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The art and science of designing and constructing buildings

specialists in designing structures

Architecture first evolved out of the dynamics between needs (shelter, security, worship, etc.) and means (available building materials and attendant skills). Prehistoric and primitive architecture constitute this early stage. As humans progressed and knowledge began to be formalized through oral traditions and practices, architecture evolved into a craft. Here there is first a process of trial and error, and later improvisation or replication of a successful trial. The architect is not the sole important figure; he is merely part of a continuing tradition. What is termed as Vernacular architecture today falls under this mode and still continues to be produced in many parts of the world.

In many ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians' and Mesopotamians' architecture and urbanism reflected the constant engagement with the divine and the supernatural. However, the architecture and urbanism of the Classical civilizations such as the Greek and the Roman evolved from more civic ideas and many new building types emerged. Architectural styles developed and texts on architecture began to be written. These became canons to be followed in important works, especially religious architecture. Some examples of canons are the works of Vitruvius, the Kaogongji of ancient China and Vaastu Shastra in ancient India. In Europe in the Classical and Medieval periods, buildings were not attributed to specific individual architects who remained anonymous. Guilds were formed by craftsmen to organize their trade. Over time the complexity of buildings and their types increased. General civil construction such as roads and bridges began to be built. Many new building types such as schools, hospitals, and recreational facilities emerged.

Islamic architecture all by itself merits a special discussion. The concept of Islamic architecture can be understood in several ways. But perhaps a concise way of defining it would be to say that Islamic architecture is simply the architecture characteristic of predominantly Islamic societies as well as similar architecture elsewhere. Using this definition, Islamic architecture has a long and complex history beginning in the 7th century CE continuing today. Examples can be found throughout the countries that are, or were, Islamic - from Morocco and Spain to Iran, and Indonesia. Other examples can be found in areas where Muslims are a minority. Islamic architecture includes mosques, madrasas, caravansarais, palaces, and mausolea of this large region.

With the Renaissance and its emphasis on the individual and humanity rather than religion, and with all its attendant progress and achievements, a new chapter began. Buildings were ascribed to specific architects - Michelangelo, Brunelleschi, Leonardo da Vinci - and the cult of the individual had begun. But there was no dividing line between artist, architect and engineer, or any of the related vocations. At this stage, it was still possible for an artist to design a bridge as the level of structural calculations involved were within the scope of the generalist. With the consolidation of knowledge in scientific fields such as engineering and the rise of new materials and technology, the architect began to lose ground on the technical aspects of building. He therefore cornered for himself another playing field - that of aesthetics. There was the rise of the "gentleman architect" who usually dealt with wealthy clients and concentrated predominantly on visual qualities derived usually from historical prototypes. In the 19th century Ecole des Beaux Arts in France, the training was toward producing quick sketch schemes involving beautiful drawings without much emphasis on context.

Meanwhile, the Industrial Revolution laid open the door for mass consumption and aesthetics started becoming a criterion even for the middle class as ornamented products, once within the province of expensive craftsmanship, became cheaper under machine production. Such products lacked the beauty and honesty associated with the expression of the process in the product. The dissatisfaction with such a general situation at the turn of the twentieth century gave rise to many new lines of thought that in architecture served as precursors to Modern Architecture. Notable among these is the Deutscher Werkbund, formed in 1907 to produce better quality machine made objects. The rise of the profession of industrial design is usually placed here. Following this lead, the Bauhaus school, founded in Germany in 1919, consciously rejected history and looked at architecture as a synthesis of art, craft, and technology.

Mobius Strip Temple

TetrahedralShaped Church

Pentagonal, Phyllotactic Greenhouse and Education Center

A Mathematically-Inclined Cucumber in the Sky

Cube Village

Indian architecture

Webb Bridge

Cube house eagle

The Onion

The cellerium

Sydney Opera House

Eiffel Tower

Kuala Lumpur

4 c. A.D 14 c.AD


Byzantine art and architecture, works of art and structures works produced in the city of Byzantium after Constantine made it the capital of the Roman Empire (A.D. 330) and the work done under Byzantine influence, as in Venice, Ravenna, Norman Sicily, as well as in Syria, Greece, Russia, and other Eastern countries.

For more than a thousand years, until the conquest of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453, Byzantine art retained a remarkably conservative orientation; the major phases of its development emerge from a background marked by adherence to classical principles. Artistic activity was temporarily disrupted by the Iconoclastic controversy (726843), which resulted in the wholesale destruction of figurative works of art and the restriction of permissible content to ornamental forms or to symbols like the cross. The pillaging of Constantinople by the Frankish Crusaders in 1204 was perhaps a more serious blow; but it was followed by an impressive late flowering of Byzantine art under the Paleologus dynasty.


Byzantine achievements in mosaic decoration brought this art to an unprecedented level of monumentality and expressive power. Mosaics were applied to the domes, half-domes, and other available surfaces of Byzantine churches in an established hierarchical order. The center of the dome was reserved for the representation of the Pantocrator, or Jesus as the ruler of the universe, whereas other sacred personages occupied lower spaces in descending order of importance. The entire church thus served as a tangible evocation of the celestial order; this conception was further enhanced by the stylized poses and gestures of the figures, their hieratic gaze, and the luminous shimmer of the gold backgrounds. Because of the destruction of many major monuments in Constantinople proper, large ensembles of mosaic decoration have survived chiefly outside the capital, in such places as Salonica, Nicaea, and Daphni in Greece and Ravenna in Italy.

Painting An important aspect of Byzantine artistic activity was the painting of devotional panels, since the cult of icons played a leading part in both religious and secular life. Icon painting usually employed the encaustic technique. Little scope was afforded individuality; the effectiveness of the religious image as a vehicle of divine presence was held to depend on its fidelity to an established prototype. A large group of devotional images has been preserved in the monastery of St. Catherine on Mt. Sinai. The development of Byzantine painting may also be seen in manuscript illumination. Among notable examples of Byzantine illumination are a lavishly illustrated 9th-century copy of the Homilies of Gregory Nazianzus and two works believed to date from a 10thcentury revival of classicism, the Joshua Rotulus (or Roll) and the Paris Psalter.

Other Arts Enamel, ivory, and metalwork objects of Byzantine workmanship were highly prized throughout the Middle Ages; many such works are found in the treasuries of Western churches. Most of these objects were reliquaries or devotional panels, although an important series of ivory caskets with pagan subjects has also been preserved. Byzantine silks, the manufacture of which was a state monopoly, were also eagerly sought and treasured as goods of utmost luxury.

The architecture of the Byzantine Empire was based on the great legacy of Roman formal and technical achievements. Constantinople had been purposely founded as the Christian counterpart and successor to the leadership of the old pagan city of Rome. The new capital was in close contact with the Hellenized East, and the contribution of Eastern culture, though sometimes overstressed, was an important element in the development of its architectural style. The 5th-century basilica of St. John of the Studion, the oldest surviving church in Constantinople, is an early example of Byzantine reliance upon traditional Roman models. The most imposing achievement of Byzantine architecture is the Church of Holy Wisdom or Hagia Sophia. It was constructed in a short span of five years (53237) during the reign of Justinian. Hagia Sophia is without a clear antecedent in the architecture of late antiquity, yet it must be accounted as culminating several centuries of experimentation toward the realization of a unified space of monumental dimensions. Throughout the history of Byzantine religious architecture, the centrally planned structure continued in favor. Such structures, which may show considerable variation in plan, have in common the predominance of a central domed space, flanked and partly sustained by smaller domes and half-domes spanning peripheral spaces.

Although many of the important buildings of Constantinople have been destroyed, impressive examples are still extant throughout the provinces and on the outer fringes of the empire, notably in Bulgaria, Russia, Armenia, and Sicily. A great Byzantine architectural achievement is the octagonal church of San Vitale (consecrated 547) in Ravenna. The church of St. Mark's in Venice was based on a Byzantine prototype, and Byzantine workmen were employed by Arab rulers in the Holy Land and in Ottonian Germany during the 11th cent. Secular architecture in the Byzantine Empire has left fewer traces. Foremost among these are the ruins of the 5th-century walls of the city of Constantinople, consisting of an outer and an inner wall, each originally studded with 96 towers. Some of these can still be seen.

Roman Concrete and Brickwork

The system of construction in concrete and brickwork introduced by the Romans was adopted by the Byzantines. The carcase of concrete and brickwork was first completed and allowed to settle before the surface sheathing of unyielding marble slabs was added, and this independence of the component parts is characteristic of Byzantine construction. Brickwork, moreover. lent itself externally to decorative caprices in patterns and banding, and internally it was suitable for covering with marble, mosaic, and fresco decoration. The Byzantines therefore took great pains in the manufacture of bricks, which were employed alike in military, ecclesiastical, and domestic architecture. The ordinary bricks were like the Roman, about an inch and a half in depth, and were laid on thick beds of mortar.

This general use of brickwork necessitated special care in making mortar, which was composed of lime and sand with crushed pottery, tiles, or bricks, and much of it remains as hard as that in the best buildings of Rome, while the core of the wall was sometimes of concrete, as in the Roman period. The decorative character of external facades depended largely on the arrangement of the facing bricks, which were not always laid horizontally, but sometimes obliquely, sometimes in the form of the meander fret, sometimes in the chevron or herringbone pattern, and in many other similar designs, giving great variety to the facades. An attempt was also made to ornament the rough brick exteriors by the use of stone bands and decorative arches. Walls were sheeted internally with marble and vaults and domes with coloured glass mosaics on a golden background.


The dome, which had always been a traditional feature in the East, became the prevailing motif of Byzantine architecture, which was a fusion of the domical construction with the Classical columnar style. Domes of various types were now placed over square compartments by means of "pendentives," whereas in Roman architecture domes were only used over circular or polygonal structures. These domes were frequently constructed of bricks or of some light porous stone, such as pumice, or even of pottery, as at S. Vitale, Ravenna. Byzantine domes and vaults were, it is believed, constructed without temporary support or "centering " by the simple use of large flat bricks, and this is quite a distinct system probably derived from Eastern methods. Windows were formed in the lower portion of the dome which, in the later period, was hoisted upon a high "drum" - a feature which was still further embellished in the Renaissance period by the addition of an external peristyle. The grouping of small domes or semi-domes round the large central dome was effective, and one of the most remarkable peculiarities of Byzantine churches was that the forms of the vaults and domes were visible externally, undisguised by any timber roof; thus in the Byzantine style the exterior closely corresponds with the interior.

Interior decoration
in domes and apses by colored mosaics, which were of glass rendered opaque by oxide of tin, an invention which had also been employed in the Early Christian period. This use of rich marbles and mosaics resulted in the rounding of angles and in an absence of moldings and cornices, so that the mosaic designs and pictures might continue uninterrupted over wall surfaces, piers, arches, domes, and apses Marble and mosaic were used broadly to make a complete lining for a rough carcase and moldings were replaced by decorative bands formed in the mosaic. One surface melts into another as the mosaic is continued from arch and pendentive upwards to the dome, while the gold of the background was even introduced into the figures, and thus unity of treatment was always maintained.



Basilica di San Lorenzo, Milano

Basilica of San Vitale

Basilica of Sant'Apollinare in Classe

Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo

Ca Da Mosto

Presented by:

Easter l. Guzman