Explained simply, it is usually described as an artistic expression by architects that proved popular and appealing to a society living at a point in time in architectural history.
If you add several other factors - such as the type of society in which architects designed (agricultural or urban?) engineering feats (like the flying buttress of the Gothic period) or important historic technological advances (say, the elevator) and the whole history of the world might be told through its building design.
Examples of major architectural styles
Seagram Building NYC
Sony Building NYC
Around the Web, take a trip back in
time...zeroing in on advances in architectural design, form and function through
the ages -- ranging from European, Asian and Indian architecture, to Baroque and British
Victorian, including with an inevitable look up at the modern skyscraper ...
More about architectural styles around the Web:
Greek Art & Architecture - Check out this brief introduction to Greek architectural
orders including links to major sites covering the topic in more comprehensive
Architecture - Check out top resources for medieval and Gothic architecture,
plus related sites in categories including abbeys and monasteries, architectural
sculpture, castles, cathedrals and churches, cities and towns.
- The Art of Asia - Visit the cyber exhibit from the Minneapolis Institute of Arts
with virtual tours of historic Japanese and Chinese rooms in their collection,
along with more on Indian religious architecture, online educational videos.
Indian Architecture - Get the grand overview of highlights from the history of
royal and religious Indian architecture with related resources focusing on Hindu temples,
Mughal, Indo-Saracenic and Indo-Islamic architecture.
of the Baroque - Go on a complete tour of religious, commercial, military and
civic architecture of the period from the archived exhibit at the National Gallery
in Washington, D.C. Highly recommended.
Architecture - In-depth look at the style from the Victorian
Web, with historic examples, architects' bios, bibliography, and
links to further resources.
World's Tallest Buildings - Top 200
- Find a mile-high mountain of data together with lists of the world's tallest including images, facts, and profiles of individual designers.