A software architect shared this with me the other day (I am paraphrasing): Architecture is concerned with decisions that would be difficult or costly to change later on.
Such a simple and yet apt way to describe the rather complex role of software architecture. And it rings true for architecture in general.
It made me think back ...
Many years ago I found myself at a cross roads. I had applied to both an architecture school and a design school. Both where rather difficult to get into. For the design school you had to have the grades, submit a portfolio, and-upon passing that portfolio review-participate in a 2 day on-site test. For either school tuition was not a factor because: Germany. Most universities are free to attend. To my delight and dismay I got accepted into both programs. That led to some rather difficult soul-searching at the time. Talk about impactful decision points!
In the end I opted for design and have had no regrets to date. But many aspects of architecture have remained a life long fascination and passion for me. Books, architectural inspired sketching, key design concepts, they all have been a constant source of inspiration for me. What a fantastic field and profession. And encountering great architecture remains a rare treat. Kudos to all you architects out there.
Back to today...
As a designer I was happy to add yet another dimension to my own grasp of architecture from the field of software engineering no less. This is what I found on wikipedia after the conversation on software platform architecture. And it reminded me of how everything is design in the end:
In software engineering and software architecture design, architectural decisions are design decisions that address architecturally significant requirements; they are perceived as hard to make and/or costly to change.
This relates so much to my own decision way back then and how greatly it affected the entire course of my life and career.
Each architectural decision describes a concrete, architecturally significant design issue (a.k.a. design problem, decision required) for which several potential solutions (a.k.a. options, alternatives) exist. An architectural decision captures the result of a conscious, often collaborative option selection process and provides design rationale for the decision making outcome.
I love that architecture continuous to features so prominently in my life and work. It always will.
Here is to the big decisions. In design, architecture, and everything else.