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