This is the first in a series of posts in which I'd like to discuss figurative or literal comparisons and overlaps between psychiatry and other fields of study.
Architecture could be considered a science and an art--a field with many technical elements, but with an over-riding importance given to esthetics, expressiveness, and community relationships.
Ideas in psychiatry could be considered "architectural" in the sense that it is important to have an overall sense of a plan, with a clear sense of purpose. Even with good technical skills (e.g. to relieve a symptom), work in psychiatry, or in life progress, may be unsatisfying if there is no attendance to the larger sense of purpose in the life's structure. Part of the purpose is "esthetic," but part has to do with identity, interaction with community, originality, and expressiveness. This is similar to the architectural considerations involved in planning and developing a new physical structure.
As in architecture, many very good ideas could be generated to develop one's life, but the ideas must also be technically sound, and supported by good engineering. Many life plans have dangerous weaknesses in the foundation, so to speak, or may be hindered by untreated symptoms. So, a sound architectural plan in psychiatry or in life management must include both esthetic or artistic elements, as well as good structural support.