Architecture is overarching design

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There are many different views on architecture, and on the role and responsibilities of the architect. Which method works for a particular architect depends on how he intends (or is expected) to fulfil his or her role. Thus it is important to state the view on architecture that OIAm aims to supports. OIAm’s definition of infrastructure architecture stems from Iacob[1]: “Enterprise architecture is the complete, consistent and coherent set of methods, rules, models and tools which guides the (re)design, migration, implementation and governance of business processes, organizational structures, information systems and the technical infrastructure of an organization according to a vision.” It takes little effort to adapt this definition to one that serves the field of infrastructure architecture:

Infrastructure architecture is the complete, consistent and coherent set of methods, rules, models and tools which guides the (re)design, migration and implementation of the technical infrastructure of an organization according to a vision.

Notice the word “guides” in the definition above: it expresses how architecture itself does not create technical designs, it rather aims to frame the infrastructure design space. It is the task of the infrastructure architects to coordinate all infrastructure creation and adaptation processes in the organization, while the designers do the actual designing within the scope of their own project. As such, architecture encompasses both the first set of steps in a facility’s design process, and the coordination of all facility design processes over the organization – hence the view that “architecture is overarching design”.

  1. “Delivering Enterprise Architecture with TOGAF® and ArchiMate®”, Maria-Eugenia Iacob/Henk Jonkers/Dick Quartel/Henry Franken/Harmen van den Berg, BiZZdesign, 2012