Modernity has opened the way to a greater pluralism of forms. But even if architecture is a cultural phenomenon, that does not mean it is a product of fashion.Its principles are enduring and its foundations less tangible than the novice who tried to shake them would realize. To start that stretch towards the foundations one must first acquire the basics: to know the permanence of the architectural field and appreciate the certainties tested by time. This book will act as a guide for the reaching hand. The first part explores the mediums of compositional architecture and the relationships between space, light, and place. Four or five thousand years of history demonstrate the persistence of certain fundamental principles intrinsic to a discipline that organizes, in three dimensions, the vital space of man. In the second part, the author provides certain keys to manage the relationship between shape, materials, and construction – recalling that the need to build, by itself, has never been enough to design the form of the house or the city. Neither encyclopedia nor dictionary, this book seeks to fill a gap in light of our time: it serves as a contemporary introduction to architectural design and criticism. Following the praise of critics, the first edition has been adopted as a reference text in numerous schools and translated into several languages. This new translation from the 3rd French edition offers revised and reworked content with an additional three chapters dedicated to tectonics.