In the texts included here architecture is variously defined as a craft, as a science, as the result of the cooperation of reason and fancy, as one of the arts based on design, as an activity that is essential to the social and economic well-being of society and the happiness of its practitioners, as a source of great wonder and overpowering visual delight and also as a reminder of the transitory nature of human life. Only a few of the authors included here have not turned to other disciplines to define the nature of architecture, From the late sixteenth century onwards most attempts to characterize architecture were influenced by one of the Continental traditions of thought about the nature and classification of all human activities, including what we now call the visual arts and architecture.