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ArchiMate Core Framework

The reference structure used to classify elements of the ArchiMate core language is implemented in Enterprise Architecture in its core internal metamodel. It consists of three layers and three aspects (including the physical) and the extended framework contains a number of extra layers and aspects as extensions. These core and extended language elements are visible in the tool in the form of the Diagram list and Toolbox pages corresponding to the layers, and in the element representations with their various forms including the icon format. This diagram has been created in Enterprise Architect to demonstrate the structure of the language.

Figure: Showing the layers and aspects of the core framework


The Active Structure aspect defines structural concepts that can exhibit behavior directly. Elements such as Business Actors in the Business Layer and the Application Component in the Application layer are examples. These are like the subjects in our natural languages.

The Behavior aspect defines behaviors allocated to structural elements and includes elements such as services, functions, processes, and more. The structural elements define the element that exhibits the behavior. These are like the verbs in our natural languages.

The Passive structure aspect defines elements that are the recipients of behavior.  These elements are typically information, data, and physical objects. These are like the objects (or predicates) in our natural languages.


ArchiMate defines a layered and service-oriented paradigm for architectural models. The higher layers utilize services provided by the lower layers. The layers are abstract concepts, and an architectural practice or team is free to organize their models according to any structure.  The layers provide a continuum from the stakeholders and users defined in the business layer to the virtual or physical technology elements that provide the platform for the middle technology layer..