Are temples or shrines “buildings” or “structures”?

When I refer to old temples or shrines in Japan, shoule I use structures or buildings? I refer to each of them as a shrine or a temple, but when I want to generalize, like all these temples, shrines, walls or whatever in certain place, which were built hundreds years ago, how should I call them? To me, “buildings” sound like things built in this modern era. So I thought structures would be better, but sometimes I’ve heard people use “buildings” for that. I researched these words myself, but I’m not sure. Could you please explain the difference between two and which is the better word choice here?


A building generally is designed with walls and a roof. There certainly can be ancient buildings. Structures can be anything that is composed of structural components- a cell structure, a shade structure, etc. My advice is use building only when the referent was at least designed with walls and a roof- even if they have long since fallen in or washed away, and then only if your intent in the usage is to treat it as a whole entity whose basic nature is to have walls and a roof. Use structure when you wish to refer to something that does not walls and a roof or when referring to a building’s structural components or design rather than its essence as a closed containing structure.

This building was erected in 100 BC. – We’re talking about the whole thing as a building.

This structure has stood for thousands of years – Might be a building or just a bunch of pillars, but we are talking about it’s fortitude as a structure.

This building was designed to hold the King’s library. The structure’s entrance is made of beams 6 feet wide. – We can switch back and forth on what we call it based on what we’re saying about it

Source : Link , Question Author : tennis girl , Answer Author : Jim

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