Architecture is designed only to suit the criteria of an individual or group. Economic law bans architects from copying their fellow artists in building works for which the demand is nonexistent or simply potential. So the types of architecture depend upon social formations and may be categorised according to the role of the patron in the community. The types that will be described here—domestic, religious, governmental, recreational, welfare and educational, and commercial and industrial—represent the simplest classification; a scientific typology of architecture would require a more extensive investigation.
Domestic architecture is constructed for the social unit: the person, family, or clan and its dependents, human and animal. It provides shelter and protection for the essential physical functions of life and at times also for commercial, industrial, or agricultural operations that involve the family unit rather than the community. The essential necessities of residential architecture are simple: a place to sleep, prepare food, eat, and sometimes work; a space that has some light and is shielded from the elements. A single room with robust walls and roof, a door, a window, and a hearth are the requirements; all else can be considered luxury.
In most of the world today, even though institutions have been in a continual process of development, dwelling styles of ancient or prehistoric provenance are in use. In the industrialised United States, for instance, barns are being erected according to a design adopted in Europe in the 1st millennium BCE. The forces that promote a dynamic evolution of architectural style in community structures are frequently passive in the home and farm. The lives of average people may be unchanged by the most significant changes in their institutions. The people can be successively enslaved persons, the subjects of a monarchy, and voting citizens without having the means or the inclination to change their customs, practices, or surroundings. Economic pressure is a major factor that forces regular people to limit their demands to a level that is far below what their time’s technology can sustain. Because experimentation and innovation are more expensive than repetition, they frequently build new structures using old procedures. However, in wealthier civilizations, the economy and norms drive architecture to include amenities such as sanitation, lighting, and heating, as well as separate rooms for different functions, which may become considered needs. The same forces tend to replace the home’s conservatism with institutional architecture’s aspirations, emphasising both the expressive and utilitarian functions.