This book is dedicated to all the builders:the workers, the architects, and the leaders, who gave us the world’s most spectacular structures. For millennia we have been in aweof the designs and skills that brought about the monuments in this book. On the Cover: The Sphinx, Egypt Built: 2500 B.C.
Introduction So you want to build a work of art that will stand the test of time? You want to secure your culture’s legacy in the chronicles of the greatest world empires through architecture? Then this book is for you! Step by step, I will walk you through the initial stages, pitfalls to avoid, and the technology necessary to create a world-renowned masterpiece of culture and design. With stunning illustrations, models of classic structures, and handy new tips, you will find this manual an invaluable resource to build a monument that will last for millennia. To get started creating YOUR magnum opus that will endure through the ages, simply turn the page! Machu Picchu, Peru Built: 15th Century
Getting Started There are many dramatic examples of design, technology and architecture in the world. There are three must-haves if you want to leave a lasting legacy. Your project needs to have beauty, cultural significance, and be a technological feat for your time. Take the Taj Mahal in India for example. It was built in the 1600s as a monument of love the Indian emperor had for his wife. It certainly has all three of the required elements. It is beautiful and romantic, it is a symbol of the Indian empire’s culture and wealth, and it’s domes and perfect proportions were unmatched accomplishments at that time. Let its beauty inspire you as we proceed through this book. Taj Mahal, India Built: 17th Century
Your first step should be to decide what type of structure you want to build. Is it a place of worship like the Ziggurat at Ur in Mesopotamia? A residence like the Forbidden City in China? A seat of government and power such as the palace at Versailles or the U.S. Capitol building? A tomb for your burial like the Great Pyramids at Giza? A simple monument such as the Moai statues on Easter Island or the Eiffel Tower in Paris? Or, just a really interesting and inexplicable structure like the Sphinx or Stonehenge? The choice is yours, but make it carefully. You can see the examples span continents and all of human history, but there are plenty of people who attempted to construct great buildings that just don’t make the cut of the world’s greatest. In South America or Africa, the have found temples buried under the jungle. Those didn’t measure up. The Forbidden City, China Built: 15th Century
The second step is to plan your design. You may want to use your most renowned architect, but also realize that you may have undiscovered talent among your people. Give everyone a chance to show you plans that you might not have considered. Many of the world’s most famous structures were designed by previously unknown builders, so take a chance on someone new. The architect of the Sydney Opera House was unknown before his innovative design for that building. Part of this step is to make sure you are using the best technology available to you. Check with your engineers to see what new techniques and materials they have been working with. Think of the Egyptians and Greeks who used perfect mathematical proportions, or the Romans inventing concrete and arches, or the brand new steel Eiffel Tower from the 1889. The best known and longest lasting buildings usually incorporate technology that was new at the time. Sydney Opera House, Australia Built: 1957 - 1973
Technological Accomplishments: Roman Arches at the Pont du Gard Aqueduct, France Built: 18 B.C. • The steel and iron Eiffel Tower, France • Built: 1887
The third step is to make sure you have the labor force to accomplish your goal. You are undertaking a massive project, and you need to plan for the years it will take. Traditionally, slaves have been used to do the hard work of actually moving construction materials. That’s what they did in Egypt for the pyramids. However, in some areas peasants or prisoners were made to do the labor, such as for the Great Wall of China. Sometimes, you may just be able to get your people to voluntarily work together on building a monument to your culture, like they did on the Ziggurats in Mesopotamia, but you have to be a very popular ruler for that to happen. Lastly, you can always pay workers, but this will be very costly in addition to the materials for the monument itself, and has really only occurred in modern times and western countries. In the old days, slaves were definitely the way to go: even the American Capitol Building and White House were built by slaves. • Ziggurat at Ur, Mesopotamia (now Iraq) • Built: 2125 - 2025 B.C.
The Capitol , United States • Built: 1793 - 1874 Whichever way you go for your workforce, you should know that this will take years, likely decades and sometimes centuries, so you need to make sure you have an ongoing source of workers or you will never get your project finished. With your design and labor force in place, you are now ready to go.
Tips for When Construction Starts • Treat your workers well. It is always better than treating them harshly. They will work more efficiently, won’t die as often, and are more likely to finish the job even when you’re dead. The beaten slaves of the pyramids died and constantly had to be replaced. • The Pyramids at Giza, Egypt • Built: 2500 B.C.
Don’t panic if your life is almost over and your project is not done. Many of the greatest buildings took hundreds of years to complete. The Great Wall of China was built in stages over the course of more than a thousand years! There are actually four walls altogether, so remember that no one ruler can get everything done. • The Great Wall, China • Built: 217 B.C. - 1644
Treat your children and grandchildren respectfully. Refer to the first and second tip…they are likely to be the ones who have to continue working on your legacy after your death, so don’t make them angry. Sometimes, like the Temple of the Magician in Mexico, the ruler would be buried in what was completed already, then his successors would keep building on top, so that it became a tomb for many leaders. It was several centuries before it was finished. • Mayan Temple of the Magician, Mexico • Built: 9th - 11th Centuries
If you are engaged in a war, take a break from the building project. It’s not going anywhere. After the unfinished leaning Tower of Pisa started to sink into the unstable ground, causing it’s “lean”, war between but Pisa and Florence caused construction to be put on hold. They got back to work on it a hundred years later. • Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy • Built: 1173 - 1372
Get crazy and build something even if it only makes sense to you. The world doesn’t have to know your motivation to appreciate the results. For example, no one really knows what Stonehenge and the Easter Island Moai statues are all about, but they are famous anyway! • Easter Island Moai, South Pacific • Built: 900 - 1700 • Stonehenge Formation, England • Built: 2700-2000 B.C.
If your work collapses from natural disaster or gets destroyed by war, don’t give up. Start again and rebuild. You will be in good company. The dome of the Hagia Sophia was destroyed in Constantinople not long after it was built. The Emperor Justinian took the opportunity to rebuild it on a grander scale. It became the world's largest inside space, a record it held for more than a thousand years. When it was ransacked by the Turks in 1453, they repaired it and turned the Catholic church into a mosque. • Hagia Sophia, Turkey • Built: 532 - 537, 1450s
Finally,the most essential thing you need to do if you really want to be noticed is to pick a design element that will truly WOW the world. For examples of this, check out the following: • The temple at Ankor Wat in Cambodia: with it’s pineapple-like towers • Ankor Wat, Cambodia • Built: 12th Century
The Pantheon in Rome: since the year it was built and STILL to this day, world’s largest, unreinforced concrete dome • The Pantheon, Rome • Built: 118 – 128
• Machu Picchu in Peru: they carved a community out of a mountainside• The temple at Borobudur in Indonesia: with it’s distinctive bell - shaped details • Borobudur, Indonesia • Built: 1645 - 1693
The Potala Palace in Tibet: built on topof a mountain • Potala Palace, Tibet • Built: 8th – 9th Centuries
The Castle of Neuschwanstein in Germany: with classic towers so beautiful they used it as a model for Cinderella’s Castle at Disney World! • Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany • Built: 1645 - 1693 • Cinderella’s Castle, Disney World • Built: 1971
The Terracotta Warriors at a tomb in China: they are just plain impressive • Terracotta Warriors, China • Built: 3rd Century B.C.
If you can find a unique feature or characteristic to incorporate into your design, you WILL create something that will stand the test of time and rank with the world’s most amazing architecture. Good luck! Now that you have some tips, and have seen the best examples of the world’s masterpieces, get out there and BUILD SOMETHING!
Sources:Fernandez-Armesto, Felipe. The World, A History. 2010. New York.Howells, Trevor. The World’s Greatest Buildings. 2000. San Francisco.http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/world-heritage/photos/
Carolyn Brenner teaches middle school Social Studies. She has a passion for ancient civilizations and their contributions to our modern world. She lives with her family near Brighton, Michigan.