The particular province of architecture, the sense exercised about which is that of sight, and the elements available in which are form, including both shape and size, and to a certain extent colour also, is to regulate with becoming taste the erection of buildings, so as to render them ornamental as well as useful, and to direct their construction according to the established rules applicable to this particular art.
Architecture, from its very nature, is necessarily confined, as regards its strict and proper province, to buildings of different kinds, especially those of an important nature. By a due regard to the principles of architecture, a grand edifice erected according to its rules, especially one of a national character, such as are public halls and temples and theatres and erections for educational purposes, whether universities, colleges, or schools, or galleries for works of art, should be calculated to strike the public mind in a manner corresponding with the object which the building is intended to attain. Its artistical appearance should produce a moral effect analogous to the practical purpose for which the material structure itself serves.
The importance of bestowing a care about the general style and aspect, as well as the convenience of public and national edifices, will be allowed by all of penetrating minds. The temples of the ancients afford some very noble examples in this respect, and the grandeur of their appearance aided them much in the inculcation of the notions and principles which they infused into the minds of the people. To buildings in general, however, as well as to those which are public and national, the principles of architecture, so as to regulate their construction with a due regard to taste, are capable of being applied.
The suitable and tasteful design, and disposition and laying out of a great city ; the due ordering of its buildings, and streets and squares, and ornamental structures; the arrangement of them in proper relation to the ground on which they stand, as also to the surrounding country and its natural scenery, is almost an art in itself, and may be regulated by principles as fixed and determinate, as may landscape gardening, or even architecture, to which it is indeed very closely allied.
From the defined and specific nature of architecture, both as regards its objects and its principles, it is probably less liable than any of the other arts to trespass upon either of their respective provinces.