Main Architecture 101 - From Frank Gehry to Ziggurats, an Essential Guide to Building Styles and...
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BYZANTINE CHURCHES The Earliest Houses of Christianity Christianity was started by the followers of Jesus Christ but did not really start to develop as an organized religion until several hundred years after his death. The Roman Empire had not been terribly welcoming to the Christians but in 313, the emperor Constantine I issued the Edict of Milan, legalizing Christianity. This is when the Christians began openly building churches. The beginning of the Byzantine era began with the triumph of the emperor Justinian (c. 482–565). Byzantine architecture was distinguished by the use of domes, which were symbols of heaven. Early church styles were eclectic but were generally modeled after Roman temples. (In fact in many cases, the Christians simply took over existing Roman temples.) The result was the Greek-cross plan. This church design included a central square section with four arms of equal length extending from it and a dome roof sitting above the square. A squinch, or arch, was placed in each corner of the square to hold up the dome. Spaces in these churches were huge and decorations were impressive—marble columns, mosaics, and sometimes even gold detailing dazzled worshipers. Christianity’s tenets required that its churches include certain features: A table for Communion A table for offerings Seats for the congregation A graveyard (because cremation was not allowed) Large spaces capable of holding a lot of people for the processions included in worship services Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo The Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna was constructed in the early sixth century. The exterior was very plain and made of brick. The interior layout centered on a semicircular apse. Mosaic renderings of Christian stories were included on the ceilings and walls. Christians also built memorials to the saints or martyrs, baptisteries (pools for the purpose of baptizing, a major rite) and mausoleums (tombs for people of note). Hagia Sophia Justinian’s Hagia Sophia (532–537), or Church of; the Divine Wisdom, in Istanbul, Turkey, is one of the most extravagant buildings of all time. It remained the biggest building for nearly 1,000 years and was the place where Byzantine emperors were crowned and the main focus of religious life in Constantinople. [image: ] It is, in fact, the third church built on the site. The architects were Anthemius of Tralles and Isidore of Miletus. They divided the space so that the clergy could perform their rituals but there was still enough room for a congregation to watch the service. At the center of the building, the architects constructed four giant limestone supports. These supports, or piers, were positioned to form a square and four arches were built on top of them. Within these arches were triangular shapes called pendentives. A pendentive is curved so that it fills the spaces that result when a round ceiling is placed on a square building. In other words, the dome was placed on the arches and the pendentives closed the space that was left between the arches. The dome was made of flat bricks that were laid with thick mortar over wood scaffolding. Windows that punctured the base of the dome let a lot of light to enter the interior space. Curved ceilings like arches, vaults, and domes are heavy and their weight creates a force that moves outward. This force is called horizontal thrust. Additional support is required so that the dome does not crumble under the horizontal thrust. At Hagia Sophia, the builders placed buttresses between the dome windows to reinforce the structure. They used a network of ribs inside the dome for additional strength. As the interior space stretches out to the east and west sides of the building, two half-domes push up against, or buttress, the main dome for additional support. These half-domes are reinforced by semi-domes. All these parts came together to send weight and force to the foundation. Builders included four large rectangular blocks that push up against the main piers to help distribute force and weight in the proper direction. The interior walls beneath the main arches include a number of windows and rows of columns called colonnades. Rebuilding Hagia Sophia Hagia Sophia is the greatest masterpiece of Byzantine architecture. Twenty years after it was built, though, the church was rocked by a major earthquake. Part of the main dome and one of the semi-domes collapsed. The renovation took on a more hemispherical shape to counteract the tremendous forces on the dome. It turned out the original dome was too shallow to hold all the tension. The new shape was just right and has lasted down to today. The new architect, Isidore the Younger, nephew of one of the original architects, added heavier buttresses and a steeper dome. BAROQUE STYLE The Power of the Dramatic Baroque is characterized by a sense of dramatic emotion and energy. The movement began in Rome after the Renaissance, partly as a reaction against the Protestant Reformation. At that time, the Catholic Church commissioned a great deal of art and architecture. Although the church was wealthy and powerful, reformers such as Martin Luther and John Calvin questioned its ethical and theological foundations. Donations from wealthy church members were misused by the church leaders who lined their pockets and led worldly lives (Pope Alexander VI, for example, had nine children while he held office, including Lucrezia Borgia and her brother Cesare). The church raised additional funds by selling pardons and indulgences, often at exorbitant prices. More importantly to reformers, such a practice implied that the church had the power to remit sins, rather than God. This intense corruption ignited a German monk named Martin Luther, and in 1517 he nailed a document to the door of the All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg, Germany. The document contained ninety-five “theses” or propositions about the Catholic Church, none of which the pope and Catholic hierarchy could accept. The Catholic Church was helpless against the growing number of dissenters. They realized they could no longer single out naysayers and make public examples of them by declaring them heretics and punishing them. They were suffering from a public image problem and they needed to do some positive, civic-minded things to change it. The Catholic Counter-Reformation was their program to reform themselves and encourage people to come back to the church. The Council of Trent The Council of Trent, which met between 1545 and 1563, was the centerpiece of the Catholic Counter-Reformation. The council was made up of bishops and theologians. The goal was to restore peace among Christians through reaffirming the morals and ethics of the church leaders and defining the doctrine that was shared with followers. Through their theories and policies, the council encouraged the Baroque building boom. The Dramatization of Art The Baroque style reinforced the Catholic beliefs but in a violently theatrical way. Baroque architecture emphasized the contrast between dark and light, called chiaroscuro, to add drama to all its forms. Baroque buildings, by using curved lines, concaves, and oval shapes, played optical tricks that brought out textures and complexities. Ceilings were painted, walls were gilded. Often spectators felt as if they were in motion. Sculpture, painting, and architecture were sensual. Features of Baroque Lavish, dramatic paintings featured on ceilings and walls, often containing optical illusions Spiraled columns Grand, sweeping stairways that emphasized grandeur and space Domes Long, curvilinear forms Complicated shapes Gianlorenzo Bernini The Basilica of St. Peter in Rome has incredible meaning and importance for the Christian religion and is considered to be the center of the Catholic faith. Pilgrims come from all over the world to visit the structure. When Sixtus V came to the papacy the planned rebuilding of it had again stalled. Michelangelo had been working on the dome but when he died construction halted. Pope Sixtus V decided to resume the building and to redesign the piazza in front of it, which included a forty-foot Egyptian obelisk. After Pope Sixtus V died, several other architects worked on the project before the dome was finally consecrated in 1626. In 1629, Gianlorenzo Bernini (1598–1680), a prodigy in sculpture, architecture, and city planning, was asked to serve as the official architect, a position he held until his death. Bernini’s work dominated the Baroque movement in Rome for years. The interior of St. Peter’s is the best example of his influence. One of the most marvelous sites to see today is his nearly ninety-foot-high bronze baldacchino, the permanent canopy in the middle of the nave that sits over the supposed site of Peter’s tomb. The Bronze for the Baldacchino Bernini completed the baldacchino during the papacy of Urban VIII, a member of the powerful Barberini family. Because of the amount of bronze needed for the structure, Bernini appealed for assistance to the pope, who ordered the bronze stripped from the roof of the Pantheon. Thus the saying sprang up, “What the barbari (barbarians) could not do has been done by the Barberini.” Bernini designed St. Peter’s Square, an open space recognized all over the world. It is where the faithful assemble to hear the pope deliver his blessings. It includes an oval section, in the center of which is positioned the Vatican obelisk, and a trapezoidal section at the entrance of the church. Bernini surrounded the piazza with 284 columns and crowned them with statues of saints. The colonnades stretch out like two great arms, welcoming the pilgrims who come to pay their respects to St. Peter’s tomb. The piazza is big enough to accommodate more than 250,000 people. Bernini also designed the Scala Regia, a ceremonial staircase, for Pope Alexander VII. The stairs get narrower as they get higher, which creates the illusion that they go on forever. There is a landing halfway up the passage, lit from a hidden source. This creates a dramatic and thought-provoking effect. Cultural Distinctions As the Baroque spread throughout Europe it adapted to regional styles. In general, in northern Europe the Baroque style was less flamboyant and openly theatrical than in the south. The English especially were more restrained. In Spain and Latin America, the buildings were recognizable by their intense sculptures, while French Baroque was comparatively reserved. The French favored a rectilinear approach with predictable geometry instead of the curves and convex shapes that were so popular in Italy. The style in France was in line with the strict political system that evolved under Louis XIV. The Louvre Louis XIV maintained strict control over all parts of his kingdom, and the building and crafts guilds, for that reason, were under his control. He established an academy that conveyed a national style pointing to the absolute glory of France. The Louvre, then a palace, was rebuilt. Bernini actually submitted a proposal for the project but it was rejected because it did not look French enough; his main idea was to add a curved wall. The three men who took on the project, painter Charles Lebrun, architect Louis Le Vau, and physician Claude Perrault, developed something more restrained with a classical symmetry. They set the style for seventeenth-century French architecture. Each window in the Louvre is topped by a small pediment. The windows are separated by pairs of columns that stretch two stories high. These columns are linked by an entablature that stretches continuously around the building. The roof is encircled by a balustrade, or railing supported by rungs, which accentuates the length of the structure. The central pavilion is designed like the front of a Roman temple with a pediment. NEOCLASSICISM Resurgence in Ancient Styles In the middle of the eighteenth century, a group of artists emphasized the art and architecture of ancient times. They delved deeper than any revivalists before them to understand the achievements of the ancient civilizations; this meant studying life in antiquity and digesting the history behind different cultures. The movement was stimulated in part by the expansion of archaeological projects. Books were being published about ancient sites and the story behind ruins. Road construction workers in the kingdom of Naples had uncovered the city of Pompeii. Excavations started at several different ancient sites, which provided scholars and architects with more information about Roman building than they had ever had before. Mount Vesuvius Erupts In C.E. 79, Mount Vesuvius erupted, sending scorching gases and a cloud of ash so powerful and quick that it buried the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Both cities had been bustling centers of culture and business. The volcanic debris froze them in place. In fact, it was not until the eighteenth century that they were discovered, and because the ash had so perfectly preserved them in the exact moment of the destruction, archaeologists were able to learn about them and their culture. Descriptions of Egypt When Napoleon Bonaparte led a military expedition to Egypt in 1798, he took with him a large group of archaeologists and engineers. They returned and wrote accounts of what they had seen. Napoleon had established the Institut d’Égypte, which was a fraternity of scholars. The institute examined math, physics, political economy, literature, and arts. Napoleon sat in on the meetings and made recommendations. The institute members were drawn to other subjects as well and were soon embarked on their own paths of discovery. Institute members traveled through the country, examining the Egyptian monuments and temples and then making very precise engineering renderings that they could share with others. All their efforts culminated in a multivolume work called Description de l’Égypte, which included detailed information about the discoveries at these ancient sites. These publications were wildly popular, and designers and architects back in Europe were inspired by the drawings in them. Engravings of Rome Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720–1778) created a giant engraved map of ancient Rome in which he illustrated buildings both real and imagined. It was inspiring to many, and he worked on engravings of the ancient ruins until he died. He also made a series of sixteen etchings called Le Carceri, or The Prisons. These were illustrations of laborers, but the engravings contained unusual light sources that made them eerie and conveyed a sense of doom. Buildings were half buried; rooms were filled with chains and heavy doors. The workers were busy among architectural features like vaults and arches. These plates were huge but were produced in large quantities and cheap to own so they were distributed everywhere. Piranesi etched the first set of fourteen plates in the 1740s but then he reissued them in the 1760s and added two more. In that series he made an even deeper contrast between light and dark and made the architectural forms more elaborate. Now the vaults, arches, and stairways seemed to recede. The images were more precise, which made them even more ominous. Later, the Romantic writers were especially fond of these pieces because of their dark implications. Emerging Eclecticism Thomas Daniell’s Antiquities of India and the Jesuit translations of the Koran and Confucius added to the bank of knowledge Europeans were accumulating about the ancient, non-Western world. All of these works would serve as inspiration for architects and push new boundaries in design. So many styles working together would eventually make way for the eclecticism that emerged in the nineteenth century. Neoclassicism as the French Revolutionary Style During the French Revolution, people were looking for a style that invoked a political and moral sense of purpose. They were looking for something to express themes of civic duty and public virtue. Neoclassical style provided that by linking back to the days of antiquity when Romans required the same symbolism from their art and architecture. French Neoclassicists became enraptured with the idea of geometry; simple shapes could be used to make entire buildings. Étienne-Louis Boullée (1728–1799) was an inventive practitioner of Neoclassicism. He worked on a number of projects, including some particularly influential designs that were never even built. Boullée created a cenotaph for Sir Isaac Newton. The structure was a hollow sphere. The top was punctured with little holes so that light shining in would look like the stars in the night sky. A huge lamp on the inside hung from the ceiling, representing the sun. Federalist Style The American Revolution presented an opportunity for Americans to break completely with their colonial past. The architecture, often called “Colonial Georgian,” still conjured up images of England and the king, which now seemed inappropriate. Not only had the Americans thrown out the foreign oppressors, but they completely threw out the system of monarchy. They developed their own system with a stable form of government and new principles and humanist ideas. This early period of independence needed a new style to accompany it. Neoclassicism with its Greek and Roman focus was a perfect expression of this new civic spirit. Thomas Jefferson was the portrait of thoughtful, measured Neoclassicism. He was classically educated and owned the first copy of Palladio’s Four Books of Architecture that ever reached American shores. He lived in Virginia and hated the architecture there which, at the time, was very colonial, stone, and wooden. He said once that the buildings looked like ovens. [image: ] He started building his own home in Virginia, Monticello (meaning “little mountain”), with some very classical traditions in mind. These included a portico, a dome, Doric pillars, an octagon plan, and a balustrade. Palladio liked one-story buildings best so Jefferson planned a structure that would look as if it were one story. Jefferson served as the American envoy to France after the revolution, which deepened his appreciation for Neoclassicism. He also visited temple ruins and used that vision for the State Capitol Building in Richmond, Virginia. He modeled the rotunda at the University of Virginia after the Pantheon with its continuous entablature, two layers of windows, pediment-topped ground floor, symmetry, and low, colonnaded buildings, with all the orders represented. GREEN ARCHITECTURE Responsible Building Green architecture or, as it is sometimes called, sustainable architecture, aims to minimize the impact of building on the environment. Practitioners of green architecture consider the impact of materials on human health. They emphasize the importance of using local, nonsynthetic products, harvesting natural resources responsibly, recycling, and reusing materials from previous structures. Green architecture also stresses the importance of space efficiency. Developing structures and communities that will not strain natural resources or the environment ensures availability for future generations. This means considering the renewable resources like water and energy sources such as solar. [image: ] California Academy of Sciences Renzo Piano (1937– ) designed a green roof for the California Academy of Sciences (2005–2008) that completely embodies these green building principles. The roof of the building was made of rolling terrain, and more than 1.7 million plants from nine different native species were planted on top of it. This provided a habitat for wildlife and encouraged settling of some endangered species such as the San Bruno butterfly. One of the earthen mounds forms a dome over a manufactured rainforest that stands four stories high. Mechanical windows were installed so that light and air can enter. A planetarium sits under the second mound. Right in the middle is an open-air piazza. Most of the administrative offices are situated so that they can receive natural light. The mound construction of the roof allows cool air to circulate down into the interior spaces underneath it. It also works to collect rainwater. The roof soil provides an additional six inches of insulation. Below, the floors are heated by radiant hot water. There are also skylights for ventilation, heating, and air conditioning. The builders used steel from recycled sources. They harvested timber from yield forests. They recycled almost all the demolition debris and donated 32,000 tons of sand to local initiatives that were funding projects to restore dunes. LEED Certification The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) runs a program called LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), a green building certificate program. LEED certification is an honor and they search for the most high-performing green buildings. They rate projects that fall into the following categories: Building design and construction Interior design and construction Building operations and maintenance Neighborhood development Homes LEED is an internationally recognized ranking system that uses a combination of credit categories like location and transportation, energy and atmosphere, water efficiency, and indoor environmental quality. Based on these categories, a project can earn points. The number of points determines the level of LEED certification. The levels are certified silver, gold or, best of all, platinum. Phipps Conservatory The Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, developed the Center for Sustainable Landscapes. It has received all the highest certifications including the Living Building Challenge, LEED platinum (one of the highest points ever awarded). It was built over a site that was previously a brownfield that had been paved over. Onsite solar photovoltaics meet 99 percent of the structure’s energy needs. A single wind turbine meets the rest. There are also fourteen geothermal wells. The structure uses half the energy of a comparable office building. The building achieves net-zero water by treating all gray water and black water onsite. It can then be used again for toilet flushing and for irrigating orchids. It also has systems for capturing energy that make sure none goes to waste. They recycle wastewater and collect rainwater, which ensures that the building’s owners never have to tap into city water. The area was formerly a brownfield, which means that the land was considered unsafe because of a pollutant. It has now been completely rehabilitated so that 150 noninvasive local plant species can survive there. The green roof holds eight-inch soil depth, which helps control the temperature in the building and prevents runoff. Wastewater is filtered in the wetland that has been constructed. Whole-House Systems Approach This approach considers all parts of a house and how the materials within a house might contribute to the house’s efficiency: Insulation Appliances Water heating Heating and cooling Windows and doors Ultra-efficient (renewable energy systems) Solar water heating Solar electricity Advanced house framing, also called optimum value engineering, contributes to energy efficiency but also reduces both the amount of lumber used and the amount of waste created. Some advanced ideas for building include straw bale homes, which involves post-and-beam construction or non-load–bearing construction. Straw bales are then used to fill in the framework. This is a very difficult process. Log homes use logs to provide both walls and insulation. Earth-sheltered homes can be either above or below the ground. These houses allow for ventilation and natural light. This helps with heating and cooling efforts. Sustainability Treehouse The Boy Scouts of America established the Sustainability Treehouse (2013) in Glen Jean, West Virginia, as an educational structure. The development coincided with the Boy Scout’s new merit badge for sustainability. The architectural firm Mithun funded a sustainable education center. As you learn, you move up through the levels of the forest. This structure is located in the forest of the Summit Bechtel Reserve. It was designed by Mithun and another firm, BNIM, to have the least possible impact on the environment. The house was built partially from a prefabricated structure; had they prefabricated the entire structure, they would have needed to use cranes that would have done considerable damage to the immediate environment. They used local materials such as black locust wood. Energy is derived from solar panels and two wind turbines and a large cistern that collects and cleanses rainwater. The structure is made of indoor and outdoor platforms that shoot straight up through the forest. Each platform houses an exhibit that allows visitors to learn about the ecosystem. Energy input and output combine to create a structure that yields net-zero energy and net-zero water use. Staircases connect the platforms and stretch from the ground to 125 feet high, above the treetops. Exhibit areas include topics like how to conserve water and tips for energy alternatives. ART DECO Embracing Technology and Mass Production Like Art Nouveau and the Arts and Crafts movement before it, Art Deco was the product of an attempt to find something utterly modern. This style was a direct departure from the organic motifs featured in Art Nouveau. Art Deco advocated instead developed designs that embraced industry and exuded a faith in the technological and social constructs of the day. Proponents of Art Deco wanted to demonstrate glamour and luxury as a way to announce the dark days were over and there was a new prosperity. They were inspired by mass production, as well as by a cultural shift. Prohibition had ended and girls were making feminist statements by cutting their hair and dressing in shorter skirts. Morale was high and the future looked bright. [image: ] Art Deco emphasized luxury and newness with reflective materials like chrome, steel, and glass. Geometric patterns with strong lines and clear symmetry accented both interior and exterior surfaces. It was stylish and current, bucking revivalist tendencies in architecture to draw inspiration from the moment. The style first appeared at L’Exposition internationale des arts décoratifs in Paris in 1925. Cubism Cubism made an impact on several forms of architecture. Cubist artworks try to show paintings from multiple viewpoints. To do so, the objects depicted are broken up and reassembled. Eyes on a single face might look slightly different from each other, for example. The style was developed largely by Pablo Picasso (1881–1973) and Georges Braque (1882–1963). Architects were interested in the way it emphasized simple design and abstract presentation of objects without classical reference. Art Deco as American Style American architects believed Art Deco to be an important way to inject character into the American skyscraper. The Chrysler Building (1928–1931) is a magnificent example of Art Deco with its shiny top of stainless steel glinting in the sun and tiered arches lined with sunbursts on the prominent 185-foot tower top, or spire. Walter Chrysler, founder of Chrysler Motors Corporation, wanted to build a symbol of his company’s prosperity that would be recognizable all over the city. He asked architect William Van Alen (1883–1954) to build something even taller than the Eiffel Tower. When it appeared there was a chance that the building might be outrivaled by a bank tower on Wall Street, Van Alen quietly built the famous 185-foot spire inside the building. When it was done, he hoisted it up through the roof, shocking everyone. The building takes a streamlined approach to form with geometric patterns and stylized ornaments such as the stern-looking steel eagles that look out over the top of the building like gargoyles. These eagles mimic Chrysler’s hood ornaments. The spire glints with its stainless steel and triangular shapes punched into the aluminum arches that form the spire. The shaft is glazed brick with dark trim. The frieze is a series of simulated hubcaps—nods toward the Chrysler business. The interior is luxurious with red-hued Moroccan marble and exotic wood inlay decorating all the doors, including those of the thirty-two elevators. Features of Art Deco Architecture Rich colors Bold geometric shapes Lavish ornamentation Symmetry Rectilinear forms Clean, streamlined forms Art Deco as a Revival Style A revival of Art Deco known as Streamline Moderne occurred during the Great Depression and ended before World War II. Miami, a fairly new American city that was already experiencing a building boom, was in need of a look. This second wave of Art Deco took strong roots there. Streamline Moderne was more subdued than the original Art Deco, tempered by the economic downturn of the Great Depression. It was less decorative but used bright pastels, and ornamentation included glass blocks, floral images, and ship motifs. Some people even called it Tropical Deco. Whatever its name, there was a certain optimism to the look. Common features included rounded edges, porthole windows like those that appear on ships, stepped roofs, and neon lighting. Streamline Moderne in Transportation Streamline Moderne was not just an architecture style. It was also used in automobile design, ships, and many household appliances such as refrigerators. It was influenced by modern aerodynamic principles. Beginning in 1929, the Great Depression brought an end to the exotic, luxurious ornamentation of Art Deco, replacing it with a more austere, streamlined style. In light of the financial crisis, the original Art Deco style exuded a decadence that seemed frivolous and inappropriate. PRE-COLUMBIAN AMERICA Complex Civilizations in the New World The term pre-Columbian refers to the people and civilizations that existed in the Americas before the Europeans arrived in 1492. Some of these societies were highly developed with networks of city-states, road systems, and efficient building traditions. Their achievements are especially powerful when you consider the physiography of the region. There were chilly mountains, tropical forests, desert valleys, and coastlines, adding up to a complex of ecological systems. Despite the diversity in terrain and resources, the pre-Columbian Americans developed advanced building methods. The Inca used such methods and city-planning techniques; indeed, they have been compared to the Romans. The Inca The city of Cuzco, founded in 1430 in what is today Peru, was the center of the Inca civilization. The great ruler Pachacuti and his son organized the city-state and then set to conquering neighboring territories until they had amassed an empire triple the size it had been when they came to power. By the 1480s, the Inca Empire was so enormous that it stretched across the entire western coast of South America. The Inca Empire centered on the Andes Mountains and spread out over large sections of what are now Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile, and Columbia. Under such a large empire, there was tremendous diversity in the landscape, and the Inca were masterminds at using every bit of it. Farmers carved terraced fields into the steep mountainsides where they planted root vegetables that thrived in cold weather. They developed pastures on the mountain peaks for llamas, which were used for traveling and carrying communications. Capitalizing on the fertility of the valleys, they nestled maize and bean fields between the mountain ranges. They planted warm-weather crops such as squash, tomatoes, and fruit in the tropical climates situated farther inland. The people on the sandy coasts fished and hunted. Most of the town and city centers were found in the valleys. The empire emphasized a strict hierarchy under the emperor, who was called the Sapa Inca. This supreme ruler was more than just a king; he was the “son of the sun.” He made frequent trips to survey his empire and to double-check his subjects’ loyalty. When the Sapa Inca appeared, everyone was expected to show their humility by taking off their shoes and loading up their backs with a bundle or something that was a burden to carry. The nobles were the next most important people in the Incan hierarchy. This class included the emperor’s children, priests, judges, and army officers. The farmers, laborers, and craftsman came after them. This class worked very hard and established tight-knit communities that came together to share in domestic tasks. These groups, called ayllus, were like families. Inca Gods Temples were built for worshiping a number of deities of which the creator, Viracocha, was considered to be the most important. Inti was the sun god who was honored as the father of the Sapa Inca. Inti was married to his sister Mama Quilla (or Mama Killa), the moon. Pachamama was the goddess of earth, while Illapa, the weather god, ruled thunder, lighting, and rainstorms. There was a temple to Inti in the middle of every city. To honor the gods, sacrifice was a major part of their worship rituals. Incan temples, although attractive, were simple and tended to look very similar to one another. They were built of stone blocks that were laid without mortar. Each had a rectangular shape and a wooden or thatch roof. Machu Picchu Machu Picchu is the most famous site of Incan ruins, not least because it is one of the only locations found relatively intact. Since it was hardly the policy of the Spanish conquerors of the Inca to leave buildings intact, the chances are that in the case of Machu Picchu they probably never saw it. A popular hiking site today for visitors to the Inca Trail, it is at an elevation of more than 7,700 feet in the Andes Mountains, about fifty miles northwest of Cuzco. It was laid out like a large palace complex and archaeologists believe it was used as a getaway for the elite. From the ruins we can see that there was room for about 1,000 people to live in very close quarters. These people likely would have included kings, priests, and temple virgins. The grandest buildings like palaces and temples were built at the very top of the site. The buildings were made of white granite and stone. The Princess’s Palace was two levels of beautifully carved stone. One temple, called the Temple of the Three Windows, is a thirty-five-foot-long, forty-five-foot-wide hall with three windows made in a trapezoid shape. Thousands of steps lead to plazas and residential areas and a cemetery, while the main entrance leads directly to the Inca Trail. Scholars believe the Inca Trail, which is more than twenty-five miles long, was built especially for Machu Picchu and that its purpose was to give visitors a chance to prepare for the holy experience that awaited them. The trail takes about four days to hike. Stepped agricultural terraces appear on the eastern and western sides. It certainly was not easy to get water up to that elevation, so the settlement was probably watered by an aqueduct system. One of the most revered monuments is a large carved stone that functioned as a sundial. Called Intihuatana, it was known as the “post where the sun is tied.” Incan Roads The road system in the Inca Empire was one of the most impressive in the ancient world. There were some 25,000 miles of road, many of which were paved with stone. These bridges and roads were often only wide enough for two llamas to pass one another. Two main highways ran parallel, one along the coast and the other through the highlands. These roads were always packed with travelers. The large number of river gorges complicated road building. To span these cliffs, the Incas made bridges from braided reeds that could be anchored to either side by a stone platform. An inspector came by regularly to examine them for safety and make any necessary repairs. Inca Homes Most ordinary Inca homes were made of mud bricks, stone, or adobe. They were simple structures with a single stove to heat the interior, and a thatched grass roof. There was typically just one entrance covered with a cloth and perhaps a small, high window. The clay stove warmed the structure in the cold weather but there were no chimneys, so the smoke escaped through the window or the roof. Furnishings were modest—there might be a stone bench, niches for storage, and stone pegs for hanging things. Throughout the city, cold spring water ran through a stone channel for washing. Administrative buildings were often built with shaped granite blocks that were placed together without mortar. This was a smart innovation since it increased the chances that if a building were to be shaken by an earthquake, the bricks would fall neatly back into place. The builders shaped the blocks by hand with small hammers and bronze chisels. Aztecs The Aztecs lived in the Valley of Mexico in the thirteenth century. The remains of their capital, Tenochtitlán, lie under what is now Mexico City. At its height, the Aztec Empire stretched from what is now northern Mexico to Guatemala and El Salvador. Tenochtitlán was originally a series of islands but the Aztecs used earth to fill in the spaces between them. The city was organized as a grid and was divided into four sections that were bounded by four long roads. Right in the center of these sections was a huge plaza that was used for social gatherings at the ball courts, cultural and religious rituals, and worship at the pyramids and temples. The main thoroughfare was the widest road that ran through the center of the city, called Avenue of the Dead. The Aztecs had many rituals, including human sacrifice, and, lest anyone forget, the center of the square boasted a gruesome rack of skulls. The center of religious life was the pyramid which held shrines to the gods, temples, and areas for human sacrifice. Their religious practices included pulling hearts out of victims so that they could offer them, still pumping, to the gods. The Aztecs built the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon with mud bricks and limestone. Towering over 200 feet into the sky and 730 feet long on each side of the base, the Pyramid of the Sun was one of the largest structures ever built in the pre-Columbian Americas. Built in the center of the city along the Avenue of the Dead, it dominated the landscape in Tenochtitlàn. Religious symbolism heavily influenced Aztec construction and the way buildings were positioned in the city plan. The pyramid shape was meant to represent a sacred mountain. The Pyramid of the Sun was built on top of a long underground cave which was believed to be the place where the gods created worlds. The Pyramid of the Moon, built at the northern end of the Avenue of the Dead, is smaller at just over one hundred and fifty feet tall. It was built in stages as seven different pyramids stacked on top of one another. Mayans We know a lot about the Mayans because they developed a hyper-organized system of writing and recording history. The Mayan civilization was located in what is now Guatemala. This region included the most cities and independent states of all the pre-Columbian civilizations. Tikal was the most impressive of all of them with a population of 60,000. Tikal centered on a large open space called the Great Plaza. The most important buildings and monuments were positioned around this public area. The North Acropolis of Tikal is a group of pyramids that are densely packed together at the north end of the Great Plaza. At this site there are also inscribed steles, which are memorial slabs that stick out of the ground. Stone palaces and temples dominated the busy center of the city. The homes outside of the city were modest both in size and material. These small structures were usually made of wood and thatch and packed in closely to one another. When the Spaniards began their voyages of conquest to Latin America at the end of the sixteenth century, they conquered pre-Columbian America very quickly. The indigenous cultures and their methods of building vanished and were replaced by Europeans. MONASTERIES Centers of Learning Monasteries provided some of the most impressive architecture of the Middle Ages. Monks took a vow of poverty and isolation as a means to get closer to God. The first Christian monastery was founded in the early fourth century in Egypt but St. Benedict founded a monastery at Monte Cassino, Italy, in the sixth century that established the structure we are most familiar with. By the middle of the twelfth century, there were 500 monasteries in England alone. St. Benedict Benedict was one of the founding fathers of the monastic movement, particularly for his Rule, which codified monastic practices that had grown up over the centuries. The Benedictine monks took a strict vow of poverty, chastity, and obedience, dividing their day into religious services, physical labor, and the copying of religious manuscripts. The Frankish emperor Charlemagne ordered all monasteries in his region to follow the Rule of St. Benedict. Monasteries were part of Charlemagne’s strategy for controlling the territories that he had conquered. Benedict’s Rule became the main mode for monasteries and also convents throughout Europe. Before a potential monk took his vows he was asked to spend a year living at a monastery to make absolutely certain that it was the right choice for him. At the point that he took his vows, he shaved the crown of his head in what was called a tonsure, said to be an imitation of Christ’s crown of thorns. Monks tended to be well educated. Charlemagne decreed that monasteries needed to provide education even to those not intending to take holy orders. Monasteries were known as places that put a high premium on education, and for this reason an important part of the monastery was the library, to which was attached the scriptorium, where holy books were written or copied. Some of the books that modern historians have relied on to learn more about the Middle Ages came out of monasteries; St. Bede, a monk at the northern English monasteries of Wearmouth and Jarrow, wrote the Ecclesiastical History of the English People, a seminal work in our understanding of the history of early England. Monasteries were ruled by abbots, and convents were run by abbesses. Entering a holy order at one of these establishments was a life commitment. Monks and nuns spent their days attending worship services, reading, teaching, and caring for the poor. They also had to tend to the monastery’s land, which might include a farm, garden, and ponds. These activities allowed the monasteries to become self-sustaining, and with time some monasteries grew extremely wealthy, owning great tracts of land. Monks and nuns were expected to take in travelers and care for anyone sick, so their buildings needed to accommodate others beside themselves. Much was included within the walls: latrines, an infirmary, a cloister (a covered walkway surrounding an open courtyard), a water tower, a herbarium, a church, a refectory (where the monks ate), a chapter house (or dormitory), and a cemetery. The monastery functioned like a small town. Many monks became experts in specific arts or crafts. Charlemagne did much to encourage construction of rural monasteries during the Middle Ages, and by the tenth century, the general architectural structure of the monastery had been established. The church was the largest building, a double-ended basilica, usually with masonry walls and a timber truss roof. Often it needed to include multiple altars to honor individual saints. Whenever possible, as with other Christian churches, the monastic church was oriented along an east-west axis, with the altar on the eastern end. The westwork referred to the towers and other decorative elements on the western end of the church, which was its primary entrance. Branching off from the church were the other buildings of the monastery, grouped around a central square, or cloister. A cloister had four covered walkways that bordered it. Often, the monastery’s herb garden was located in the center of the cloister. To that end, it was often placed at the south side of the church, with maximum exposure to the sun. As well, the scriptorium, where the monks copied manuscripts, was placed where it would receive the greatest natural light. The cloister was, effectively, the heart of the monastery. The columns that supported its walkway roofs often included capitals that were covered with sculptures telling stories from the Bible. To remove the monks from temptation, monasteries were usually built in remote places. The monks searched for a place with a good water supply and land that could be tilled. In many cases, as monasteries settled and grew in size, secular communities sprang up around them. In 1098 a group of monks, led by Robert, abbot of Molesme, split away from the Benedictines and formed their own order, the Cistercians. These monks sought even more remote areas in which to build monasteries and were responsible for settling previously unpopulated parts of Europe, particularly France. Cistercian buildings were plain but elegant and had no stained windows, reflecting their concern for austerity. The Cistercians were reacting against the wealth that the Benedictines were amassing. Lorsch Abbey Gatehouse The Abbey of Lorsch was among those commissioned by Charlemagne, but today only the ninth-century gatehouse (Torhalle) remains. It is, however, a powerful testament to the heavy Roman influence on Carolingian architecture. The ground level boasts a row of triumphal arches. Between each arched entrance is a Corinthian column. Second-floor windows are surrounded by triangular frames. Here are the Carolingian aspects of the structure: a steeply pitched roof (that sheds the rain and snow of northern European winters) and decorative red and white tiles (made by local artisans). Destruction of the Monasteries In 1534, in a religious revolution Henry VIII broke from the Catholic Church and declared himself head of the Church of England. As part of this action and to gain badly needed wealth, he seized the lands belonging to English monasteries and dissolved them. By the time of Henry’s death in 1547, monasteries in England had effectively ceased to exist. LOUIS HENRY SULLIVAN The Father of Skyscrapers Louis Henry Sullivan (1856–1924) was sixteen when he was accepted at MIT but he attended for only a year before accepting a position working for Frank Furness, a Victorian-era architect who designed hundreds of buildings in Philadelphia. It was not long before the depression of 1873 squelched the building opportunities in Philadelphia and Sullivan had to leave his job. He decided to join the herd of other young architects who rushed to Chicago after the Great Fire of 1871 to look for new opportunities. He found a job almost immediately working for William Le Baron Jenney, the mastermind behind the Home Insurance Building, which was largely considered to be the first skyscraper. After his time in Chicago, Sullivan went to Paris where he studied at the École des Beaux-Arts. The Auditorium Building When Sullivan returned to the United States he partnered with Dankmar Adler, and together they won a series of theater commissions. One of their most admired theaters was the Auditorium Building in Chicago (1887–1889), a tall structure that was the first ever to be used for multiple purposes and businesses. For that time, this was a brand-new concept. The remarkable complex included a 4,200-seat theater, a hotel, an office building, and storefronts on the ground level. Adler was experienced in acoustical engineering so the theater had state-of-the-art sound quality. They also installed electric lighting and air conditioning, which further established it as one of the more technologically innovative buildings of its time. It even included fireproofing features throughout the entire structure. The Auditorium Building was massive. It had been constructed with a shell structure, meaning the stones were stacked on top of each other. It showed the way in which Sullivan was influenced by Richardson’s Marshall Field Wholesale Store (see Henry Hobson Richardson). The ground level boasts three strong arches reaching over the entryways. Just above them sits a cantilevered block of windows, behind which is the hotel lobby. The building has a vertical composition with long horizontal rows of windows that are separated by thick columns that stretch up the middle of the building, drawing the eye upward. The Wainwright Building In 1890, Adler and Sullivan won their second commission for a tall building, one that was intended to be an office building: the Wainwright Building in St. Louis, Missouri. At that point, many architects had started using steel frames but they were still nervous about whether a skeleton-and-skin building was safe. Even though the column-style steel frames were doing all the work to secure the structure, architects continued to place massive heavy stone in front of the frame to ensure that everything looked sturdy and wide. Sullivan was bold. He did not waste time with the heavy stones. Instead, he designed a building that emphasized the height and lightness of the building. He worked with bays of windows stretched horizontally across each of the seven office floors, each separated by strong vertical piers. He placed dominant piers at each of the four corners of the building to showcase the height. Even the color of the building was bold in red brick, granite, and terra cotta. It was constructed with a very modern style but Sullivan gave a nod toward some of the classical conventions in which he had been well trained. The composition was tripartite, inspired by a classical column. The roof was capped with a heavy cornice and just below it a large frieze decorated with a leafy motif. The frieze was pierced with the occasional bull’s-eye window behind which the elevator machinery and water tanks were housed. The spandrels were also decorated in a leafy pattern. Sullivan believed firmly that the design of a building should reflect its use. He touted that famous maxim, “Form ever follows function.” He believed that a person walking by the building on the street should be able to determine what went on in the Wainwright Building just by looking at it. The Chicago School Sullivan’s inventive approach to tall buildings earned him the title “the father of skyscrapers.” He inspired countless followers including Frank Lloyd Wright, whose Prairie style draws on some of Sullivan’s guiding principles. Sullivan’s modern aesthetic was so influential that much of Chicago’s new architecture began to take on a similar look and demeanor. Collectively, this style became known as the Chicago School. One of the most recognizable features of the Chicago School style is the three-part windows. Each includes a fixed center pane that is flanked by sash windows on either side. These side windows can slide open for ventilation. Features of the Chicago School Steel frames Swirling, circular patterns for ornamentation Terra cotta detailing Neoclassical features Composition similar to the three parts of a classical column Winning a Commission Typically, architects earn commissions by winning them. A major funder, or a city government, or a company owner—whoever is paying for the project—will put out an open call for proposals. They will describe their general vision, the main function of the building, and any technical considerations like the environment at the site or city codes with which the structure must comply. Then they will provide the specific criteria on which the proposal will be judged. When the winner is selected, usually by a jury, they are then awarded with a contract. ARCHITECTURE 101 FROM FRANK GEHRY TO ZIGGURATS, AN ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO BUILDING STYLES AND MATERIALS NICOLE BRIDGE [image: ] Avon, Massachusetts ALDO ROSSI Working in the Context of the City Born in Milan, Italy, to a bicycle manufacturer, Aldo Rossi (1931–1997) received an architecture degree in 1959 from the Polytechnic University of Milan. He served as editor of an architectural magazine called Casabella from 1955 to 1964. He was known internationally not just for his architecture but also his big drawings and influential theories. His work was intensely focused on emphasizing his social perspective. Rossi wrote, designed furniture, and painted. In the 1960s he began teaching, which he did for the rest of his life. Rossi’s The Architecture of the City Rossi wrote a powerful book called The Architecture of the City in 1966. In it, he presented the story of architecture and urban theory. He argued against the Modern movement and the functionalism that accompanies it. As a Post-Modernist, he pushed for a reclaiming of classicism and a renewed emphasis on craft. He was preoccupied with the topic of city neglect and believed that architects should build structures that work within the context of their cities instead of trying to shock and awe with something brazenly modern. This perspective became known as Nonrationalist. Cemetery of San Cataldo The San Cataldo Cemetery (1971–1984) in Modena was an extension of a cemetery at the same site that Cesare Costa designed in the nineteenth century. Rossi submitted his plan to a competition and won the commission. Just before beginning work on the design and construction of the cemetery, Rossi survived a car accident and was hospitalized. He had a lot of time to think while he was recovering. He had written about “fragments” in architecture and now he envisioned his broken body as a series of pieces that needed to be reassembled in order to mend. This vision is apparent in his final design at the cemetery. The area is enclosed with a wall. A desolate structure near the entrance gate looks like an abandoned building but is actually a temple. This lonely structure is a nondenominational venue for funeral services. A smokestack is a symbol of a communal grave for the unknown dead. As you walk through the site, you must pass through successive rectangles that get taller and thinner as they progress. Rossi’s design is so free of ornamentation that some people find it to be disturbing because of the severity of the open spaces where there should be a roof and doors. Some of the openings let in light and others hold cremated bodies. In his book, A Scientific Autobiography, Rossi distinguishes between cities for the living and cemeteries as cities for the dead. The fact that the interior has no roof is intended to symbolize the fact that when you are dead, you will not need a roof or shelter. Walking through the cemetery is like a metaphysical experience because it forces visitors to walk through death. A Floating Theater In 1979 Rossi designed a floating theater to commemorate the Venice Biennale, a contemporary art exhibit that occurs every other year. It was towed out to the Punta della Dogana, an art museum on the Grand Canal in Venice. The theater seated 250 around one central stage with an octagonal-shaped tower. It echoed the Venetian floating theaters of the past. Rebuilding Berlin Rossi was very active in a large campaign to revitalize Berlin in the 1980s. Berlin had been through a lot throughout the twentieth century and its infrastructure had suffered. Berlin’s Troubled Past Berlin had experienced strife throughout the twentieth century: 1920s: Economic devastation 1930s: Nazi takeover 1940s: Allied bombing raids 1960s–1980s: The Berlin wall Despite its complicated history, Berlin was still revered as the birthplace of Modernism. In the eighties Berlin launched a new campaign to rebuild and reinvigorate with special attention to restoring its architectural roots. In the late 1970s West Germany established the International Building Exhibition to clean up and develop the dead zones and eyesores around the city. They wanted to turn these areas into buildings and apartments. A couple hundred architects from all over the world threw their hats into the competitions for commissions. Aldo Rossi was one of them. He was ultimately involved in designing a number of buildings during the campaign in the mid-1980s. One of the goals of the campaign to restore Berlin was to honor the traditions of the buildings already developed in the area. For example, structures in Berlin were limited to a six-story height. Also, houses came right up to the sidewalk and included courtyards and large hallways for the public. The city was also lively. To preserve the city’s diversity, one architect was assigned a block for which he would create a master plan. Then a group of architects would each be given a building on the block to complete in their own way. One of Rossi’s most popular buildings was an understated structure made of red brick and yellow blocks. He used colored bands and I-beam lintels over the windows to show how the building had been constructed. After the fall of the wall in 1989, Rossi redesigned the Quartier Schützenstrasse, which had previously been a border strip associated with Allied Checkpoint Charlie. This area, still considered a major world interest in the Cold War, was a disaster at the time the wall came down. Rossi in his typical style developed buildings that recalled the historic cityscape. He divided the site into smaller plots using multicolored façades and roofs. He included a replica of Michelangelo’s courtyard façade at Rome’s Palazzo Farnese (an important building in the Renaissance). The total number of façades is actually more than the number of houses. Most buildings are residential; the rest are a mix of commercial and residential. Two large and two small interior courtyards bring light to the block. The colors are supposed to recall colors of antique architecture: bright red and green aluminum, muted red, blue, and yellow for stucco. The stone was light gray and pink. The design included exposed sheet metal. Windows vary in shape and there are attics. He wanted it to look like a city within a city. THE BAUHAUS Refining German Design Following World War I, Germany was a disaster. The economy was in a slump, many young men had been killed in the fighting, and industrial production was suffering. There was a growing sentiment that embracing industry might actually raise the quality of German design and improve the situation. In 1919, architect Walter Gropius was promoted to lead an educational institution that would combine a school of Arts and Crafts with a fine arts academy. Named the Bauhaus (translated as “House of Construction”), the curriculum was modeled after the medieval guilds in that apprentices worked to earn journeyman’s certificates. Students took craft workshops and studied theory. The professors were often painters. In fact, Wassily Kandinksy (1866–1944) was a member of the faculty for more than ten years. Gropius saw the curriculum as being in direct contrast to the Beaux Arts tradition. Sample Bauhaus Courses Study of Form and Theory of Materials Study of Nature Study of Materials Composition Study Space Study Glass Clay Stone Textiles Building Design The Bauhaus philosophy was that the best product would come from an interdisciplinary effort. Everyone from the fine artists to architects worked together from planning through construction. They respected the synergy between the individual and modern society but they rejected any style elements that seemed too classical or fancy. Walter Gropius Gropius had a strong background in architecture. For one thing, his father was an architect as was his great uncle, renowned Berlin architect Martin Gropius. One of his first jobs was as an assistant to the famous architect Peter Behrens (1868–1940). Behrens was particularly invested in the effort to bring an industrial angle to traditional design. He designed the AEG Turbine Factory in Berlin, a classically inspired building that exuded power and reverence for industry. Gropius then set up a firm with Adolf Meyer. Their first major commission was the Fagus Factory at Alfeld-an-der-Leine. The building boasted extremely innovative design details that later became associated with International style: glass curtain walls that were supported by a steel framework topped by a flat roof. The building looked quite modern, in part because there was no solid masonry or decoration visible on the exterior. Gropius was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright. Things were going well but then he had to put his own work on hold in order to serve in World War I. After the war, Gropius thought a lot about what it would take to rebuild Europe efficiently. He was preoccupied with how to develop well-planned housing that was visually appealing but also respectful of the post-war environment. Features of Bauhaus Buildings Flat roofs Smooth façades Cubic shapes Muted approaches to color: white, gray, beige, black Open floor plans Functional furniture Steel frame Glass curtain walls The Bauhaus Workshop As the Bauhaus aged, conflicts with its administration became complicated. Flamboyant faculty and a political student body were becoming the subject of much interest beyond architecture. The finances of the school began to decline, and it came under increasing scrutiny from the Nazis. Gropius tried desperately to put things back on track. He fired the rowdy faculty and moved the campus from Weimar to Dessau. He started selling plans for items that could be mass produced. Despite Gropius’s best efforts, eventually the Nazis prevailed and destroyed the school, which they believed to be a decadent expression of communist values. American International Style When the Nazis rose to power and the Bauhaus collective disbanded, many of the leading architects were reunited in the United States where they resumed their efforts in the Modern movement. For the first time, the United States took the lead in architectural theory and design. The American extension of Bauhaus became known as International style. It shed the connections to social politics and instead aligned itself with the parameters of capitalism. Today it is the preferred style for office buildings and upscale luxury homes. By the mid-twentieth century, American International style had evolved to accommodate the vast array of climates and terrain across the United States. Even small regional identities began to form, such as Desert Modernism, which was popular in dry climates like California and areas of the Southwest. United Nations Secretariat Building This is probably the best contemporary example of International style. It was designed by a team of international architects including Le Corbusier (1887–1965), Oscar Niemeyer (1907–2012), and Wallace Harrison (1895–1981). The International style symbolized the new start after the war. Completed in 1952, it was New York’s first true green glass curtain wall building. It stands thirty-nine stories and uses reinforced concrete and aluminum for the details on the exterior. This was the first major International-style building in New York, characterized by its simple geometric forms and devoid of any historical ornamentation. The building helped to revitalize midtown Manhattan in the 1950s. FRANK GEHRY A Neo-Modernist Frank Gehry was born in Canada in 1929 and moved to California with his parents when he was in his late teens. He proved to be creative at a young age, building imaginary homes and cities from items he found at his grandfather’s hardware store. He attended the University of Southern California for undergraduate school and was then accepted into Harvard’s architecture school. He dropped out to return to Los Angeles where he began a cardboard furniture line in the 1970s called Easy Edges. These cardboard furniture pieces were Gehry’s first attempt at designing something that was functional and yet visually striking. The earliest pieces were made with corrugated cardboard, layered so that they were durable enough for people to sit on or use for tables. The furniture was very elegant, such as the “wiggle chair,” which was a straight-backed chair that faded into three curving ripples. These ripples buoyed the chair from the ground. To make them this strong, he manipulated sixty layers of cardboard and held them together with hidden screws. Finally, he edged the piece in wood. He created a second line of furniture called Experimental Edges that was rougher in appearance with bulkier pieces of imperfectly stacked cardboard and unfinished edges. His designs were a reaction to the Modernist forms that to him seemed cold and sterile. Danziger House Gehry established his architecture practice in Los Angeles in the early 1960s. In 1965 Gehry designed the Danziger House, a studio for designer Louis Danziger. The structure looked like a plain box made of concrete. It reflected Gehry’s admiration of Louis Kahn, a champion of functionalism. He used simple materials, like concrete, and arranged them in a way to maximize daylight. The unique structure brought Gehry attention as a principal architect. Gehry House Gehry’s early works showed a reverence for the undone. His house in Santa Monica, California (Gehry House, 1977–1978), could easily be confused with a construction site. He essentially took off the outer layers of the original Dutch Colonial Revival house right down to the beams. Then he wrapped a new house around it. To unnerved neighbors, it was a garish mess of plywood, ribbed metal siding, glass, and chain-link fencing. To a growing base of admirers, however, it was a sculpture . . . in which you could live. The house became an outstanding example of Deconstructivist style. Soon Gehry was earning a number of commissions for residential properties around Los Angeles. Critics believed that his designs did not make the best use of urban space or the contexts in which they were to be built. That said, one couldn’t deny how capable he was at negotiating the chaotic environment, tight lots, and small budgets. His work urged people to think about the possibilities of architecture as art even in ordinary circumstances. Gehry took on a variety of commissions: public buildings, concert halls, restaurants, and museums. His body of work grew so large that he was honored with the prestigious Pritzker Prize, an honor set aside for those who have made the greatest contributions to the field of architecture. Pritzker Architecture Prize The prize is sponsored by the Pritzkers, a Chicago-based family who own the Hyatt hotel chain. Each spring, the winner is awarded $100,000 and a bronze medallion based on Louis Henry Sullivan’s designs. Guggenheim Museum Bilbao Bilbao had previously been a hub for the ETA (Euskadi ta Askatasuna, or the Basque Homeland and Liberty), a radical separatist organization that led the Basque National Liberation Movement. Viewed as terrorists by many, the ETA was credited with a number of murders and kidnappings, car bombs, violent acts against public transportation and public buildings, graffiti, and riots. The port fell into disrepair and was no longer a bustling source of income. Amid the violence and changing economy, Bilbao fell into an economic and cultural slump. Leaders began a focused urban renewal campaign in the 1990s. The Guggenheim Museum (1997) was the first in a line of major investments in the region. The government pitched the idea to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, agreeing to fund the project and to donate the Bilbao port area as a location. The foundation, in the meantime, commissioned Frank Gehry to design the building that would ultimately become the most recognized symbol of Bilbao’s rebirth. The museum was built to look like a giant ship in reverence of Bilbao’s history as a powerful port. Extraordinary curves made from a steel frame seem to twist, each stacked on top of each other, covered with luminous titanium tiles that capture the sunlight. The central atrium towers, with dynamic space, stone, light, and metal, bend their way to the top to the point of exhilaration. The atrium connects to whimsical galleries that boast their own unique shapes: a trapezoid, L-shaped, and a long narrow galley. Disney Concert Hall In 1988 Gehry was commissioned to design the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles. His appreciation for unusual shapes and confusing stacks was opportune for a traditional concert hall in which function dictates that a number of rooms of various sizes without windows must all be focused on a single stage. Since the concert hall was home to the Los Angeles Philharmonic, considerations about things such as acoustics and positioning of the concert organ were crucial. The remarkable building—about which critics have said that the sound is terrific—has a Douglas-fir ceiling and hall, and oak floors. Features of Gehry Designs Free-form construction of shapes Sculptural quality Curling and flowing shapes Drawing connections between the building and the site THE ROMAN EMPIRE Construction Forms The Romans were masterminds at developing infrastructure. They figured out how to bring clean water into the city and send dirty water out. They developed central heating and the technology to maintain large heated public baths. They built amphitheaters and stadiums where everyone could see a show and the acoustics were fantastic. Romans took architecture beyond post and lintel to adopt compression building, which allowed them to design the arch, vault, and dome. Using these methods, the Romans figured out how to enclose very large spaces. All they needed were modestly sized stones. [image: ] Vault Construction A vault is an arch continued on a longitudinal axis. Post-and-lintel construction is limiting because the supports cannot be too far away from each other. If they are, the lintel, under tension, will crack. Vaulted construction changed everything. Now, the weight could be carried through compression. This meant, though, that the supports had to be much stronger than was necessary with post-and-lintel construction. The upper stone would push downward and outward on the walls or columns below. In order to handle the weight those walls needed to be very thick. Arch Construction An arch, in its truest form, is made of wedge-shaped stones (voussoirs) set in a curved shape or a semicircle. Builders would first develop a temporary timber framework called a centering. The voussoirs were laid directly into this centering. This system also made use of a central keystone. Previously, corbeling had been the most popular method used in arch construction. This method involved setting stones on top of each other to create a vaulted or arched shape. Each subsequent stone hangs slightly over the one under it. The stones are built from two sides; as each new course is laid, the shape begins to angle inward until the two sides meet in the middle. Corbeling does not require centering because of the way the stones are securely stacked before two sides meet. Dome Construction A dome is an arch that is turned and rotated around its center point. Domes can come in different shapes but they are all formed with vertical lines called meridians and horizontal lines called parallels. The meridians lean in and come together in the center of the arch. These meridians then force the parallels into compression at the top. At the bottom of the dome the meridians push outward, which stretches the parallels to the point of compression. Vitruvius and The Ten Books on Architecture Much of what we know of early Roman architecture is thanks to Vitruvius (c. 80–c. 15 B.C.E.) and his treatise, The Ten Books on Architecture. It is the only surviving book we have on classical building. His work inspired many architects who would follow right into the modern era. The Pantheon The Pantheon (C.E. 118–125) is among the best-preserved ancient monuments in Rome. Hadrian, fourteenth emperor of the Roman Empire, was an amateur architect who set out to design something for which he would be remembered. He worked with a team of architects to create a Pantheon, a “temple to the gods.” This was intended to replace a crumbling, outdated structure commissioned by Marcus Agrippa in 27 B.C.E. The new Pantheon was designed with two main parts. First there was a traditional temple entryway with a raised portico, columns, and a triangular pediment. Then there was an innovative circular room covered by a large dome. The exterior has a portico that is only eight columns wide and three deep, so from the outside you would never guess how big this circular room actually is. Workers used a wood scaffold to stand on while they built the walls. Then the concreted dome was poured over a framework placed on them. The entire building is shaped like a cylinder; a ring of massive piers and large buried arches carry the weight of the dome, which is 143 feet in diameter. These buried arches also distribute the weight around the windows back down to the foundation and piers. At the base, Hadrian used heavy stone called basalt. At the top, he used lightweight volcanic stone called pumice. Sunken panels called coffers created an attractive geometrical design. These were trapezoidal indentations that appeared in five horizontal rings. Those indentations reduced the weight of the dome. The dome itself is a half-sphere and at the top is a twenty-seven-foot oculus, or skylight, which symbolized a link to the heavens. During the day, the sunshine puts on a show as it casts light around the interior of the structure. At nighttime, it provides a mesmerizing view of the stars. The oculus was placed where the compression forces were the greatest. The builders used a compression ring that was made of a four-and-a-half-inch-thick ring of bricks. The diameter of the dome matches the distance from the oculus to the center floor below perfectly. The Coliseum Sports and drama were pillars of Greek and Roman culture. The Romans developed structures that were vaulted so that spectators could watch and everyone could see the action. The amphitheater at Pompeii was oval-shaped. The Theater of Marcellus in Rome was a vaulted semicircle. The Greeks had previously built their amphitheaters into the hillsides but the Romans created free-standing structures. The Coliseum, or Flavian Amphitheater, in the middle of Rome is the most famous. In C.E. 64, a devastating fire burned for nine days and destroyed the heart of Rome. When the emperor Nero rebuilt the city, he also rebuilt a giant palace; its compound included an enormous statue of himself, a private park, and a lake closed to the public. He called it the Golden House and the people greatly resented it. Soon there were uprisings and his army went rogue. Things got bad enough that he killed himself. Following his rule, four emperors reigned who all met early deaths. Vespasian was the new emperor in C.E. 69, and he was desperate to be well liked and avoid the fate of his predecessor. He demolished the Golden House and in its place built a public garden and amphitheater. They renamed the Nero sculpture and called the amphitheater the Coliseum, which was a derivative of “colossus,” referring to the huge statute that remained. The Coliseum was built as a great vertical structure to allow all spectators the best view possible. With a height like that, the walls needed to be strong in order to keep the whole thing from collapsing. Architects drained Nero’s lake so that they had a deep area in which to build the foundation of the amphitheater. In the pit they poured a giant ring of concrete in an oval shape, 167 feet wide and forty feet deep. Underground areas were built with heavy concrete and brick. They built the upper levels with wood, bricks, and lighter concrete. Large, decorative, bronze shields hung from the top story of the Coliseum. Titus, Vespasian’s successor and son, opened the Coliseum in C.E. 80. To celebrate, he planned 100 straight days of competition. Titus’s brother added another tier during his reign and by C.E. 82 the structure stood 187 feet high and towered over the city. The Coliseum was oval-shaped and had enough seats for 50,000 people. The plan involved a long ramp that gradually rises as it wraps around the arena until it reaches the top. The top level of seats rested on wooden supports and the rest of the building was made of masonry, a combination of cut stone and concrete. Underneath the seats was a maze of stairs, passageways, and ramps that allowed spectators to get to their seats. The exits and pathways were designed for efficiency in exiting so that everyone could get out in just a few minutes. The Romans stacked half columns in Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian orders within the building. Arches and supporting barrel vaults created the three-story façade, and the arches carried the weight of the seating. Eighty entrances at the ground level were formed by vaults. These were marked with numbers so that people could easily find their seats. There was even a large canvas that went over the entire structure to shield the interior from the sun and a giant light fixture for nighttime events. The seats were organized in a hierarchical fashion. The emperor sat in a ground-level marble box with his family and other high-level spectators. The next level was the nobles and wealthy citizens. The second tier was the male citizens, while the third tier hosted the women. The highest tier was standing room for noncitizens and slaves. The floor of the arena was made of wooden sections that could be moved. Underneath were the animal cages that were hoisted up for the competitions. Gruesome Events at the Coliseum Coliseum events would open with lighthearted features such as jugglers, elephants, and pretend fighting. The emperor would throw colored balls into the audience and those who caught them would win a prize. The Romans brought animals to the arena from all over their empire and hunted them, eliminating many from their habitats (for instance, lions in Mesopotamia). Gladiator fights themselves were terrible. They would continue until a man was killed or begged for mercy. If the emperor denied his request he was forced to his knees and his throat slit. People dressed as gods would poke fallen gladiators with a red-hot iron. If the semiconscious fighter didn’t get up he was finished off with a hammer and dragged out of the arena. The sand was raked to get rid of the blood and a new fight began. Eventually, in 404, the gladiator fights were banned, partly due to the crumbling Roman Empire but also because the Christian Church, by then the state religion, denounced the cruelty. ROMANESQUE The Re-emergence of the City The Romanesque style was an extension of the Frankish emperor Charlemagne’s (c. 742–814) intense campaign to ignite a burst of architecture, design, and style that revived the artistic height of the Roman Empire. Romanesque includes a wide breadth of regional styles that were popular from the tenth through the early thirteenth centuries. In the early Middle Ages, the feudal system dictated the economic structure and social hierarchy. The center of life was the estate. Now, by the High Middle Ages, trading and commerce started to blossom in the cities. Seaports began to develop along with manufacturing cities and banking centers as well as arts and crafts communities. The cities and towns that had receded into the background during the collapse of the Roman Empire came back to the forefront. Romanesque was the first style that was popular everywhere in western Europe. Main Features of Romanesque Round arches Stone vaults Relief sculpture Thick walls Regional Names When Charlemagne died, the Frankish Empire, which included modern-day France, Germany, and Italy, broke apart. In many local areas communities developed but there was no state rule. France, for example, was a loose grouping of subkingdoms united only by the fact that their inhabitants spoke some form of French. For that reason, the names of artistic and architectural styles during this era often are based on specific regions. Pilgrimages During the High Middle Ages the church accumulated a lot of wealth, which made it a relatively stable organization. It was able to use that wealth and stability to fund major building projects such as cathedrals and monasteries. Romanesque cathedrals in particular were massive structures using grand features such as Roman vaults and arches. These cathedrals and churches became stops for religious pilgrims as they traveled across Europe. Pilgrimages were wildly popular (the English poet Geoffrey Chaucer wrote his most famous work, The Canterbury Tales, about a group of pilgrims traveling to a holy shrine in Canterbury, England). Devout Christians trekked great distances to churches that housed sacred tokens such as the remains of a saint or a strip of his or her clothing. There were so many pilgrims moving about that architects had to factor them in when building churches, making sure they were allowing enough space to move through the church and observe its relics without disrupting services. Abbey-Church of Sainte-Foy The Abbey-Church of Sainte-Foy in Conques, France (c. 1050–1130), was dedicated to a virgin martyr known as St. Faith who had been killed in 305 for refusing to worship pagan gods. The church was fitted with an elaborate gold statue that contained the saint’s relics, which attracted hordes of visitors. To accommodate the traffic, architects modified the traditional Latin-cross basilica. The side aisles were extended to form an ambulatory through which lay visitors could walk and view the relics. Now the monks had access to the main altar in the choir without any disruption. Sainte-Foy was among the earliest known pilgrimage churches. The church was vaulted with transverse ribs that ran across the underside of each quadrant. A second-story gallery was built over the side aisles to accommodate more people. The gallery directed force and weights from the vaults on the side walls back down to the piers of the nave. The church was distinctly Romanesque in its styling: Sculptures in heavy relief appeared on many of the surfaces such as the tympanum, the arch above at the main entrance; the archivolts; even the trumeau, which was the narrow vertical piece between the front doors. Romanesque Carving Romanesque churches were heavily decorated with sculpture. Since the general population could not read, they needed a lot of visual imagery to understand religious stories. Artists also used woven tapestries to tell stories—the tapestries also provided a measure of insulation in the often drafty rooms of churches, castles, and palaces. The roof of Sainte-Foy was a barrel vault, made of stone, above the nave, lined with arches. Besides eliminating some of the risk of fire, the stone produced magnificent acoustics. These stone vaults were heavy, though, and they required extra support, called buttressing. This construction counteracted the sideways forces of the vault. Vaulting Systems A vault is an arch brought forward in space to create a cover over an interior. Vaults were popular in Roman, early Christian, and Byzantine structures, and they experienced a resurgence during the Romanesque period. They were especially popular in church building. Vaults provided fireproofing and they were strong, but they also symbolized the heavens, which soared above man and the earth. Types of Vaults Barrel vaulting: This is the simplest form of vault; an arch is extended to form a semicircular space. Groin vaulting: These are created by intersecting two barrel vaults at right angles. The resulting vault is stronger than a barrel vault. A series of groin vaults creates natural divisions between the groins; these divisions are called bays. Fan vaulting: In some cases the ribs became wildly elaborate and spread out across the ceiling of the space. Such fan vaults were characteristic of many English cathedrals of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Rib vaulting: A rib vault is a groin vault to which ribs of stone have been added to the joints, further strengthening the vault. The Portal Many pilgrimage churches included carved reliefs above their entrances. The space around the doorways was called a portal. Here the richest reliefs would appear, beckoning visitors to come and worship. Although the architectural structure of portals was similar from church to church, it was the meaning of these images and the stories behind each that distinguished them from one another and drew many visitors. A Romanesque portal generally included: Voussoirs Archivolts Tympanum Lintel Jamb Trumeau Pisa Italian Romanesque buildings were different from those found in France in that they followed the classical Roman tradition to the letter. There were no stylistic innovations like westworks, the great multistory west-facing entrances found on other European Romanesque churches. The Pisans built their cathedral to celebrate a victory against Muslim forces in Sicily. They built their baptistery next door to celebrate a victory against the Christian republic of Amalfi. The freestanding cathedral at Pisa is elaborate, with double aisles and galleries beside the nave. An oval dome is raised on squinches, and there are shallow pendentives supporting smaller domes. The rest of the church is roofed with wooden trusses. The exterior is sheathed in marble, and rows of columned arcades are stacked upon each other around the building. Inside is found dark and light marble set in a pattern of horizontal bands. There was a circular baptistery, and the apse is decorated in mosaics. (Note that mosaics are more characteristic of Eastern than Western Christian architecture.) The cathedral has a lot of influences: white marble from ancient Rome, floor plan from early Christian basilicas, domes from Islam. Part of the cathedral complex is the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. This is the cathedral’s bell tower, but because it was built upon unstable ground, even during its construction it began to lean. It is now thirteen feet off its vertical axis. A firmer foundation has been added in modern times to halt the lean. On the tower, there are six stories of repeated arcaded galleries. This building made an impact and its design style was characteristic of the region for several centuries. LUDWIG MIES VAN DER ROHE The International Style Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886–1969) is regarded as one of the foremost pioneers in modern architecture. He was one of the cultural refugees of Nazi Germany who sought safe haven in the United States. Mies had been running the Bauhaus School in Dessau, working to stamp out the heavy politicism that was both distracting and calling too much attention to the school. Despite his best efforts, Hitler would not shake his distrust of the institution and decreed Mies’s work “un-German.” The United States was thrilled to have him, as well as his contemporaries Walter Gropius, Peter Behrens, and Le Corbusier who quickly became leaders of the Modernist movement. After World War I, Mies had been searching for a style that could rebuild Europe. He thought a lot about the achievements of the historical styles, especially Gothic and Classical and wanted to find something as powerful but more tailored to modern times. He had received a foundation in practical construction from his father, who had been a stonemason in Germany. He worked as an assistant in the prestigious office of Peter Behrens and as a furniture designer for Bruno Paul (1874–1968). First Designs After World War I, Mies became famous for a series of projects he designed that were never actually built. These projects stimulated many new ideas about the shape of structures and materials used to build them. For example, he designed a twenty-story skyscraper with a steel frame that was completely sheathed in glass to make it appear transparent. He expanded on that even further with another design for a thirty-story skyscraper with irregular lines at the perimeter that were intended to catch light and cast reflections. He developed another office block out of concrete, an unusual material selection for the time. Each of the seven floors carried a cantilever, or horizontal windows that ran in a continuous strip. In this example you can see Frank Lloyd Wright’s influence. These buildings were strikingly plain, with no exterior ornamentation. The interiors were defined by open floor plans and flexibility in space. These buildings exuded function and rationality. Mies’s Maxims Mies’s proverbial wisdoms about architecture were so powerful that they have since spilled over into all design sensibilities for everything from furniture to fashion. “God is in the details.” “Less is more.” Barcelona Pavilion One of the most celebrated architectural designs of the twentieth century was Mies’s Barcelona Pavilion, which he built for the 1929 International Exposition in Barcelona. It was a relatively small building that did not include any displays. It was only one story but elevated slightly, which made it appear more important than the other buildings that surrounded it. It contained eight simple, unadorned columns made of chromium-painted steel that supported a flat, concrete slab roof. The walls were not aligned or even incorporated with the columns, which made it look as if the roof was floating above the vertical walls. Inside, the floors were made of Roman travertine and the windows were tinted. There was an exterior courtyard that contained a reflecting pool holding the single decoration in the entire exhibit: a sculpture of a dancing girl (by Georg Kolbe). Mies himself designed stainless-steel tables, stools, and chairs for the building. The tufted chairs were covered in white kid upholstery. The Barcelona Pavilion embodied what we have come to know as Modern design. It was a straightforward expression of architecture without lavish ornamentation. The composition was established by wide plains and simple geometric forms that allowed the quality design materials and craftsmanship to take center spotlight. The original was dismantled soon after the exposition but a replica has since been reconstructed at the site. Farnsworth House The Farnsworth House (1946–1951) was the residential answer to the Barcelona Pavilion. The house, built as a weekend getaway in Plano, Illinois, was reduced to the simplest elements: one floor, steel frame, and glass curtain walls. It was raised slightly off the ground, which lent some strength to the elegant form. The interior maximized space with an open floor plan, and a single terrace jutted off to one side. One of the few interruptions to the interior space was a fireplace that was placed at the core of the house. Two wide sets of steps lead from the ground to the porch and then from the porch to the terrace. The house was harmonious with the natural landscape that surrounded it; only the light-colored steel window frames distinguished it from its environment. The house became a proud example of Modernism and the International style but in truth, it may not have been the most practical structure for domestic living. For one thing, the house was like a very large transparent rectangle and it did not lend itself well to privacy. The glass, which was not protected by screens, offered little protection from the harshest climates, letting in the buggy summer heat and filling with droplets of condensation in the winter. Seagram Building The Seagram Building (1954–1958) was highly influential and did much to determine the look and scope of New York architecture from the late 1950s onward. Avant-garde for its time, the thirty-eight-story office building is set on bronze-clad pillars. The façade includes alternating strips of bronze plating and tinted glass. It was the first building designed with floor-to-ceiling windows—the first with a true glass curtain. Vertical bronze I-beams between the windows emphasize the vertical expanse of the building. The building carried no ornamental façades, stone, or brick. The interior design was sleek and minimalist with travertine, marble, and bronze details. The building was set back a bit from the street, leaving a large open space in front that was intended for pedestrians. This space, which came to be known as an urban plaza, would soon become a common feature in most New York City skyscrapers. Recognizing the International Style International style is the most common style of architecture for commercial buildings in the United States today. Here are some of the main features: Walls made of thin material like glass or concrete High-quality materials, especially on the interior, like marble and bronze Rectilinear forms Absolute perfection in composition and details Little or no ornamentation The presence of cantilevers Glass and steel façades Open interior spaces RUSSIAN ARCHITECTURE New Christianity The Byzantine basilica gained attention in Russia in 988 when Prince Vladimir of Kiev converted from paganism to Christianity. He did his research before converting and studied the ritual faiths of all the major Western religions, inviting representatives from Judaism, Islam, Latin Christianity, and Greek Christianity to come visit him and tell him about their faiths. Then he sent his own people to church services all around the world to investigate what they were like. In the end, his people were so impressed with Hagia Sophia that they wrote in their journals, “We know not whether we are in heaven or on earth.” Vladimir embraced Eastern Christianity . . . for the architecture as much as for its religious beliefs. Missionaries came from Constantinople to help Vladimir create a Christian culture in Russia; this included translating the Bible, building schools, and erecting churches. Saint Sophia Cathedral When Christianity first appeared in Russia, Kiev was the center of government and culture. Vladimir’s son Yaroslav the Wise presided over the building of Saint Sophia in Kiev, the first church built there. While it was inspired by Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, the Russian builders did not have the technology or knowledge to make something as enormous. Instead of one gigantic dome, they improvised and made multiple domes over small interior spaces positioned next to one another. The main plan of the church is a quincunx, and a Greek cross defines the central space. The interior is vaulted and the plan is organized around this central area. There is a major dome in the middle but twelve additional domes are set on high drums at varying levels. Additional arcading was added later along with two large circular towers that hold staircases on either side. The church was damaged in 1240 and left as a ruin for hundreds of years. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries there was an effort to rebuild and restore it but with a Baroque style. The building we see today looks completely different from the original version. The Church of the Nativity of the Virgin Wood was the dominant Russian building material until the twentieth century. It was readily available and very easy to work with. The style of building in the country was often similar to the American log cabin with horizontal logs, and notches into which the next layer of logs would fit. Americans usually built wooden structures as temporary shelter until they were able to develop something more attractive and impressive. Russians, however, kept their wood structures for a long time. Entire cities were often built from wood. Not surprisingly, fires were common. The Great Fire of Moscow In 1812 the French emperor Napoleon invaded Russia. Meeting only weak resistance, he drove the Russian troops back until in September he entered Moscow. The Russians abandoned their capital city and, by some accounts, set parts of it on fire. The flames raged for six days, destroying three-quarters of Moscow. Napoleon’s inability to stop the destruction of many valuable supplies contributed to the disaster his army underwent as it left Moscow and retreated along the long road back to France. Wooden churches usually had high gable roofs so that they would be visible in the landscape. The floors were raised off the ground at least one story to accommodate the winter snow. In a land known for its freezing temperatures, the weather had an influence on Russian building styles. The Church of the Nativity of the Virgin (1117–1119) at Peredki had an external covered passage, called a gallery, wrapped around the building. Stacked cantilevers, called pomochi, extended out from the main walls and supported the gallery from underneath. This protected visitors in the snow. Birch bark covered the areas where the roof intersected with walls. Builders made shingles out of aspen and placed them in interesting patterns, not least because they would age nicely in cold weather. The roof boards were pointed at the ends to guide water away from the roof. The Church of the Transfiguration in the Republic of Karelia in Russia was an especially extended version of this church. It is a Greek-cross plan made of wood with twenty-two domes. Aspen shingles topped the gables which were placed with a reverse curve known as a bochki. The domes appear on drums that are not very wide and the composition comes together in a pyramid shape. One large dome sits at the top, four in the middle, and eight on the lowest story. Over the arms of the Greek-cross plan are two more sets of four domes. The bochki were decorated with shingles that had been cut to have decorative edges, which also help with directing away water. The aspen has aged to a silver that looks almost metallic, and glints. The inside of the building is nowhere near as grand as the exterior. The ceilings are not nearly as high as one would think and the main attraction is the icons. The Onion Dome In the Russian architectural tradition, onion domes are believed to have symbolized burning candles. When they appear in groups of three they represent the Holy Trinity; in groups of five they represent Jesus and the four evangelists. A single onion dome is said to symbolize Jesus. Saint Basil’s Cathedral Eventually, wooden construction was replaced by masonry covered with colorful tiles and bricks. Saint Basil’s Cathedral (1555–1561), officially the Cathedral of the Intercession of the Virgin on the Moat, located on Red Square in Moscow is today the pride of the Russian Orthodox Church and a top tourist destination. It was built right outside of the Kremlin’s walls as a celebration of Ivan IV’s victory at the siege of Kazan in 1552. The design is a central plan with nine separate chapels and eight domes, representing the eight attacks on Kazan. Four of them are large and octagonal in size and four cover smaller, square chapels. A ninth dome was added in 1588 for Basil’s tomb. This dome is green and gold and decorated with small gold pyramids. The sanctuary is covered by a tall roof. The other chapels have domed towers, each with a slightly different treatment from the other. Additional external elements include galleries and stairs, all covered. The structure contains multiple gables, some in semicircular shapes and others in triangular forms. The roofs are covered with glazed tiles in a variety of presentations such as zigzags and spirals and stripes. The exterior is trimmed with red brick and white stone. Inside, winding galleries connect the chapels, and stairways make all the levels accessible. Napoleon Green with Envy Legend says that Napoleon was completely obsessed with this church. In 1812, after successfully invading Russia and reaching Moscow, he wanted to take it back to Paris with him but could not figure out how to do it so he ordered that it be destroyed. The French under his command had their kegs of gunpowder lit and ready when a sudden unexpected rain put out their fuses, saving the cathedral. For centuries, religious buildings were the main type of public architecture in Russia. They were also, for many years, the only buildings that were built of masonry, so they tend to be the only buildings that survived the ravages of time. MYCENAEAN CIVILIZATION Cyclopean Construction Mycenaean civilization, a precursor to classical Greek civilization, flourished between 1600 and 1100 B.C.E. during the Bronze Age. The Mycenaean people were warlike folk who inhabited a rocky hill above the Argive plain on mainland Greece, from which they controlled the main road between Corinth and Argos. As a defensive measure, the city was built on high ground in between mountains. Eventually, the Mycenaeans added walls to provide additional fortification to the city-state. The Mycenaean walls were enormous, up to twenty-four feet thick and forty feet high in some places. They were so big that when the Greeks happened upon them later, they believed that they had been built by giants or Cyclopes. Their confusion inspired the word cyclopean to describe construction with massive stones. Some of the stones used to build these walls weighed as much as ten tons. The stones were of different shapes but were laid very close together without using any mortar. Sometimes the Mycenaeans used earth and rubble to fill in gaps at the outer layers of the walls, especially in areas where the walls were thicker. To enter Mycenae, one would have to follow a narrow passageway that ran parallel to one of their large defense walls. This, in itself, was a defensive structure since it allowed the Mycenaeans time to attack any intruders before they even reached the front gate. Lion Gate There were a number of gates and entrances into the Mycenaean settlement but the front gate, called Lion Gate, was the most imposing. A product of post-and-lintel construction, it was built with