“What makes great architecture?” is a presumptive question to ask. It suggests that the author knows the answer. If you search on google most entries are less bold such as: “What makes architecture successful?”, or “What makes a good building?” Richard Meier answers the question on YouTube “What is good design?” Peter Eisenman, one of the most self absorbed architects alive was more bold and asked: “What makes great architecture?” His book; Ten Canonical Buildings: 1950-2000, answers this question by analyzing ten “great” buildings from the last century based on theory and innovation. As much as I dislike Peter Eisenman, I admire his courage, conviction, and dedication to great architecture.
Sometime around 30 B.C., Vitruvius, the author of a Roman treatise on architecture, wrote a famous statement that is still quoted by architects today. He said that a structure must exhibit the three qualities of: “firmness, commodity and delight.”