ARCHITECTURE THROUGHOUT THE HISTORY
(5.000.000 YEARS AGO) AUSTRALOPITHECUS: was the first humanoids appeared in central Africa, they lived in the equatorial zone, in a warm climate. They did not need shelter and did not yet know fire. They move northwards and evolve into homo habilis.
(1.600.000 – 200.000 B.C.) HOMO ERECTUS: he moves to the north and he knew how to obtain the fire and invents a “home” which for he was a place with fire.
The beginning of architecture was when a group of Homo Erectus rebuilt every year on the same dune dominating the coast.
Oval plant huts from 8 to 15m long by 4-6m wide. Walls of branches sunk in the sand forming a kind of palisade. They were surrounded by aligned stones. Interior posts had to support both the roof and a central beam.
(100.000 – 40.000 B.C.) HOMO NEANDERTHALENSIS: He inhabits caverns in North Africa, Europe and the East. He is community – oriented and already thinks in symbolic terms.
In Iraq, graves surrounded by flowers and branches, alignments according to the movement of the sun, etc. have been discovered.
(40.000 B.C.) HOMO SAPIENS: great intellectual capacity is manifested in the sculptures and cave paintings found in cave and shelters. His successor is the modern man.
Dwellings are located in Eastern Europe, huts of circular plant and domed form with frame that was covered possibly with skins of animals.
(8.000 – 4000 B.C.) : agriculture was already firmly established and sedentary lifestyle encouraged the construction of permanent housing.
It was not an exclusively agricultural community but a vital node in commercial network, transport of minerals, etc.
The city enclosure was protected by defensive wall. It was made up of groups of rectangular houses, separated only by some courtyard and without streets.
(4.000 – 3.000 B.C.): there are several important and large cities that are permanently inhabited in the valley between the rivers Tigris and Euphrates (Mesopotamia), present – day Iraq.
The urban architecture was made with adobe or brick.
The most characteristic buildings of ancient Mesopotamia are the Ziggurats.
ZIGGURATS: they are temples built on top of natural or artificial platforms, overlapped and stepped with ramps and ascending stairs, imitating the dwellings of the gods (Sumerians believed that they lived the mountains, so that with these construction they were closer to them).
(3.500 B.C.) THE EGYPTIANS: in order to understand the Egyptian people and architecture it is necessary to consider the Nile River.
The river (north – south axis) and the sun (east – west axis) are the most important axes for the Egyptians. The organization of temples, cities and fields follows these two perpendicular axes forming an orthogonal grid.
- TEMPLES: it was the house of the gods and had an entrance courtyard, reception room and private chambers.
Its shape experienced few subtle changes in 2,700 years with the same shapes and details. Its purpose was continuity and order.
- PYRAMIDS: the architect Imhotep changes funerary architecture by inventing the stepped stone pyramid for Zoser 2.650 C.
He replaces adobe brick and tree trunks with limestone masonry.
(1.200 – 146 B.C.): the ancient Greeks learned from Egyptian architecture and sculpture, evolving it and creating their own art and architecture and value system based on the exaltation of human capabilities that has served as the foundation for all subsequent Western culture.
Greek architecture expresses the search for equilibrium between vertical (columns) and horizontal (beams of the entablature) load – bearing elements. Each element (ashlar, column, sculpture…)was carefully worked with best of possible materials.
- THE POLIS: Greek cities grew up around fortifications perched on high ground, which were acropolis.
It included the city and surrounding farms, encompassed the community, political, cultural mortal and economic life of the people.
It is a grid – based plot which buildings organized by zones and related functions, based on the orographic situation and landscape.
- TEMPLE: it was the most important building, dedicated to a divinity. Inside, the nucleus was Cella, a very simple closed space where the divine images was kept.
The façade deserved maximum artistic attention (the public rites were celebrated in the altar in front of the temple).
- THEATER AND STADIUM: they were very important for the culture, education and community life of the polis. They were not only entertainment, like those of the Romans.
They were usually located on the slopes of a hill. The scene of the Greek theatre was lower than that of the Roman.
- HOUSES: Greek houses were simples. They had a central courtyard or peristyle, around which the rooms were located, a constructive tradition that will remain in Roman architecture.
(1.100 B.C.): roman architect is the architecture of the interior closed space, but also of the exterior space on a grandiose scale. Whit the discovery of concrete, the Romans created new forms and were able to experiment with interior space, lights and shadows.
The most singular technical advance was the coverage of large public spaces with arches, vaults or domes (except for temples).
They made: civil works, public buildings, cities, religious building and the domus.
THE MIDDLE AGES
Sculptural and constructive techniques were lost, as well as everything that was not related or justifiable in the new religion.
The classical language of architecture developed from the architectures of Greece and Rome. It vanished between the 5th and 15th centuries in the Middle Ages, but then continued in later stages, from the Renaissance (15th century in Italy) to the modern Age.
HIGH MIDDLE AGES
(6th Century AD )THE BYZANTINE: byzantine architecture is preeminently religious with and emphasis on the interior, being the exteriors very discreet.
Its contribution was the systematic use of the vaulted roof and the new dynamic concept of the elements and a new spatial sense.
An example of byzantine architecture is: Hagia Sophia which represents the union between the empire and the church. The dome is placed on four triangular concave pendentive that serve as a transition between the circular shape of the dome and its rectangular base.
MILITARY ARCHITECTURE: the implementation and maintenance of defensive systems., as well as the collection and distribution of water, were of great importance.
In medieval pre-Romanesque architecture, in addition to churches and monasteries that followed the Christian tradition from the Roman Empire, castles were developed.
- Lombard (6-8th century)
- Visigoths (7-8th century)
- Carolingian (9th century)
- Saxons (9-10th century)
(8-15th century) ISLAMIC: Islamic architecture produces new architectural types such as mosques- places for prayer and gatherings- and baths (hammam) for hygienic and religious purposes. The ornamentation serves to create an atmosphere through plays of light and color. Techniques such as ceramics and plaster (muqarnas) are used.
(10-12th century) ROMANESQUE: Romanesque is associated with the art of the Normans, who in these centuries experienced their peak and maximum diffusion. Due to the political instability, the feudal lords usually fortify the cities and the palaces that becomes castles (residences and military squares).
It was characterized by its thick walls, the lack of sculptures, its sturdy pillars, its pointed vaults and its half pointed arches.
s.XII-XV (XVI) GOTHIC: the Norman builders began to test a novel system consisting of reinforcing the roman vault with diagonal ribs that allowed the resulting panels to be lightened with different materials.
Implemented the pointed arch and the ribbed vault. Its characteristics constructions were: cathedrals and civil buildings.
(15th-16th century) RENAISSANCE: was characterized by his search for technical perfection, through mathematical and geometric calculations.
Plato’s ideal figures are recovered: the circle, square and equilateral triangle. Hence symmetry and proportion were basic to the project and the system of ideal proportions are in the human body.
(17th-18th century) BAROQUE: points, curves and spirals was implemented as well as complex figures that intersected each other.
Baroque architecture and the subsequent rococo is an effort to obtain the maximum possible effects from the molded space, the manipulation of light, color and sensual detail. The baroque is the spatial liberation of the rules of the treatises.
(18-19th century) NEOCLASSIC: it was characterized by having a simple façade, its main supporting element are the columns and its roofs are usually vaults. Reflects modern society.
The neoclassical style was linked to the idea of public service and educational functions of the buildings, as well as the Greek agora that was configured by STOAS, large and elongated public buildings with arcades to encourage meetings, installation of craftsmen, etc.