Is Designing an Architecture an Oxymoron?

The word ‘design’ is both a noun (a plan or drawing produced to show the look and function or workings of a building, garment, or other object before it is built or made) and a verb (decide upon the look and functioning of (a building, garment, or other object), typically by making a detailed drawing of it). Given an architecture is something you decide the look and function of, typically by making a drawing of it, saying you are designing an architecture is not as daft as it sounds. Grady Booch once remarked that “all architecture is design but not all design is architecture“. An architecture is what we create by applying good software engineering/design principles (separation of concerns, data hiding, contract-driven design, understanding stakeholder needs etc). An architecture can therefore be something that comes out of the process of design (by applying design thinking). However the architecture itself focuses on the essence of the [software] system and does not get bogged down in the detail.

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