David Leatherbarrow described sense as beginning with nonsense, of creativity expanding the realm of the sensible. He argued that masterpieces in architecture tread the line between the logically composed and the sensitively rich, counterposing sense and reason. ‘No work that is genuinely creative is entirely explicable.’ An overly rationalised building eschews the magic of art, and an under-rationalised building lacks the richness of reason.
But is there more than one kind of reason? Can a building be tautly argued in one sense and still confused in another? And is there one kind of artistry? Leatherbarrow portrays reason and instinctive art as in opposition on a single continuum. Sennett writes of multiplicity of place. I am more inclined to think that it is not so simple a diagram: that architecture can be subject to strict strategy and still confused, rich in expression but still without magic.
The balancing point could be called sense:
to perceive (something) by the senses; become aware of;
to grasp the meaning of; understand
Architecture, then, is about making sense.