Which architectural style popularized the use of synthetic building material
s such as glass, plastic and steel? Bits of Architecture
Art Deco. The Chrysler Building in New York City and the Broadcasting Ho
use in London are both examples of the predominant use of these materials during
the Art Deco Period of architecture (1920's and 1930's).
The great dome of St. Peter's in Rome was designed by Italian artist Michael
angelo, but who first used the revolutionary design idea of the dome's design on
the Florence Cathedral? Bits of Architecture
Filippo Brunelleschi. The base of the great dome in St. Peter's cathedra
l, spanning 137 feet, is prevented from splaying outward under the dome's weight
by an encircling iron chain. This revolutionary idea, which did away with the n
eed for massive buttressing, was first used by architect Filippo Brunelleschi on
the dome of the Florence Cathedral. According to an old story, Brunelleschi use
d a trick in winning a competition in 1417 to design the dome. Rather than revea
l his plans in advance, he persuaded judges to decide by asking the competitors
to stand an egg on its end on smooth marble. After the others failed, Brunellesc
hi, in an early example of lateral thinking, neatly smashed one end, then the eg
g stood upright easily.
The Empire State Building in New York City is one of the tallest buildings i
n the world and has seen some thirty people leap to their deaths from its height
s. At least two would-be suicides, however, survived their attempts from the bui
lding. How were they saved? Bits of Architecture
They did not jump far enough outward from the building.. On December 22,
1977, a 26-year-old man named Thomas Helms jumped from the observatory on the 8
6th floor. Because he didn't jump far enough out from the building, he fell only
about 20 feet onto a 3' x 4' ledge on the 85th floor and was not seriously hurt
. On December 2, 1979, 29-year-old Elvita Adams jumped from the same level. She
jumped further outward but was saved by a strong gust of wind that also blew her
e onto the 85th floor ledge. She escaped with a broken hip.
You've just entered a building. Before you arrived, a stranger told you abou
t an incredible sculpture in the fastigium. Where should you look in order to se
e this sculpture? Egyptian And Ancient Architecture Terms
Look up! The fastigium is above you.. The fastigium is the pediment, a t
riangular gable over a portico formed by the juncture of roof and cornice, so un
less you're really tall or have Inspector Gadget legs, it should be above you.
What is an oculus? Egyptian And Ancient Architecture Terms
A horizontal circular opening.. There is a famous oculus at the height o
f the Pantheon's dome. Oculi are good sources for natural light (perhaps a precu
rsor to today's skylights).
A column built with entasis is one that swells slightly in the middle and na
rrows towards the top. What is the use of this architectural technique? Egyptian
And Ancient Architecture Terms
It counteracts the optical illusion of concavity that would result witho
ut entasis.. Architects employ many techniques to counteract optical illusions,
and entasis is one of them.
What is a cenotaph? Egyptian And Ancient Architecture Terms
A tomb without a body.. A cenotaph is an empty tomb, erected in honor of
a dead ruler.
Which is true of Egyptian and Roman obelisks? Egyptian And Ancient Arc
hitecture Terms
Egyptian obelisks have low bases; Roman obelisks stand on very high plat
forms.. Today, most European obelisks are modeled after the ancient Roman style,
standing on big and often eccentric platforms. I don't think any obelisks thick
en as they go up. Very few obelisks have carvings at their tips. Some do carry c
rosses, but I haven't heard of any with flowers or people. Very few obelisks, ei
ther Egyptian or Roman, remain today in their original places. The Egyptian obel
isks, especially, were transplanted as the lands were plundered and European cul
tures took the monuments back to their own countries with them.
What would you be likely to find in a mastaba? Egyptian And Ancient Arc
hitecture Terms
Dead bodies. Mastabas were used as burial structures. They started off a
s below-ground pits, then were built up into mounds to prevent robbery of the gr
aves. These eventually evolved into the massive pyramids easily recognizable and
automatically associated with Egyptian architecture.
With increasing religious fervor, Gaudí spent the last forty-three years of hi
s life working on the famous cathedral in Barcelona, the Sagrada Familia. Which
is the ornate transept shown in most photographs of the building? Gaudí's Ar
East. The East, or Nativity, Transept - indeed, most of the cathedral -
is of almost indescribable, organic complexity. The West, or Passion, Transept i
s shockingly bare, to symbolise pain and desolation. Much of the cathedral remai
ns to be built: some estimates reckon it will take another five hundred years to
complete, yet it is already a justifiably world-famous monument to which visito
rs flock. The cathedral is Gaudí's great legacy, and the logical climax of his car
The Casa Milá (1906-10) is known in Barcelona as 'La Pedrera', on account of i
ts appearance. What is the English translation of 'La Pedrera'? Gaudí's Architectu
The Quarry. The rough-hewn stone façade of the Casa Milá resembles concrete,
or even sand in its gently curving form. Each of the wrought iron balconies is
different, their complex interlaced elements something like a work by Giger. The
chimneys of the building are also beautiful and massive structures, creating a
whole landscape on the building's roof.
At the Casa Batlló, Gaudí remodeled a first floor flat and the entire façade of th
e building. Which new material did he use to great effect on the front? Gaudí's Ar
Broken glass. This is surely Gaudí's greatest Art Nouveau work. The hugely
inventive façade also uses carved stone and circular ceramic plates, whilst the r
oof resembles a fabulous multi-coloured dragon, and the interior is a celebratio
n of blue tiles, some textured, boldest in the lightest areas and lightest in th
e darkest.
One famed feature of Güell Park is the benches Gaudí designed. What form do they
take? Gaudí's Architecture
Serpentine. Gaudí aimed to work with the natural contours of the land in t
he park, and as a result, created stunning elevated walkways and covered paths.
The benches extended this philosophy, by responding to the natural curves of the
human body. Their wave-like form encourages close groupings in the concave sect
ions - a great and original idea.
Güell's grandest project was for 'Güell Park' (1900-1914). Was it originally int
ended that anyone should live in the park? Gaudí's Architecture
Yes. The park was inspired by the Garden City movement, and Güell hoped it
would contain sixty dwellings, but it proved unpopular a was later bought by th
e city of Barcelona without housing. Gaudí designed some great buildings for the d
evelopment, including the classically-inspired main entrance, and a porter's lod
ge with a spotted white tower.
By the time Gaudí designed Bellesguard (1906-9), he had spent a great deal of
time studying mediaeval architecture, and partly restoring Palma Cathedral. What
was the main source for this dwelling? Gaudí's Architecture
Castle keep. Bellesguard (literally, 'beautiful view') is on the site of
a fourteenth-century royal manor house, and it is probably this which inspired
the castellated bulk of the surprisingly graceful building.
Gaudí was heavily influenced by Gothic architecture when constructing the cryp
t of what was intended to be a church at the Güell Colony (1898-1917). Which usual
feature of Gothic churches did he attach great importance to avoiding? Gaudí's Ar
Flying buttresses. The Colony was intended to house workers from Güell's t
extile factory. Gaudí believed that buildings should support themselves, without t
he 'crutches' of flying butresses. Although the church was never completed, the
many-columned crypt demonstrates vividly the developing style Gaudí was to use at
the Sagrada Familia, with its parabolic arches and leaning pillars.
At the College of Santa Teresa de Jesús (1888-9), Gaudí took over an existing pr
oject and built the upper floors of this (slightly) more sober building. Who was
this building designed for? Gaudí's Architecture
Religious Order. Gaudí's first religious building also housed a small scho
ol, run by the order of Saint Teresa of Avila. The building is a further develop
ment of the unique neo-gothic style Gaudí was making his own.
The Palau Güell (1886-9) was Gaudí's first work for his major patron, Eusebi Güell
. Which region, dear to them both, does the building contains numerous reference
s to? Gaudí's Architecture
Catalonia. The Güell Palace is in a fantastical fusion of art nouveau and
neo-gothic styles. Externally, it is has an imposing but monochrome castellated
façade, but inside and on the roof, Gaudí's imagination ran wild. The central hall f
eatures a grand organ, and Gaudí even designed the elegant but uncomfortable furni
Gaudí's first built design (1883-8) was a summer house for Mañuel Vicens. What w
as included in the design as an advertisement for his business? Gaudí's Architectu
Huge numbers of tiles. Vicens was a wealthy brick and tile manufacturer
- but not wealthy enough, as this house nearly bankrupted him! Gaudí designed him
a richly decorated house, externally in a Moorish style and internally with diff
erent schemes and motifs in each room.
Which Roman author wrote what became the standard text on classical architec
ture? Orders of Architecture
Vitruvius. The Twelve Books of Marcus Vitruvius Pollo are the only survi
ving contemporary book on classical architecture. They set out not only the clas
sical orders, and their uses, but every other matter related to architecture, fr
om the different styles of brickwork to siting and planning a town. From his wor
ks, rediscovered in the fifteenth century, and observations of surviving classic
al buildings, architects from the Renaissance onwards were able to build new bui
ldings. Ever-changing interpretations of the orders leave a tremendous legacy fo
r us today.
Unlike the Greeks, the Romans often used more than one order of columns in t
iered arcades. Which order was almost invariably the base? Orders of Archit
Doric. The Romans codified the orders, and also developed square columns
, called pilasters, and half-columns, attached to a wall. They established regul
ar proportions for the different orders, and appropriate spacings between column
s. Where multiple columns were required, they were arranged with the simplest (D
oric, or in the Renaissance, Tuscan) at the bottom, then through Ionic and Corin
thian to the most dramatic, Composite order on the top storey.
What is the name given to carved, full-length female figures used like colum
ns, in classical architecture? Orders of Architecture
Caryatids. Atlantes (or telamones) are the male equivalent of Caryatids,
while female figure carrying baskets are known as canophorae. Herms are three-q
uarter length human figures, while Terms are three-quarter length animal figures
. Used in Classical architecture, they regained popularity in the baroque period
, where in a development of the Renaissance, buildings were adorned with complex
shapes and carvings.
The capital of the Composite order is a combination of those of which other
orders? Orders of Architecture
Ionic and Corinthian. The Romans developed the Composite order, and rega
rded it as the most elaborate style, suitable for the likes of triumphal arches.
Its capital is often very richly carved, and in some ways reminiscent of the Ae
olic style.
Which order of architecture is essentially a simplification of the Doric ord
er? Orders of Architecture
Tuscan. The Tuscan order was developed by the Romans, but they regarded
it as unimportant, and no Roman examples remain. Based on Etruscan architecture
(which itself was a translation of early Greek architecture), it had an unfluted
column, and minimal mouldings provided the only decoration. The simplicity of t
he order led to its popularity in the Renaissance.
The capital of the Corinthian order is decorated with which type of leaves?
Orders of Architecture
Acanthus. The Corinthian order, the third great Greek order, was develop
ed later than the Ionic and Doric orders. Although it was developed in Athens, i
t was rarely used by the Greeks, but the Romans valued it highly and further emb
ellished it.
Which order evolved alongside and influenced the Ionic order? Orders o
f Architecture
Aeolic. The Greeks borrowed many of their ornaments from other cultures,
and the rare Aeolic order shows how they came to influence the Ionic order. The
Aeolic order, like the Doric, had no base, but its capitals had scrolled volute
s, like the Ionic order. In the Aeolic more than the Ionic, these resemble rams'
horns, with a palm leaf inserted between them, in a clear allusion to Egyptian,
Mesopotamian and Assyrian styles. The Aeolic order was quickly replaced by the
Which architectural order is said to have proportions based on those of an i
deal woman's body? Orders of Architecture
Ionic. While the Doric was said to be based on the proportions of an ide
al man's body, Ionic was the feminine order. It is thinner, in proportion to its
height, than the Doric, has a stepped base and typically a sculpted frieze. The
Roman version was similar, but even more elaborately decorated. The Greeks tend
ed to use the Ionic order for smaller buildings and interiors.
Which order of architecture is believed to have developed directly from wood
en buildings? Orders of Architecture
Doric. Doric is the oldest and most popular of the Greek orders of archi
tecture. The columns are closely placed, without bases, and with fluted shafts.
The capital has a cuboid abacus and simple mouldings. The Roman Doric order is s
imilar, but has thinner columns with bases and slightly different mouldings.
In general, a classical order can be divided into base, column (which may be
subdivided as shaft and capital), and which other element? Orders of Archit
Entablature. The entablature itself is divided into an architrave, a fri
eze and a cornice. The capital is where the greatest differences between the ord
ers lies, although they also differ in proportions, and in the style of each ele
ment. Styles also varied over time and between different areas. Different orders
were associated with different types of building, but all these rules were adap
ted to specific conditions. The Parthenon, for instance, combines elements of th
e Doric and Ionic orders very successfully.
This term came from the Latin, and refers to a space typically found below g
round in a house or other architectural construct. To what am I referring?
Architecture for Everybody
Cellar. Clearly, if you were in the attic in this question, you were in
the wrong place! The attic of a building is found on the underside of its roof.
A vestibule is a small chamber or hall to be found just inside the outer door of
a building. If you are walking along the veranda, you will be able to smell the
open air. It's an open platform, with a roof, to be found on the outside of a h
ouse. The word 'cellar' comes from the Latin for 'storehouse', and will always b
e found under the ground level of a house.
Ionic, Doric and Corinthian are all orders of what important structure, impo
rtant for architects since ancient Greek times? Architecture for Everybody
Columns. Ionic, Doric and Corinthian are three of the five ancient order
s of column that have come down to us from antiquity. The other two are Tuscan a
nd Composite. The terms are named for periods of time and/or locations in Ancien
t Greece.