Architecture, History_ Evolution of Building Design

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  • HistoryofArchitecture(3,000BCEpresent)EvolutionofBuildingDesign

    Contents

    ArchitectureandArtEgyptianSumerianEarlyIrishMinoanGreekRomanByzantineRomanesqueGothicRenaissanceBaroqueRococoNeoclassical19thCenturyArchitectureFrankLloydWrightAmericanSkyscrapers20thCenturyArchitecture

    StPeter'sBasilica,Rome,showingMaderno'sfacadeandtheadaptedDome,originallydesignedbyMichelangelo.Renaissancestyle.

    TajMahal,India(163254)AsuperbexampleofMughal(Mogul)architecture.

    RESOURCESForarchitecturalterms,see:ArchitectureGlossary.Toseehowarchitecturefitsintotheevolutionoffinearts,see::HistoryofArt.

    RelationshipBetweenArchitectureandArt

    EversinceAntiquity,architecturetheartofdesigningandconstructingbuildingshasalwaysbeencloselyintertwinedwiththehistoryofart,foratleastthreereasons.First,manypublicworks(especiallyreligiousbuildings)weredesignedwithaestheticsinmind,aswellasfunctionality.Theywerebuilttoinspireaswellasserveapublicfunction.Asaresult,theyinvolvedtheservicesofawiderangeof'artists'anddecorativecraftsmenaswellaslabourers.Second,inmanyofthesebuildings,theexteriorsandinteriorsactedasshowcasesforfineartpainting(eg.SistineChapel),friezeandreliefsculpture(eg.TheParthenon,EuropeanGothiccathedrals),stainedglassart(eg.ChartresCathedral),andotherartworkslikemosaicsandmetalwork.Thirdly,publicbuildingprogramstypicallywenthandinhandwiththedevelopmentofvisualart,andmostmajor'arts'movements(eg.Renaissance,Baroque,Rococo,Neoclassical)influencedbotharchitectureandthefinearts.

    AncientArchitecture

    Earlyarchitecturehadtwomainfunctions:(1)toconsolidatesecurityandpower(2)topleasetheGods.Thericherthesociety,themoreimportantthesefunctionsbecame.Seealso:HistoryofArt:Timeline.

  • EgyptianArchitecture

    ThefirstgreatcivilizationtoemergearoundtheMediterraneanbasinwasthatofEgypt(c.31002040BCE).Inadditiontoitsownwrittenlanguage,religionanddynasticrulingclass,itdevelopedauniquestyleofEgyptianarchitecture,largelyconsistingofmassiveburialchambersintheformofPyramids(atGiza)andundergroundtombs(inthedesolateValleyoftheKings,Luxor).Designwasmonumentalbutnotarchitecturallycomplexandemployedpostsandlintels,ratherthanarches,althoughEgyptianexpertiseinstonehadastronginfluenceonlaterGreekarchitecture.FamousexamplesofEgyptianpyramidarchitectureinclude:TheStepPyramidofDjoser(c.2630BCE)designedbyImhoteponeofthegreatestarchitectsoftheancientworldandTheGreatPyramidatGiza(c.2550BCE),alsocalledthePyramidofKhufuor'PyramidofCheops'theoldestoftheSevenWondersoftheWorld,ascompiledbyAntipaterofSidon(170120BCE).Later,duringtheMiddleandLateKingdoms(c.2040300CE),theEgyptiansconstructedaseriesofpalacesatKarnak(eg.TempleofAmon,1530BCEonwards).Thesestructureswereadornedwithadiverserangeofartworksfewofwhichsurviveincludingmurals,panelpaintings,sculptures,andmetalwork,depictingvariousGods,deities,rulersandsymbolicanimalsintheuniqueEgyptianhieraticstyleofart,togetherwithhieroglyphicinscriptions.Formorespecificdetails,see:EarlyEgyptianArchitecture(31002181)EgyptianMiddleKingdomArchitecture(20551650)EgyptianNewKingdomArchitecture(15501069)LateEgyptianArchitecture(1069BCE200CE).

    ForacomparisonwiththepyramidarchitectureoftheearlyAmericas,see:PreColumbianArt(c.1200BCE1535CE).

    SumerianArchitecture

    Meanwhile,inMesopotamiaandPersia(c.3200323BCE),theSumeriancivilizationwasdevelopingitsownuniquebuildingatypeofsteppedpyramidcalledaziggurat.ButincontrasttothepyramidsoftheEgyptianPharaohs,zigguratswerenotbuiltastombsbutasmanmademountainstobringtheSumerianrulersandpeopleclosertotheirGodswhosupposedlydwelthighupinmountainstotheeast.Zigguratswereconstructedfromclayfiredbricks,oftenfinishedwithcolouredglazes.Formoredetails,see:SumerianArt(c.45002270BCE).ForotherculturesofancientIraq,see:Assyrianart(c.1500612BCE)andHittiteart(c.16001180BCE).Foranoverallview,see:Mesopotamianart(c.4500539).Seealso:PrehistoricArtTimeline.

    EarlyIrishArchitecture

    TowardstheendoftheStoneAge,ceremonialmegaliths(structuresbuiltfromlargestones)liketheKnowthmegalithictomb(c.3300BCE)andNewgrangepassagetomb,begantoappearinNorthernEurope(ThisformofMegalithicartisexemplifiedbytheStonehengestonecircle.)Eitherarrangeduprightintheopen,orburiedandroofedovertoforma'dolmen',theseheavystonestructuresarebelievedbymostarcheologiststohavehadareligiousorritualisticfunction,andinsomecasesthealignmentoftheirstonesrevealsasophisticatedknowledgeofastronomy.ThecomplexengravingsunearthedatNewgrangemarkthebeginningofvisualartsinIreland.Formoreaboutancientandmedievalbuildings,pleaseseeArchitecturalMonumentsofIreland.Foroldertypesofhistoricalsite,seeArcheologicalMonumentsofIreland.

    MinoanArchitecture

    ThefirstEuropeanartofClassicalAntiquitywascreatedbytheMinoans,basedontheislandofCrete.Minoanarchitectureutilizedamixtureofstone,mudbrickandplastertoconstructelaboratepalaces(eg.PalaceofKnossosc.17001400BCE)aswellasdomedburialchambers(tholos)hiddeninthehills.Manyofthesebuildingsweredecoratedwithcolourfulmuralsandfrescopaintings,depictingmythologicalanimalsymbols(eg.thebull)andevents.UnfortunatelymostMinoanarchitecturewasdestroyedbyearthquakesaround1200BCE.CretewasthentakenoverbytheMyceneans

  • frommainlandGreece,fromwhereaunifiedGreekcultureandcivilizationemergedafewcenturieslater.

    GreekArchitecture

    ThehistoryofartandarchitectureinAncientGreeceisdividedintothreebasiceras:theArchaicPeriod(c.600500BCE),theClassicalPeriod(c.500323BCE)andtheHellenisticPeriod(c.32327BCE).[Seealso:Aegeanart.]About600BCE,inspiredbythetheoryandpracticeofearlierEgyptianstonemasonsandbuilders,theGreekssetaboutreplacingthewoodenstructuresoftheirpublicbuildingswithstonestructuresaprocessknownas'petrification'.Limestoneandmarblewasemployedforcolumnsandwalls,whileterracottawasusedforrooftilesandornaments.Decorationwasdoneinmetal,likebronze.

    Likepaintersandsculptors,Greekarchitectsenjoyednoneoftheenhancedstatusaccordedtotheirsuccessors.Theywerenotseenasartistsbutastradesmen.Thusnonamesofarchitectsareknownbeforeaboutthe5thcenturyBCE.Themostcommontypesofpublicbuildingsweretemples,municipalstructures,theatresandsportsstadiums.

    ArchitecturalMethodsofAncientGreece

    Greekarchitectureusedsimplepostandlintelbuildingtechniques.Itwasn'tuntiltheRomanerathatthearchwasdevelopedinordertospangreaterdistances.Asaresult,Greekarchitectswereforcedtoemployagreatmanymorestonecolumnstosupportshorthorizontalbeamsoverhead.Moreover,theycouldnotconstructbuildingswithlargeinteriorspaces,withouthavingrowsofinternalsupportcolumns.Thestandardconstructionformat,usedinpublicbuildingsliketheHephaesteumatAthens,employedlargeblocksoflimestoneoralightporousstoneknownastuff.Marble,beingscarcerandmorevaluablewasreservedforsculpturaldecoration,exceptinthegrandestbuildings,suchastheParthenonontheAcropolis.

    GreekBuildingDesign

    Thetypicalrectangularbuildingdesignwasoftensurroundedbyacolumnsonallfoursides(eg.theParthenon)ormorerarelyatthefrontandrearonly(egtheTempleofAthenaNike).Roofswerelaidwithtimberbeamscoveredbyterracottatiles,andwerenotdomed.Pediments(theflattenedtriangularshapeateachgableendofthebuilding)wereusuallyfilledwithsculpturaldecorationorfriezes,aswastherowoflintelsalongthetopofeachsidewall,betweentheroofandthetopsofthecolumns.Inthelate4thand5thcenturiesBCE,Greekarchitectsbegantodepartfromthestrictlyrectangularplanoftraditionaltemplesinfavourofacircularstructure(thetholos),embellishedwithblackmarbletohighlightcertainarchitecturalelementsandproviderichcolourcontrasts.

    ThesebuildingswerefamouslyadornedwithahugerangeofGreeksculpturepedimentalworks,friezes,reliefsandvarioustypesoffreestandingstatueofafigurativenature,depictingmythologicalheroesandeventsinGreekhistoryandculture.

    PrinciplesofGreekArchitecture:ClassicalOrders

    ThetheoryofGreekarchitecturearguablythemostinfluentialformofclassicalGreekartwasbasedonasystemof'ClassicalOrders'rulesforbuildingdesignbasedonproportionsofandbetweentheindividualparts.Thisresultedinanaestheticallypleasingconsistencyofappearanceregardlessofsizeormaterialsused.TherewerethreeordersinearlyGreekarchitecture:theDoric,IonicandCorinthian.TheDoricstylewascommoninmainlandGreeceandlaterspreadtotheGreekcoloniesinItaly.TheIonicstylewasemployedinthecitiesofIoniaalongthewestcoastofTurkeyandotherislandsintheAegean.WheretheDoricstylewasformalandaustere,theIonicwaslessrestrainedandmoredecorative.Thethirdstyle,Corinthian,camelaterandrepresentedamoreornatedevelopmentoftheIonicorder.Thedifferencesbetweenthesestylesismostplainlyvisibleintheratiobetweenthebasediameterandheightoftheircolumns.Doric

  • architecture(exemplifiedbyGreekstructures,liketheParthenonandtheTempleofHephaestusinAthens)wasmorepopularduringtheClassicalage,whiletheIonicstylegainedtheupperhandduringthemorerelaxedperiodofHellenisticArt(c.32330BCE).

    FamousBuildingsofAncientGreece

    FamousexamplesofancientGreekarchitectureinclude:theAcropoliscomplex(550404BCE)includingtheParthenon(447422BCE),theTemplesatPaestum(550BCEonwards),theTempleofZeusatOlympia(468456BCE),theTempleofHephaistos(c.449BCE),theTempleofAthenaNike(427BCE),theTheatreatDelphi(c.400BCE),theTholosTempleofAthenaPronaia(380360BCE),andthePergamonAltarofZeus(c.166156BCE).Seealso:SculptureofAncientGreece.

    RomanArchitecture

    UnlikethemorecreativeandintellectualGreeks,theRomanswereessentiallypracticalpeoplewithaflairforengineering,constructionandmilitarymatters.Intheirarchitecture,asintheirart,theyborrowedheavilyfromboththeEtruscans(eg.intheiruseofhydraulicsforswampclearingandintheconstructionofarches),andalsotheGreeks,whomtheyregardedastheirsuperiorsinallvisualarts.However,withoutRomanartwithitsgeniusforcopyingandadaptingGreekstylesmostoftheartisticachievementsofGreekantiquitywouldhavebeenlost.

    ArchitecturalPrioritiesofAncientRome

    RomanarchitectureservedtheneedsoftheRomanstate,whichwaskeentoimpress,entertainandcaterforagrowingpopulationinrelativelyconfinedurbanareas.Drainagewasacommonproblem,aswassecurity.This,togetherwithRome'sgrowingdesiretoincreaseitspowerandmajestythroughoutItalyandbeyond,requiredpublicbuildingstobeimposing,largescaleandhighlyfunctional.ThisisexemplifiedbyRomanarchitecturalachievementsindrainagesystems,aqueducts(eg.theaqueductatSegovia,100CE,andover11aqueductsinthecityofRomeitself,suchasAquaClaudiaandAnioNovus),bridges(eg.thePontduGard)roads,municipalstructureslikepublicbaths(eg.theBathsofCaracallaandtheBathsofDiocletian),sportsfacilitiesandamphitheatres(eg.theColosseum7280CE),evencentralheatingsystems.Numeroustemplesandtheatreswerealsobuilt.Later,astheirempirespread,theRomanarchitectsseizedtheopportunitytocreatenewtownsfromscratch,designingurbangridplansbasedontwowidestreetsanorthsouthaxis(thecardo)andaneastwestaxis(thedecumanus).Thetowncentrewaslocatedattheintersectionofthetworoads.Theyalsobuiltupwardsforexample,Ostia,arichportcitynearRome,boastedanumberof5storeyapartmentblocks.

    ArchitecturalAdvances:Arches&Concrete

    Romanarchitecturewasassistedbymajoradvancesinbothdesignandnewmaterials.Designwasenhancedthrougharchitecturaldevelopmentsintheconstructionofarchesandroofdomes.Archesimprovedtheefficiencyandcapabilityofbridgesandaqueducts(fewersupportcolumnswereneededtosupportthestructure),whiledomedroofsnotonlypermittedthebuildingoflargeropenareasundercover,butalsolenttheexterioranimpressiveappearanceofgrandeurandmajesty,asinseveralimportantsecularandChristianbasilicas,likethePantheon.

    Developmentsinmaterialswerealsocrucial,aschronicledbytheRomanarchitectVitruvius(c.7810BCE)inhisbookDeArchitectura.ThisisexemplifiedbytheRomaninventionofconcrete(opuscementicium),amixtureoflimemortar,sand,water,andstones,inthe3rdcenturyBCE.ThisexceptionallystrongandconvenientsubstituteforstonerevolutionizedRomanengineeringandarchitecture.Astilecoveredconcretebegantoreplacemarbleasthemainbuildingmaterial,architectscouldbemoredaring.BuildingswerefreedfromtherectangularGreekdesignplan(withitsundomedroofsandlinesofpillarssupportingflatarchitraves)andbecamelessgeometricandmorefreeflowing.

  • LiketheirEgyptianandtheGreekpredecessors,architectsinancientRomeembellishedtheirpublicbuildingswithawiderangeofartworks,including:Romansculpture(especiallyreliefs,statuesandbustsoftheEmperor),frescomurals,andmosaics.

    FamousBuildingsofAncientRome

    TwoofthegreateststructuresofAncientRomeweretheColosseum(theellipticalFlavianamphitheatreinthecentreofRome)andTrajan'sColumn(amonumenttotheEmperorTrajan).SituatedtotheeastoftheRomanForum,theColosseumtook8yearstobuild,hadseatingfor50,000spectators.Historiansandarcheologistsestimatethatastaggering500,000peopleandover1millionwildanimalsperishedinthe'games'attheColosseum.Trajan'sColumn,locatedclosetotheQuirinalHill,northoftheRomanForum,wasfinishedin113CE.Itisrenownedforitsmagnificentandhighlydetailedspiralbasreliefsculpture,whichcirclestheshaftofthemonument23times,andnarratesTrajan'svictoryintheDacianWars.Theshaftitselfismadefrom20hugeblocksofCarraramarble,eachweighingabout40tons.Itstandsabout30metresinheightand4metresinwidth.AsmallerbutnolessimportantRomanmonumentwastheAraPacisAugustae(139BCE).

    ImpactofPoliticsandReligiononRomanArchitecture

    In330CE,aboutthetimeStPeter'sBasilicawascompleted,theRomanEmperorConstantineIdeclaredthatthecityofByzantium(laterrenamedConstantinople,nowIstanbulinTurkey),wastobethecapitaloftheRomanEmpire.Later,in395CE,followingthedeathofEmperorTheodosius,theempirewasdividedintotwoparts:aWesternhalfbasedfirstinRomeuntilitwassackedinthe5thcenturyCE,thenRavenna(SeeRavennamosaics)andaneasternhalfbasedinthemoresecurecityofConstantinople.Inaddition,Christianity(previouslyaminoritysect)wasdeclaredthesoleofficialreligionthroughouttheempire.Thesetwindevelopmentsimpactedonarchitectureintwoways:first,relocationtoConstantinoplehelpedtopreserveandprolongRomanculture,whichmightotherwisehavebeendestroyedbythebarbarianinvadersofItalysecond,theemergenceofChristianityprovidedwhatbecamethedominantthemeofarchitectureandthevisualartsforthenext1,200years.

    ByzantineArchitecture(330554CE)

    ByzantinearchitectsincludingnumerousItalianswhohadmovedtothenewcapitalfromItalycontinuedthefreeflowingtraditionofRomanarchitecture,constructinganumberofmagnificentchurchesandreligiousbuildings,duringtheeraof

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