The History of Architecture

The History of Architecture
Eva Tvrdíková
Ancient Egyptian Architecture
(from 3000 BC to 700 BC)
Egyptian architecture is easily recognizable, thanks to its most famous
buildings – pyramids. The construction of these impressive burial places for
pharaohs and their families required between 20,000 and 30,000 workers.
Construction materials were limestone and sun-baked bricks. Workers had to
transport materials by sled and than they had to lift the blocks using the system of
ramps and pulleys. Other Egyptian structures were temples and tombs, which were
often decorated with hieroglyphics and carvings.
The Great Pyramid of Giza
Classical architecture
(from 600 BC to 500 AD)
Symmetry ruled the ancient Greek and Roman buildings. We can still see the
effects of classical architecture in today's buildings. Roman architect Marcus Vitruvius,
who lived during the first century BC, believed that builders should use mathematical
principles for construction of temples. Classical buildings were supported by sets of
columns with decorative bands above, called friezes (vlysy). Greeks differentiated among
three types of column – Doric, Ionic and Corinthian. Good example of early Greek
classical architecture is famous Parthenon in Athens.
After conquest of Greece by the Roman Empire, builders took many examples
from Greek architecture but gave their structures more decorations. The invention of
concrete helped the Romans build arches (oblouky) and domes (kupole). The Roman
Coliseum is a famous example of Roman classical architecture.
The Parthenon
The Coliseum
Romanesque Architecture
(11 – 13th century)
This style was inspired by Roman architecture, continuing the tradition of
rounded arches and columns. Romanesque buildings were monumental, supported by
massive walls, and had very small windows. Wooden roofs were replaced by ceilings
(stropy), which were constructed with barrel and cross vaulting (valená a křížová klenba).
The most representative buildings are the rotunda and basilica. A good example of
Romanesque architecture is the French monastery in Cluny.
The French Monastery in
Gothic Architecture
(12 – 15th century)
Gothic architecture began mainly in France, where architects were inspired
by Romanesque architecture and the pointed arches (lomené oblouky) of Spanish
Moorish architecture. It's easy to recognise Gothic buildings because of their arches,
ribbed vaulting (žebrová klenba), flying buttresses (opěrné pilíře), elaborate sculptures
(like gargoyles) and stained glass windows.
Gothic architecture was originally known as “French Style”. During the
period of Renaissance it fell out of fashion and it was not respected by many artists.
They marked it as “Gothic” to suggest it was the crude work of German barbarians
(Goths). Examples of Gothic architecture: Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and St.
Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin.
St. Patrick's Cathedral
Notre Dame de Paris
Renaissance Architecture
(15 – 17th century)
A return to classical ideas brought an “age of awakening” to Italy, France and
England. During the Renaissance, architects were inspired by the symmetrical and
well-balanced buildings of Greece and Rome. The buildings lost the Gothic vertical
dimension but gained range. Other typical features were columns, arches and domes as
well as harmonious arrangements of doors and windows. Characteristic building was
the palace. St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican and the Louvre in Paris are examples of
Renaissance architecture.
St. Peter's Basilica
Baroque Architecture
(17 – 19th century)
Elements of the Baroque architecture are complicated decorations, paintings
and contrasts between light and shadow. The final effect of this style is tension and
humility. Baroque looks different in different countries. In Italy, where it started, the
style is reflected in dramatic churches with irregular shapes, huge domes and
extravagant ornamentation. In France is highly decorated combined with classical
features. Sacred buildings and chateaux were typical for this style. Some examples of
Baroque architecture: Trevi Fountain in Rome, Palace of Versailles in Paris and St.
Paul's Cathedral in London.
Trevi Fountain
Palace of Versailles
St. Paul's Cathedral