Thursday, October 23, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
The principle architectural types of Islamic architecture are; the Mosque, the Tomb, the Palace and the Fort. From these four types, the vocabulary of Islamic architecture is derived and used for buildings of lesser imporModern Islamic architecture has recently been taken on to a whole new level with such buildings being erected such as the Burj Dubai, which is soon to be the world's tallest building. The Burj Dubai's design is derived from the patterning systems embodied in Islamic architecture, with the triple-lobed footprint of the building based on an abstracted version of the desert flower hymenocallis which is native to the Dubai region. Nature and flowers have often been the focal point in most traditional Islamic designs. Many modern interpretations of Islamic architecture can be found in Dubai due to the architectural boom of the Arab World. Yet to be built is Madinat al-Hareer in Kuwait which also has modern versions of Islamic architecture in its super tall tower.tance such as public baths, fountains and domestic architecture.
Since before the 4th century C.E., Christians have come together to worship in a building dedicated to that purpose.From the birth of Christianity to the present, the most significant period of transformation for Christian architecture and design was the time between the birth of Christian humanism as a self-conscious philosophical tendency in Europe in the early 12th century, to the late Reformation period in the 17th century. According to historian James C. Russell[ci, this period was crucial in the development of Christianity in Europe, and the changing nature of the faith and its architectural design proved to be extremely influential to the world of religious architecture in general.
Christian Humanism began in the 12th century with the principle of commonality among all Christians as its basic ethos. Correspondingly, according to David Ross, this period of church design (1180–1275) marks the first flowering of dedicated church architecture. This era, referred to as Gothic, featured churches that were built to appear that they were "reaching for the sky", as a symbolic expression of religious aspiration (stretching toward heaven). At this time Church architecture had to symbolise Christian belief to a population that could generally not read or write. Carvings and statues had a role to play to people who could not read for themselves, which further allowed church architecture to tell a story. As a result it was in this period that religious symbolism became an important part of church design. Further, as most dwellings were little more than mud huts, the construction of the church from stone served to set it apart as a building of extraordinary significance. Therefore Christian Humanism emphasised the unity and equality of all Christians, and architecture played a significant role in allowing Christians from all walks of life to come together in comfortable (and occasionally even splendid) surroundings.
In the book Architecture in Communion (Ignatius Press, 1998), author and Catholic church architect Steven J. Schloeder notes that Gothic sensibility was rooted in the teachings of Dionysius the Areopagite, and was a theological rather than stylistic initiative:
"The Gothic cathedral as an expression of the heavenly Jerusalem was not an attempt at “stylistic” or aesthetic expression. Nor was it a theatrical presentation enabled by the evolving technology of the age. Instead it was a very real religious image —at least in the mind of Abbot Suger of St.-Denis, the builder the first “Gothic” building —of the celestial city on earth, “a spectacle in which heaven and earth, the angelic hosts in heaven and the human community in the sanctuary, seemed to merge.”
In the early 16th century Martin Luther and the Reformation brought a period of radical change to church design. Prior to the Reformation, the Bible had only been transcribed into Latin; thus only a few Church-educated priests and scholars were able to understand it. The Reformation saw the Bible translated into the common languages, beginning with German. Hence emphasis in the reforming churches shifted from the surroundings to the readings, which people were able to understand for the first time. In these churches, the pulpit now became the dominant feature, as the Word of God became the central focus of congregation and emphasis was placed less on the splendour of the setting and more upon the readings and sermon. Proscriptions against images and symbols meant that architecture, having lost its need to signify the sacred, became seen as merely providing for functionality. However while the birth of Protestantism led to massive changes in the way that Christianity was practiced (and hence the design of churches), Catholic churches retained an emphasis on the symbolic.
According to Duncan Stroik, late in the Reformation period, there was a shift across all denominations to an emphasis on "full and active participation". In the Roman Catholic Church this was achieved through an emphasis on "emotional exuberance", which meant that even those members of the congregation who were unfamiliar with the ceremony could still be deeply moved. With the onset late 16th century, exquisite marble statues adorned the churches, and gold fittings combined with superb stained glass windows in a celebration of the faith. In contrast, in Protestant churches the altar and tabernacle were often removed, and a communion table and pulpit replaced the altar. Despite the apparent disparity, both denominations sought to provide for fundamentally the same purpose: to allow the worshippers to feel close to God.
Ancient Rome boasted the most impressive technological feats of its day, using many advancements that would be lost in the Middle Ages and not be rivaled again until the 19th and 20th centuries. But though adept at adopting and synthesizing other cultures' technologies, the Roman civilization was not especially innovative or progressive. Many practical Roman innovations were adopted from earlier Greek designs. New ideas were rarely developed. Roman society considered the articulate soldier who could wisely govern a large household the ideal, and Roman law made no provisions for intellectual property nor the promotion of invention. The concept of "scientists" and "engineers" did not yet exist, and advancements were often divided and based on craft, as groups of artisans jealously guarded new technologies as trade secrets. Nevertheless, a number of vital technological breakthroughs were spread and thoroughly used by Rome, contributing to an enormous degree to Rome's dominance and lasting influence in Europe.
Roman engineering as well as Roman military engineering constituted a large portion of Rome's technological superiority and legacy, and contributed to the construction of hundreds of roads, bridges, aqueducts, baths, theaters and arenas. Many monuments, such as the Colosseum, Pont du Gard, and Pantheon, still remain as testaments to Roman engineering and culture.
The Romans were particularly renowned for their architecture, which is grouped with Greek traditions into "Classical architecture". During the Roman Republic, it remained stylistically almost identical to Greek architecture. Although there were many differences from Greek architecture, Rome borrowed heavily from Greece in adhering to strict, formulaic building designs and proportions. Aside from two new orders of columns, composite and Tuscan, and from the dome, which was derived from the Etruscan arch, Rome had relatively few architectural innovations until the end of the Republic.
In the 1st century BC, Romans started to use concrete, widely. Concrete was invented in the late 3rd century BC. It was a powerful cement derived from pozzolana, and soon supplanted marble as the chief Roman building material and allowed many daring architectural schemata. Also in the 1st century BC, Vitruvius wrote De architectura, possibly the first complete treatise on architecture in history. In late 1st century BC, Rome also began to use glassblowing soon after its invention in Syria about 50 BC. Mosaics took the Empire by storm after samples were retrieved during Lucius Cornelius Sulla's campaigns in Greece. Article on history of Roman concrete
Concrete made possible the paved, durable Roman roads, many of which were still in use a thousand years after the fall of Rome. The construction of a vast and efficient travel network throughout the Empire dramatically increased Rome's power and influence. It was originally constructed to allow Roman legions to be rapidly deployed. But these highways also had enormous economic significance, solidifying Rome's role as a trading crossroads—the origin of the saying "all roads lead to Rome". The Roman government maintained way stations which provided refreshments to travelers at regular intervals along the roads, constructed bridges where necessary, and established a system of horse relays for couriers that allowed a dispatch to travel up to 800 kilometers (500 mi) in 24 hours.The Romans constructed numerous aqueducts to supply water to cities and industrial sites and to assist in their agriculture. The city of Rome was supplied by 11 aqueducts with a combined length of 350 kilometres (220 mi).Most aqueducts were constructed below the surface, with only small portions above ground supported by arches. Sometimes, where depressions deeper than 50 metres (165 ft) had to be crossed, inverted siphons were used to force water uphill. The Romans also made major advancements in sanitation. Romans were particularly famous for their public baths, called thermae, which were used for both hygienic and social purposes. Many Roman houses came to have flush toilets and indoor plumbing, and a complex sewer system, the Cloaca Maxima, was used to drain the local marshes and carry waste into the Tiber river. Some historians have speculated that the use of lead pipes in the sewer and plumbing systems led to widespread lead poisoning which contributed to the decline in birth rate and general decay of Roman society leading up to the fall of Rome. However, lead content would have been minimized because the flow of water from aqueducts could not be shut off; it ran continuously through public and private outlets into the drains, and only a small number of taps were in use.
Monday, October 6, 2008
It was referred to by its inhabitants and neighboring nations simply as the Roman Empire (in Greek Βασιλεία Ῥωμαίων, Basileia Rōmaiōn), Empire of the Romans or Romania (Ῥωμανία, Rōmaniā). Its emperorsRoman Emperors, preserving Greco-Roman legal and cultural traditions. continued the unbroken succession of
To the Islamic world it was known primarily as روم (Rûm "Rome"). Due to the linguistic, cultural, and demographic dominance of medieval Greek it was known to many of its western European contemporaries as Imperium Graecorum, the Empire of the Greeks (see also the etymology section).
The definition of this empire as a distinct entity in itself constitutes an implicit or explicit rejection of its emperors and people's claim to be Romans and succesors of the Roman Empire - a rejection based on the assumption that only an empire using Latin as its official language and based in Italy can be considered truly "Roman", and that geographical move into hellenistic territory and linguistic-cultural adoption of Greek constituted a transformation into an inherently different identity.
The Eastern Roman Empire's evolution into a different culture from the ancient Roman Empire can be seen as a process beginning when the Emperor Constantine transferred the capital from Nicomedia in Anatolia to Byzantium, which was renamed New Rome or Constantinople, on the Bosphorus.
By the 7th century, under the reign of Emperor Heraclius, whose reforms changed the nature of the Empire's military and recognized Greek as the official language, the Empire had taken on a distinct new character.
During its thousand-year existence the Empire suffered numerous setbacks and losses of territory but remained one of the most powerful economic, cultural and military forces in Europe. The empire's influence also spread into North Africa and the near East for much of the Middle Ages.
After a final recovery under the Komnenian dynasty in the 12th century the Empire slipped into a long decline culminating in the capture of Constantinople and the remaining territories by the Ottoman Turks in the 15th century.
The Empire, a bastion of Christianity and one of the prime trade centers in the world, helped to shield Western Europe from early Muslim expansion, provided a stable gold currency for the Mediterranean region, influenced the laws, political systems, and customs of much of Europe and the Middle East, and preserved much of the literary works and scientific knowledge of ancient Greece, Rome, and many other cultures.
(building executed to an aesthetically considered design) was extinct in Greece from the end of the Mycenaean period (about 1200 BC) until the 7th century, when urban life and prosperity recovered to a point where public building could be undertaken. But since most Greek buildings in the Archaic and Early Classical periods were made of wood or mud-brick, nothing remains of them except a few ground-plans, and there are almost no written sources on early architecture or descriptions of buildings. Most of our knowledge of Greek architecture comes from the few surviving buildings of the Classical, Hellenistic and Roman periods (since Roman architecture heavily copied Greek), and from late written sources such as Vitruvius (1st century AD). This means that there is a strong bias towards temples, the only buildings which survive in any number.
The standard format of Greek public buildings is well known from surviving examples such as the Parthenon, and even more so from Roman buildings built partly on the Greek model, such as the Pantheon in Rome. The building was usually either a cube or a rectangle made from limestone, of which Greece has an abundance, and which was cut into large blocks and dressed. Marble was an expensive building material in Greece: high quality marble came only from Mt Pentelus in Attica and from a few islands such as Paros, and its transportation in large blocks was difficult. It was used mainly for sculptural decoration, not structurally, except in the very grandest buildings of the Classical period such as the Parthenon.
There were two main styles (or "orders") of Greek architecture, the Doric and the Ionic. These names were used by the Greeks themselves, and reflected their belief that the styles descended from the Dorian and Ionian Greeks of the Dark Ages, but this is unlikely to be true. The Doric style was used in mainland Greece and spread from there to the Greek colonies in Italy. The Ionic style was used in the cities of Ionia (now the west coast of Turkey) and some of the Aegean islands. The Doric style was more formal and austere, the Ionic more relaxed and decorative. The more ornate Corinthian style was a later development of the Ionic. These styles are best known through the three orders of column capitals, but there are differences in most points of design and decoration between the orders. See the separate article on Classical orders.
Most of the best known surviving Greek buildings, such as the Parthenon and the Temple of Hephaestus in Athens, are Doric. The Erechtheum, next to the Parthenon, however, is Ionic. The Ionic order became dominant in the Hellenistic period, since its more decorative style suited the aesthetic of the period better than the more restrained Doric. Some of the best surviving Hellenistic buildings, such as the Library of Celsus, can be seen in Turkey, at cities such as Ephesus and Pergamum. But in the greatest of Hellenistic cities, Alexandria in Egypt, almost nothing survives.