  • An architects mission, simply stated, is to improve the quality of life of human beings. –Toshiko Mori
  • You think philosophy is difficult, but I tell you, it is nothing compared to the difficulty of being a good architect. - Ludwig Wittgenstein
  • Architecture is just art we live in. Why don’t people realize that? -The Librarians TV show
  • I think I have said enough. - Cedric Price

Source

I Hoped you liked these quotes. If you have any quotes you know that might fit here please feel free to leave them in the comments below.

© 2019 Lewis Martin

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    • Lewis Martin profile imageAUTHOR

      Lewis Martin 

      7 months ago from Finland

      Yup that speech is where it began....He managed to influence that project to change the Architects to Venturi Scott-Brown. Also many other projects no.1 Poultry in the city & Chelsea Barracks. He built Poundbury as an experimental new town according to his principals. He tried and failed to influence the extension of the National Museum of Scotland too.

      His influence has been greater than most people realise in the UK at least. Some things he has said and done have been positive but much has been pretty terrible IMHO....Hmmm might be worth writing about at some point in the future.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      7 months ago from UK

      In 1984 Prince Charles used a speech on the 150th anniversary of RIBA to have a go at modern design. He described Peter Ahrends scheme for a towering extension to the National Gallery as a "monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved and elegant friend.'

    • Lewis Martin profile imageAUTHOR

      Lewis Martin 

      7 months ago from Finland

      Hah you got me there Liz, if you find one by him I'll be sure to add it. This list is without style bias!

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      7 months ago from UK

      This is a great list of quotes. I didn't notice any in there from Prince Charles though!

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