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History of Architecture (AP313) | Term Paper | 2013

Honesty of materials in the three periods: Neoclassism, IndoSaracenic, Art and craft movement
Term Paper for History of Architecture (AP131) Manik Bansal
Roll Number: 33 Sushant School of Art and Architecture

The paper defines the structural and functional honesty of materials in architecture. Further it discusses a subcategory of the above I.e. the honesty of material in architecture. Elaborating the honesty of materials there is a comparison between three periods in history of architecture- Neoclassicism, IndoSaracenic and art and craft movement. A short introduction to topics has been provided below:

The neoclassicism discusses the adoption of Pugins ideas and further work by John Ruskin-The Seven Lamps in architecture in which he defends truthfulness of structure and richness of ornament in natural forms, were enormously influential. It further discusses about the revival of gothic and the justice it does to the concept of honesty of materials.

The Indo-Saracenic discusses British importing European styles into India and merging it with Hindu and Muslim style and the amount of justice they do to the concept of truthfulness or honesty.

The third being arts and crafts movement where effect of industrialization are seen, one of the prominent artist as well as architect of this period- William Morris and his work is talked about. Being influenced by John Ruskin he believes in the concept of honesty of materials in architecture. The level of justice to the concept he does is looked upon by discussing his works.

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History of Architecture (AP313) | Term Paper | 2013

PAPER 1. Neo classical period:

Monticello (1769-1809) by Thomas Jefferson

Figure 1: Front elevation


Figure 2: Side Elevation


Jefferson's home was built to serve as a plantation house, which ultimately took on the architectural form of a villa. It has many architectural antecedents but Jefferson went beyond them to create something very much his own. He consciously sought to create a new architecture for a new nation. Jefferson added a center hallway and a parallel set of rooms to the structure. He removed the second full-height story from the original house and replaced it with a mezzanine bedroom floor. The interior is

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History of Architecture (AP313) | Term Paper | 2013

centered on two large rooms, which served as an entrance-hall-museum, where Jefferson displayed his scientific interests, and a music-sitting room. The most dramatic element of the new design was an octagonal dome, which he placed above the west front of the building in place of a second-story portico. The room inside the dome was described by a visitor as "a noble and beautiful apartment," but it was rarely usedperhaps because it was hot in summer and cold in winter, or because it could only be reached by climbing a steep and very narrow flight of stairs. The dome room has now been restored to its appearance during Jefferson's lifetime. The original main entrance is through the portico on the east front. The ceiling of this portico incorporates a wind plate connected to a weather vane, showing the direction of the wind. A large clock face on the external east-facing wall has only an hour hand since Jefferson thought this was accurate enough for outdoor laborers (slaves). The clock reflects the time shown on the "Great Clock", designed by Jefferson, in the entrance hall. The entrance hall contains recreations of items. The south wing includes Jefferson's private suite of rooms. considered much furniture to be a waste of space, so the dining room table was erected only at mealtimes, and beds were built into alcoves cut into thick walls that contain storage space. Jefferson's bed opens to two sides: to his cabinet (study) and to his bedroom (dressing room).The west front gives the impression of a villa of modest proportions, with a lower floor disguised in the hillside. The north wing includes two guest bedrooms and the dining room. It has a dumbwaiter incorporated into the fireplace, as well as dumbwaiters (shelved tables on castors) and a pivoting serving door with shelves.

Figure 3: Farms

The honesty of material in Neoclassical architecture emphasize on its planar qualities, rather than sculptural volumes. Projections and recessions and their effects of light and shade are more flat; sculptural bas-reliefs are flatter and tend to be enframed in friezes, tablets or panels. Its clearly articulated individual features are isolated rather than interpenetrating, autonomous and complete in themselves.The functional as well as the structural aspect of the Monticello building satisfies the ideologies followed in the neoclassical period related to the concept of honesty of materials behind. The functions performed in the building more or less are well supported by the use/choice of material of that time. Moreover the dome room and use of gadgets or enhanced technology at that period of time is also providing the sense of initiation in the enhancement of the methodology of using the existed material and following the characteristics of the architecture of this particular time period.

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History of Architecture (AP313) | Term Paper | 2013

2. Indo-sarcenic period
Indian Architecture + Mughal Architecture + European Architecture = British Architecture

Lutyens and Bakers Delhi (Rashtrapati Bhavan)

Figure 4: East Facade of Rashtrapati Bhavan


The Rashtrapati Bhavan is a vast mansion that houses the residence of the President of India. Its original purpose was the residence of the British Viceroy. The building and its surroundings were created to be 'an empire in stone'. That 'empire in stone' turned into a permanent institution of democracy on 26th January 1950, with the independence of India. The most prominent aspect of Rashtrapati Bhavan is its dome. Although Lutyen claimed that the design was inspired by the pantheon of the Rome, some analysts believed it was structured in the pattern of the great Stupa at Sanchi. The pre-dominance of Indian architecture in the dome is seen in the railings which are of Sanchi origin. Moreover the Rashtrapati Bhavan includes distinctly Indian architectural patterns such as Buddhist railings, chhajjas, chhatris and jaalis. Chhajjas are stone slabs fixed below the roof of a building. They are designed to prevent sunlight from falling on the windows and for protecting the walls from rain during the monsoon. Chhatris adorn the rooftops of the building. Jaalis are stone slabs with lots of perforations of floral and geometric patterns. Lutyens very carefully used chhajjas, chhatris and jaalis and deployed them at appropriate places. Lutyens also blended European styles to further enhance their aesthetics and utility. Another feature of the architecture of the Rashtrapati Bhavan is the use of Indian temple bells in its pillars. Blending these bells with the Hellenic style architecture creates a fusion of Indian and European designs. Such bells are however absence in the North Block, South Block and the Parliament House. It is interesting to note that the ideas to adopt such bells in the pillars of Rashtrapati Bhavan came from a Jain temple at Moodabidri in Karnataka.
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History of Architecture (AP313) | Term Paper | 2013

Figure 5: Rashtrapati Bhavan Central Dome


The Mughal Gardens situated at the back of the Rashtrapati Bhavan, incorporates both Mughal and English landscaping styles and feature a vast variety of flowers. Main garden: Two channels running North to South and two running east to West divide this garden into a grid of squares. Terrace garden: There are two longitudinal strips of garden at a higher level on either side of the Main Garden forming the Northern and Southern boundary. Long Garden or the 'Purdha Garden': This is located to the West of the Main Garden, and runs along on either side of the central pavement which goes to the circular garden. There is a red sandstone pergola in the centre over the central pavement which is covered with Rose creepers, Petrea, Bougainvillea etc. The walls are covered with creepers like Jasmine etc. In this period it is about the use of their own engineering innovations which came to include infrastructures composed of iron, steel and poured concrete. The vocabulary used in this building
reflects the use of construction techniques which Britishers usually followed in this period i.e. by getting inspired from Asian context and their own colonisers and the use of locally available skilled labour which actually concludes their engineering innovations into a building block. The Rashtrapati Bhavan also has the elements which reflect their influence from context and the use of the materials used in this period for construction.

By studying all these aspects of this building, the equation Indian Architecture + Mughal Architecture + European Architecture = British Architecture Holds true, it actually satisfies the whole concept of honesty of architecture in terms of the structural and functional honesty of materials in that period of time.

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History of Architecture (AP313) | Term Paper | 2013

3. Arts and crafts movement

Red house by William Morris

Figure 6: The Red House in Bexleyheath, Ken


This style started as a search for aesthetic design and decoration and a reaction against the styles that were developed by machine-production. Arts and Crafts objects were simple in form, without superfluous or excessive decoration, and how they were constructed was often still visible. They tended to emphasize the qualities of the materials used ("truth to material"). They often had patterns inspired by British flora and fauna and used the vernacular, or domestic, traditions of the British countryside. They were influenced by the Gothic Revival and were interested in medieval styles, using bold forms and strong colors based on medieval designs. They claimed to believe in the moral purpose of art. In order to express the beauty of craft, some products were deliberately left slightly unfinished, resulting in a certain rustic and robust effect. He wanted a house "very medieval in spirit", a simple design harking back to the cottages in the Cotswold rather than the fussy mid-Victorian architecture then in fashion. He liked countryside that was open and fertile with preferably a river or other feature and Upton fitted this almost perfectly. The house as a whole was described as bringing in "a new era in house building" and Burne-Jones described it as, "the most beautiful place on earth". The garden carried on the theme of the house. It was, however, with the interior decoration that Morris's talent was to show. The decorations were
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History of Architecture (AP313) | Term Paper | 2013

applied directly to the wooden and plaster surfaces. The drawing room ceiling was open to the roof with floral designs on the walls. In the centre of the south wall was a vast settle brought from Morris' studio in Red Lion Square and the addition of a loft added by Webb did duty as a Minstrel's gallery and access to the roof. The house was built of deep red brick laid in the English bond. It had two storeys and was L-shaped. The roof was steep with tall chimney. Dark red tiles covered the floor. The walls of the principal bedroom were hung with embroidered serge.

The house is entered through a large wooden door that leads to a rectangular hallway. A settle Morris decorated with images from the medieval German epic Niebelungenlied is to the right. The hallway is filled with light from the windows from the staircase to the second floor, which is directly ahead, and from the stained-glass windows in the corridor to the left, which leads to the first-floor sitting rooms. The dining room to the right contains the original hutch designed by Philip Webb, which has Gothic motifs such as the trefoil and is painted in dragons blood (a deep red-brown favored by Arts and Crafts practitioners), the original heavy, rustic dining room table, and the a decorative arch in the brickwork around the fireplace. Other original built-in furniture can be found in the main living room on the second floor, which also contains a fireplace. In red house Morris has able to satisfy the honesty of architecture by in cooperating the gothic architecture features into his house but on the other hand providing material where it is not required actually enables him to satisfy the honesty of material. For example the type of arch he used in the building is basically a false arch which is just based on the ideas of indulging gothic architecture in his house.

1. Watkin, David. 1996. A history of western architecture. London: Laurence king, 1996. ISBN 1856690822 2. Ching, Francis D K, Jarzombek, Mark M and Prakash, Vikramaditya. 2011. A Global History of Architecture. s.l. : John Willey & Sons, 2011. ISBN: 0470902485, 9780470902486 3. 4. 5. Wikipedia

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