[O]ne might argue that a building is intensified through the elaboration of its own medium – a language of sticks and stones – to induce a state of architecture. The ‘material’ that underlies architecture is somehow rooted in construction and its details, and yet beguilingly, the devices that engage the building practice are most often in tension with the seemingly direct necessities of fabrication. Herein lies one of the most fertile and debated topics in architectural theory: the subject of tectonics. At the heart of this debate is the dilemma posed by the necessities of fabrication, which rarely coincide with the intended expression of a building, even in those projects whose authors profess an ethic of truthfulness or honesty to the facts of material construction.
Tectonics has many definitions, but they all tend to focus on the relationships between those architectural elements we tend to hold apart: space and construction, structure and ornamentation, atmosphere and function. Architectural tectonics seeks a relationship between the design of space and the reality of the construction that is necessary for it to exist. This relationship is the foundation of this text.
 Nader Tehrani, “Forward: A Murder in the Court,” in Strange Details, ed. Michael Cadwell (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2007), xii.