Gallery Of

Architectural Quotations

Architectural Quotations

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.

Quotations by or about architects and architecture. Mostly humorous, although sometimes unintentionally funny.

Philip Johnson

Architecture is the art of how to waste space.


Style is trendy and fleeting.  Bad taste is timeless.

Frank Lloyd Wright

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

Ambrose Bierce

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.

Frank Gehry

 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)

Zev Borrow

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

Philip Johnson

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

Frank Lloyd Wright

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.

Bruno Zevi

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

James Gaskin

 Ignorance transcends architecture.


 The most important question when any new architecture is introduced is "So what?"

Le Corbusier

 When does a building actually become a built?

Rob Daly

 ar-chi-tect  \är-ke-,tekt\  n. One who believes that conception comes before erection.

Clare Booth Luce

 Home is where you hang your Architect.

The Management

 Q:  What would I do if I won a million dollars? 

A:  Probably just keep practicing architecture till it was gone.

Sir Winston Churchill

 We shape our buildings: thereafter they shape us.

Samuel Taylor

 The principle of the Gothic architecture is infinity made imaginable.

Thomas Fuller

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

Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe

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

Philip Johnson

 All architects want to live beyond their deaths.

Roy Lichtenstein

 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.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 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.

John Ruskin

 No architecture is so haughty as that which is simple.

Friedrich Nietzsche

 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.

Tom Wolfe

 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.

John Ruskin

 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.


 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.

Louis Henry Sullivan

 Form ever follows function.


 Less is more.

Robert Venturi

 Less is a bore.

Patric McCue

 Less is more work.


 Less is more, except when it is not enough…

Henry David Thoreau

 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.

Nancy Banks-Smith

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

Frank Lloyd Wright

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

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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

Ludwig Van Beethoven

 No one should drive a hard bargain with an artist.

Frank Lloyd Wright

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

Nancy Banks-Smith

 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?

Steven Ehrlich

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

Laura Hartman

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

Gene Fowler

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

Ambrose Bierce

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

Charles, Prince of Wales

 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.


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


 Commodity, firmness, delight...


 Believe me, that was a happy age, before the days of architects, before the days of builders.

Mahatma Gandhi

 First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.

Oscar Niemeyer

 Here, then, is what I wanted to tell you of my architecture.  I created it with courage and idealism, but also with an awareness of the fact that what is important is life, friends, and attempting to make this unjust world a better place in which to live.