On the Timely and Timeless Nature of Architecture
What makes architecture timeless? Humans are afraid of what philosophers call the “terror of time” and consequently seek a state of timelessness in life through religion, art, and architecture. As of 2020, creating lasting architecture is at the forefront of design research in large part because of the focus on innovation and technical novelty. Lots of buildings have received design rewards for representing timelessness in architecture but on what grounds? It seems today that timeless architecture is synchronous with the word “innovative” or “newness,” however, that is not the only criteria for timelessness in architectural design. As demonstrated by The Harris Poll in 2020, the majority of Americans prefer Classical architecture for federal buildings rather than Modern. This information contradicts the rewards given to modern buildings for timelessness and shows there are elements in Classical architecture that keep it timeless in popularity and preference. The purpose of this study is to find what elements make architecture timeless and analyze several buildings against the following criteria: strength and craft (firmitas), function (utilitas), beauty and proportion (venustas), context, authenticity, durability, composition and innovation. In conclusion, this research demonstrates that timeless architecture is memorable, meaningful, and durable. Knowing these findings, architects can improve buildings to withstand the test of time and positively impact the world and its relation to time.