According to Cees Dam, architecture is first and foremost a trade, one that has to be learned. It has a tradition from which it cannot break away, despite the fact that some architects really want to. Architecture is also an art form, a restrained and polluted art. The architect is meant to develop ideas alone and intuitively (this is the artistic aspect of architecture) and adapt them to functional and economic laws later (this pollutes or restrains the art). Finally architecture is also memory, not only of the architecture critics that can often accurately identify those that herald in the new, but also and especially of the public at large. Architecture has to be able to accommodate their dreams. In addition, architecture has to surprise. The architect has to create order first, to then disrupt it.
Cees Dam (b. 1932), an architect as well as professor and dean at the architecture faculty of Delft University of Technology, published numerous lectures, articles and other texts about architecture. This book offers his most fundamental texts about the trade of the architectural designer, design thinking, the sociocultural role of architecture and the position of the architect.