Architecture is the art of building - it satisfies a basic, universal human need for shelter. Historically, the five greater fine arts were painting, sculpture, architecture, music and poetry. Architectural works are perceived as cultural and political symbols and works of art. Civilizations often are known primarily through their architectural achievements. Such buildings are cultural symbols, and are important links in public consciousness, even when scholars have discovered much about past civilizations through other means. Cities, regions and cultures continue to identify themselves with, and are known by, their architectural monuments.
As human cultures developed and knowledge began to be formalized through oral traditions and practices, building became a craft, and "architecture" is the name given to the most highly formalized and respected versions of that craft. It is widely assumed that architectural success was the product of a process of trial and error, with progressively less trial and more replication as the results of the process proved increasingly satisfactory. What is termed vernacular architecture continues to be produced in many parts of the world. Accordingly, vernacular buildings make up most of the built world that people experience every day.
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