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Architecture is a unique blend of science and art, with a good dose of psychology thrown in for good measure. Architects have to design buildings that will not only be safe for their occupants but will also withstand the tests of time and hopefully even be aesthetically pleasing. Here are the three basic elements of architectural design.

Environment

When an architect is designing a building, they need to take into account the specific nature of the land they are building on. Most buildings are built on a grade of some kind, such as a hill or even on the side of a mountain. Architects may want to place a building so that it can take advantage of stunning views or panoramic vistas. They also need to take things into account like water tables, flood plains or the types of natural disasters the building may be exposed to. In California, architects need to design buildings that can best withstand earthquakes while in Kansas they need to take tornadoes into account and hurricanes in Florida.

Functionality

Every structure will have a specific use and specific provisions need to be made based on how the structures are to be used. Homes will need to have provisions made for certain systems, while office or industrial buildings will need to have allowances for others. A high-rise building, for instance, will need to have spaces designed for elevators and emergency stairwells, while industrial buildings will need to have additional supports placed for heavy machinery or additional power.

Aesthetics

At every step in the process, architects need to take into consideration the people they are designing for. People will not only have to use and live in the buildings architects design, they will also have to look at them for many years to come. Architects need to design interiors in such as way as to hide the more unsightly but necessary features such as wiring, conduits and cables and the exteriors in such a way as to keep with the overall architectural style of the building. In some cases, such as with industrial design, architects may incorporate features like wiring, conduits or cables directly into the aesthetic design of the building. Whatever they do, however, architecture involves making conscious choices that have to fit into what are sometimes very rigid parameters.