Decoration V Purity of Form/Space
Discuss about the Demonstration of Architectural Creativity.
The colosseum was designed and constructed with the main aim of hosting gladiator shows coupled with a taste of beauty and style. The amphitheater and the shows it hosted were a symbol of roman culture management (Hopkins 2011). It was meant to be the largest the largest amphitheater in the Roman world with a crowd capacity of around 50,000 people. The entire building was a marvel, located in the middle of the city of Rome.
The construction of the building began during the reign of Vespasian and ended when his son was on the reign in 80 AD. The arena is oval shaped and features a storied concrete building complete with rows of seats. Under the arena, there was provision of all services required for the shows such as animal cages, tools and stores (Coarelli 2007). Normally, a fence would be raised when wild animals were inside the arena so as to prevent the animals from ambushing spectators. The designed incorporate the construction of an underground passage linking the gladiator training school and the theatre for easy access.
Glistening gold shields were used to decorate the top of the exterior of the structure. The exterior entrances were arched and the supporting columns were semi-circular. The styles of the columns varied depending on the story with i.e. the top columns were of ornate Corinthian order while the bottom were of simple Doric order. The colosseum was very different from other Greek and Roman Public buildings (Hopkins 2011).
The exterior of the colosseum was a demonstration of architectural creativity coupled with beauty while the interior provided a platform for the showcase of Roman culture and sports. The colosseum stood as an icon of architectural design in the roman empire and its design was imitated throughout the empire (Welch 2007).
Christian Gothic Churches such as the York Minster in the United Kingdom were made to inspire awe and reverence as a place of worship. The churches were grand and tall, graciously sweeping upwards with style, height. Gothic is derived from a tribe that was the epitome of power in Europe, the Goths. One of the most Iconic features of the style in Gothic churches was the pointed arches ribbed vaults. The ribbed vaults were shaped like the inside of a boat, hence believed to be a symbol representing the church as the place where Christian’s journey takes place (Spanswick 2014).
Colosseum: Marvel of Roman Architecture
The link between the Gothic structures and God is striking. Their grandiose nature was for the glory of God. Every rib vault is a symbol of a theological idea and each blind arcade represented a shrine of faith (Meades 2011). The smaller buildings were built of poor material compared to the larger ones that were better but still built based on the available resources and regional precedent management.
The architectural style of the buildings was based on the ritual functions of the cathedrals as the seat of a bishop. It is in this churches that Christian practices such as bible reading, offering of prayers, celebration of the Eucharist, preaching of sermons and singing of hymns. Externally, the churches were decorated architecturally by use of tracery, arcading, columns and moldings (Wikipedia 2017). For churches that were made out of stone, sculptures were the most predominant form of decoration.
The forbidden City was designed to be an icon of the imperial power and a reflection of philosophical and religious principle (Wikipedia 2017). It was to be the centre of the ancient Beijing City and was supposed to serve as the political and ritual capital of the ancient China. This made the architectural designers to follow the Confucian ideology that was responsible for holding the social fabric of the Chinese together. The layout of the city was such that the activities that were to be conducted were based on the participant’s social role. One’s position in the royal family determined their place in the courts of the Forbidden City (Peng 2015).
The designer’s choice of architectural style featured the Chinese sense of society hierarchy. There designs relied on the state building standards of the 11th Century that provided design specification for different types of buildings depending on the social status in Chinese society (Peng 2015). The inner court had the residences of the servants, the relatives of the emperor and the emperor himself. There was an increase in the elevation as one moved towards the centre of the Forbidden City. The increase symbolized the emperor’s power (Jarzombek and Prakash 2010). The outer court was mainly for the public and the associated public ceremonies.
Some of the symbolic designs incorporated in the Forbidden City include the use of yellow colour which was the emperor’s colour. This was evidenced by the use of yellow glazed tiles for roofing.
Both the St. Peter’s Basilica and the Tempietto were part of the renaissance architecture. Renaissance architecture was practiced in Europe between the 14th and 17th centuries. In terms of style, it borrows from the previous Gothic architecture. The renaissance architecture emphasizes on the geometry, symmetry, regularity and proportion of parts. Elements of the building are arranged in an orderly manner and there was increased use of hemispherical domes niches, and semicircular arches.
Gothic Churches: The Glory of God in Stone
The use of renaissance architecture provided a platform for rational engagement with architecture management when people can engage and understand it more. The Tempietto was a perfect embodiment of this style of architecture designed by Bramante. The major emphasis is on the harmony of the proportions, the sobriety of the Doric order and the simplicity of the volumes. The plan section is circular, representing divine protection (Flon and Chambers 1984). The central dome of the St. Peter’s Basilica is conspicuous in Rome. The St. Peter’s square approaches the basilica with tall colonnades. The basilica is located at the other end of the square and is complete with huge columns. The long axis in the basilica is mainly focused onto the pulpit (Haris and Zucker 2014).
In both buildings, the wall are decorated with columns blind arches and pediments. In the renaissance architecture, elements can be spilt into precision. For example, both of the buildings discussed have facades that can be split symmetrically about the vertical axis. Renaissance Symmetry and portioning is evident throughout the entire structure for example, the arches and the system of pilasters can be proportioned. The position of the windows and columns indicate progression to the middle.
The design of the pilgrimage church by Balthasar in Bamburg, Germany relied on the Baroque architecture. Baroque style of architecture started in the 16th Century and provided more insight into the form, light and dramatic intensity. It focused on emotion and senses as an approach to design and understanding of architecture. Neumann used a complex plan section that looked like a cross with a series of ovals (Kleiner 2013). The ceiling of the cathedral was provided with large window openings that would allow natural light to illuminate the interior. This was supplemented by the windows that also allowed light into the building. This light provided a spectacular sandstone façade to anyone inside the building together with a glorious and warm ambience.
Construction of the pilgrimage church was started in 1743 and was completed in 1774. The interior of the building was a product of baroque architecture. The facades were highly decorated together with many curves. The Baroque style appeals to the emotions and feelings of the users and also provide a statement of wealth. More attention is paid to the decoration of a building rather than to the structures for support. The building is an architecture of joy, where there is complete illumination of the interior causing the beauty of the decorating columns to be visible to all, the alter is grand and stands triumphantly as a symbol of authority (Smith 1990).
Forbidden City: Architecture of Imperial Power
Colonial architecture was used by the first settlers in North America. The immigrants were from England and other European countries hence resulting to mixed concepts of architecture adopted depending on one’s country of origin. Between 1770-1700, the Georgian style of architecture was the mainly used. It was a mongrel of the baroque, Neoclassical and Renaissance architecture. The White House, located in the United States capitol is an example of the Georgian architecture. The architects of this period(colonial) relied heavily on Old world architecture (Wikipedia 2017).
Thomas Jefferson was one of the first architects who tried to come up with a unique design after the revolution war. He began a precedence of modifying old structures for modern use as can be seen in his design of the capital building in Richmond. Jefferson based his design on the Maison Carree, an ancient Roman building in Nimes, France (Kukla and Kukla 2005). He brought a new wave of neoclassicism that tainted the Georgian Architecture with the history of colonialism. Another of Jefferson’s revolutionary architecture was the Monticello House. He borrowed from Andrea Palladio architectural designs. The building has four Tuscan columns, a dome, and central hall illuminated by natural light from above.
Benjamin Latrobe was a strong proponent on stylistic purity in architectural design. He based his work on the Greek revival architecture (Cotter, Roberts and Parrington 1992). He designed the Bank of Pennsylvania in the state of Philadelphia in 1801 using this style. The design followed that of the iconic temples of Greece.
Post revolution architecture was mixed. No one particular architectural style was followed. Each designer base his designed depending on their preference. Though some borrowed styles from other countries, some bold architects like Thomas Jefferson set out to come up with unique designs that would define the new nation.
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Flon, Christine, and James Chambers, . 1984. The World Atlas of Architecture. Mitchell Beazley.
Haris, Beth, and Stevene Zucker. 2014. Khan Academy. Accessed October 23, 2017. https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/renaissance-reformation/high-ren-florence-rome/bramante/a/bramante-etal-saint-peters-basilica.
Hopkins, Keith. 2011. BBC-History. March 22. Accessed October 22, 2017. https://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient/romans/colosseum_01.shtml.
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Kukla, Amy, and Jon Kukla. 2005. Thomas Jefferson: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. New York: Rosen Publishing.
Meades, Jonathan. 2011. The Guardian. September 10. Accessed October 23, 2017. https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2011/sep/10/gothic-buildings-architecture.
Peng, Ying-Chen. 2015. Khan Academy. Accessed October 23, 2017. https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/ap-art-history/south-east-se-asia/china-art/a/forbidden-city.
Smith, G E Kidder. 1990. Looking at Architecture. New York: Harry N Abrams.
Spanswick, Valerie. 2014. Khana Academy. Accessed October 23, 2017. https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/medieval-world/latin-western-europe/gothic1/a/gothic-architecture-an-introduction.
Welch, Katherine E. 2007. The Roman Amphitheatre: From Its Origins to the Colosseum. New York, New York: Cambridge University Press.
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