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AZTEC ARCHITECTURE

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  1. AZTEC ARCHITECTURE Randi Ladd H235

  2. General Information • Symbolism was the main focus of their architecture • Aztec architecture reflects the values and civilization of an empire • Prior to Axayacatl, Aztec architecture was not large • Best described as monumental. • Its purpose was to manifest power, while at the same time adhering to strong religious beliefs. • Evident in the design of the temples, shrines, palaces, and everyday homes.

  3. Tenochtitlan • Capital City • city plan was based on a symmetrical layout that was divided into four city sections called Campans

  4. Architectural Materials • Locally found & imported • wood, straw, stone, sand, lime, and clay. • Adobe bricks • water, sand, clay, and a material such as straw

  5. Construction of Homes • Size varied based upon wealth • Same basic pattern followed for all • Houses of families were sometimes built together • Sometimes stone walls in the ground would be added to the lot, to keep the soil from washing away. • 15-25 square meters (50-82ft).   • A common roof in an Aztec house would be a peaked straw roof. • Very close fitting stones and thick walls

  6. Aztec Homes • Based on the climate • Only 1 door in the home • Square in shape and located on one wall • Commoners lived in 1 room homes w/ thatched roofs • Split into 4 equal areas • Area for sleep, meal preparation, eating, and a shrine

  7. Noble Aztec Homes • Typically 2 stories tall • Located in the central courtyard • Had many flowers nearby • Both noble and commoner homes were built with adobe • The climate aided this • Noble homes sometimes made of better material (lime or stone)

  8. Aztec Aqueducts • “The Great Aqueduct” • Chapultepec Aqueduct • Twin pipe construction • Made of compact earth and wood • Supply the city of Tenochtitlan with fresh water • Only a small section, about twenty-two arches long, still survives today

  9. Aztec Temples Called Teocalli

  10. Teotihuacán Tlaloc and Chalchihuitlicue • Pyramids of the Sun and Moon • Sun pyramid is the 3rd largest in the world • At the peak (it is believed) they were plastered and painted bright red • Ideas about their architecture were taken from these temples

  11. The Step Pyramid • Built by people other than the Aztecs • Large w/ multiple layers of stone • Built mainly for religious purposes • Appearance: • Symmetrical • Side steps with a temple located on top • Specifically designed serpent heads at the bottom of the pyramid • Symbolized mountains

  12. The Step Pyramid (cont…) • Blocks that were used in the pyramid were carved into geometric shapes • Used color in their pyramids • Black = north • Blue = south • Red = east • White = west • These were also in relation to the particular God that ruled that direction

  13. Other types of pyramids Round Pyramid Twin Stairs Pyramid • Constructed in a circular fashion • This was to facilitate circulation of the wind • Direct the wind toward the heavens… • Example = Templo Mayor • Temples were high in height because the Gods lived in the heavens

  14. Templo Mayor • Discovered in the heart of Mexico City • Construction began after 1325 AD • Enlarged over the next two centuries • Center of religious life • Destroyed by the Spaniards

  15. Why was Templo Mayor built? . • In honor of the God of War and the God of Water • Gods were appeased by human sacrifices which were performed on the temple… • Referred to by the Aztecs as Coatepec

  16. Physical Architecture of Templo Mayor • Large stone pyramid • 2 Wide staircases up the front • Twin temples located on top • Carved round stone on the on lower platform • Snake heads carved into the foot of the staircase

  17. What is left behind of Templo Mayor? • Tzompantli-Shrine or Wall of Skulls • Two identical life-size clay statues of Aztec warriors dressed in eagle costumes • stone eagle

  18. Cholula • Tlachihualtepetl • Largest monument • base of 450 by 450 m (1476x1476 ft) • height of 66 m (217 ft) • total volume estimated at over 4.45 million m³

  19. How were things built? • Metal was unknown to the Aztecs • Cords and wedges would be used to cut stone • Sand and water = adhesives • Skilled craftsman • Chisels • Hard stones • Obsidian blades

  20. http://www.aztec-history.net/aztec_pyramids http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chapultepec_aqueduct http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Pyramid_of_Cholula http://www.aztec-history.com/cholula-pyramid.html http://www.famsi.org/research/aguilar/Aztec_Architecture_Part2.pdf http://www.sacred-destinations.com/mexico/mexico-city-templo-mayor.htm http://library.thinkquest.org/10098/aztec.htm http://www.aztec-indians.com/aztec-homes.html http://www.wsu.edu/~dee/CIVAMRCA/AZTECS.HTM http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rY5rVgTxU-k Sources