When doing our readings for this week, I realized that although some people would stress the “science” aspect of information architecture, I appreciate Morville and Rosenfeld’s phrasing that it is both an art & science. The third of their possible definitions on page 4 reads in full: “The art and science of shaping information products and experiences to support usability and findability.”
This got me thinking: despite the existence of logical relations among elements, a highly idiosyncratic and “unscientific” arrangement would still qualify as information architecture. It would just resemble the fanciful architecture of someone like Gaudí more than that of le Corbusier.
Here you can see a couple of idiosyncratic buildings by Gaudí. Using organic shapes found in nature, his structures are some of the more fanciful versions of modernist architecture.
Here are couple of modernist buildings by Le Corbusier. Although still playful at times, his structures tend toward standardized, regular shapes instead of organic ones.
None of these buildings would still be standing had the architects ignored sound underlying principles like gravity and the properties of their respective building materials, so it’s fair to say that “science” is a necessary component of architecture. At the same time, a quick comparison of these architects’ styles shows that there is room for aesthetic concerns as well as the logic implied by “science.”