The perimeter of architecture has expanded beyond separate buildings to embrace urban groupings, such as the cultural center and the pedestrian mall. And it has enlarged its scope still farther, redeveloping urban zones into “cities” that incorporate apartments, offices, shops, schools, and parks. Moreover, the range of architecture has moved in a contrary direction to accept a structure that was once considered too lowly to be allowed into the elevated domain of grand art–the private dwelling. Domestic architecture has become an important genre, providing an opportunity to display new theories and innovative designs.
Along with expansive forces, integrative ones have been at work. We have become more aware of the physical and social context of a building, of the relation of its height, mass, and facade to nearby structures. Physical connections have begun to appear, too, such as second story walkways that join buildings above the street level and provide enclosed pedestrian pathways, binding separate structures and independent businesses into a network, an urban complex. This is also a sign of the increasing recognition of architecture’s social role and function. Could we be moving, in the manner of Soleri’s arcologies, toward total, integrated urban structures?