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Architecture (from , architectura and ultimately from , бсчйфекфщн, "a master builder", from бсчй- "chief, leader" and фекфщн, "builder, carpenter") is the and of and .

A wider definition would include within its scope the design of the total built environment, from the macrolevel of , , and to the microlevel of creating . Architectural design usually must address both feasibility and for the , and function and for the .

In modern usage, architecture is the and of creating an actual, or inferring an implied or apparent plan of any complex object or . The term can be used to connote the implied architecture of abstract things such as or , the apparent architecture of natural things, such as formations or the , or explicitly planned architectures of human-made things such as , , , and , in addition to buildings. In every usage, an architecture may be seen as a subjective from a human perspective (that of the user in the case of abstract or physical artifacts) to the or of some kind of or system, which preserves the relationships among the elements or components.

Planned architecture often , , , , , or abstract elements in order to achieve pleasing . This distinguishes it from or , which usually concentrate more on the functional and feasibility aspects of the design of constructions or structures.

In the field of building architecture, the skills demanded of an architect range from the more complex, such as for a or a , to the apparently simpler, such as planning houses. Many architectural works may be seen also as cultural and political , and/or works of art. The role of the architect, though changing, has been central to the successful (and sometimes less than successful) design and implementation of pleasingly built environments in which people live.

Table of architecture, , 1728


According to the very earliest surviving work on the subject, ' , good buildings satisfy three core principles: Firmness, Commodity, and Delight; architecture can be said to be a balance and coordination among these three elements, with none overpowering the others. A modern day definition sees architecture as addressing aesthetic, structural and functional considerations. However, looked at another way, function itself is seen as encompassing all criteria, including aesthetic and psychological ones.

Architecture is an , drawing upon , , , , , , , and . Vitruvius states: "Architecture is a science, arising out of many other sciences, and adorned with much and varied learning: by the help of which a judgement is formed of those works which are the result of other arts." He adds that an architect should be well versed in fields such as and . is a particular favourite; in fact the approach of an to their subject is often called their philosophy. , , , , and are some topics from philosophy that have influenced architecture.

Architecture and buildings

The difference between architecture and building is a subject matter that has engaged the attention of many. According to , historian of the early twentieth century, "A bicycle shed is a building, is a piece of architecture." This distinction, however, is not a clear one, and contemporary scholarship is showing that all buildings, cathedrals and bicycle sheds alike, are part of a single continuum that characterizes the built world.

Architecture is also the art of designing the built environment. Buildings, landscaping, and street designs may be used to impart both functional as well as aesthetic character to a project. Siding and roofing materials and colors may be used to enhance or blend buildings with the environment. Building features such as cornices, gables, entrances, window treatments and borders may be used to soften or enhance portions of a building. Landscaping may be used to create privacy and block direct views from or to a site and enhance buildings with colorful plants and trees. Street side features such as decorative lighting, benches, meandering walkways, and may enhance a site for passersby, pedestrians, and cyclists.

Architectural history

Main article:

Architecture first out of the dynamics between needs (shelter, security, worship, etc.) and means (available and attendant skills). Prehistoric and primitive architecture constitute this early stage. As humans progressed and knowledge began to be formalised through oral traditions and practices, architecture evolved into a . Here there is first a process of trial and error, and later improvisation or replication of a successful trial. What is termed continues to be produced in many parts of the world. Indeed, vernacular buildings make up most of the built world that people experience every day.

Early human settlements were essentially . As surplus of production began to occur, rural societies transformed into ones and cities began to evolve. In many ancient civilisations such as the Egyptians' and Mesopotamians' architecture and urbanism reflected the constant engagement with the divine and the , while in other ancient cultures such as architecture and was used to exemplify the power of the state.

The , , is an example of Roman architecture.

However, the architecture and urbanism of the Classical civilisations such as the and the evolved from more civic ideas and 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 and in ancient . In in the and periods, buildings were not attributed to specific individual architects who remained anonymous. were formed by craftsmen to organise 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.

, ,

has a long and complex history beginning in the seventh century . Examples can be found throughout the countries that are, or were, Islamic - from and to , and . 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 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 - , , - and the cult of the individual had begun. But there was no dividing line between , and , 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 was within the scope of the generalist.

With the consolidation of knowledge in scientific fields such as 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 . 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 in , the training was toward producing quick sketch schemes involving beautiful drawings without much emphasis on context.

Meanwhile, the 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.

building, ,

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 . Notable among these is the , formed in 1907 to produce better quality machine made objects. The rise of the profession of is usually placed here. Following this lead, the school, founded in in 1919, consciously rejected and looked at architecture as a synthesis of art, craft, and technology.

When Modern architecture was first practiced, it was an movement with moral, philosophical, and aesthetic underpinnings. Modernist Architects sought to "strip down" buildings to their pure form. Classical columns and decorations were dubbed unnecessary, in favor simple steel and glass cages, seen as beautiful in their own right. It was during this shift that the phrase, "Less is more" was coined by , one of the Fathers of the Modernist movement.

Many people saw Modernism as dull or even ugly. developed as a reaction. 's contention that a "decorated shed" (an ordinary building which is functionally designed inside and embellished on the outside) was better than a "duck" (a building in which the whole form and its function are tied together) gives an idea of this approach.

Another part of the profession, and also some non-architects, responded by going to what they considered the root of the problem. They felt that architecture was not a personal philosophical or aesthetic pursuit by individualists; rather it had to consider everyday needs of people and use technology to give a livable environment. The involving people such as , started searching for more people-orientated designs. Extensive studies on areas such as behavioural, environmental, and social sciences were done and started informing the design process.

As many other concerns began to be recognised and complexity of buildings began to increase in terms of aspects such as services, architecture started becoming more multi-disciplinary than ever. Architecture now required a team of professionals in its making, an architect being one among the many, sometimes the leader, sometimes not. This is the state of the profession today. However, individuality is still cherished and sought for in the design of buildings seen as cultural symbols - the museum or fine arts centre has become a showcase for new experiments in style: today one style, tomorrow maybe something else.

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Modern architecture in

Architectural style is a way of classifying largely by characteristics - in terms of , , , etc. However it is not a way of understanding architectural works because of its emphasis on style.

It overlaps with, and emerges from the study of the evolution and history of architecture, but it is slightly different in its emphasis. While in , the study of, for instance, would include all the aspects of the cultural context that went into the making of these structures, architectural style is a way of classifying architecture that gives emphasis to the characteristic features of Gothic architecture, leading to a terminology such as Gothic "style". This could then apply equally to buildings even produced during periods outside the historic period of Gothic architecture. Thus one could build a Gothic style church even today, irrespective of the historic period from which the style emerged.

American Empire is a French-inspired style of furniture and decoration that was initiated just before and is most notably exemplified by the furniture of and -trained . Their work in this style is characterized by antiquities-inspired carving, applied, gilded brass mounts, and inlaid decorative elements such as stamped brass banding with egg-and-dart, diamond, or Greek key patterns, or individual shapes such as stars or circles. The most elaborate examples were made before around 1825, and incorporate carved columns and figures finished with a combination of gilding and vert-antique. A more plain version of American Empire furniture, usually referred to as the Grecian style, generally demonstrates curved forms, figured mahogany veneer, and sometimes stencilled decorations. This American version of the style, continued to be made in conservative centers past the mid-nineteenth century. Two major centers of American Empire style cabinet-making were and .

Gothic architecture is a style of , particularly associated with and other churches, which flourished in during the high and late . Beginning in , it was known as "the French Style", with the term first appearing in the Reformation era as a stylistic insult.

It was succeeded by beginning in in the .

A series of began in mid- , spread through Europe and continued, largely for ecclesiastical and university structures, into the .


The style originated at the in , near , where it exemplified the vision of . Suger wanted to create a physical representation of the Heavenly , a building of a high degree of linearity that was suffused with light and color. The was actually designed by Suger, whereas the Gothic nave was added some hundred years later. He designed the faзade of Saint-Denis to be an echo of the Roman with its three-part division. This division is also frequently found in the style. The eastern , which is credited to him as well, is a re-imagining of the Christian "circle-square" . The first truly Gothic construction was the of the church, consecrated in . With its thin columns, windows, and a sense of verticality with an ethereal look, the choir of Saint-Denis established the elements that would later be elaborated upon during the Gothic period. This style was adopted first in northern and by the , and spread throughout France, the and parts of and also to and northern .

Notre-Dame Cathedral seen from the River Seine.

The Term "Gothic"

Gothic architecture has nothing to do with the historical . It was a pejorative term that came to be used as early as the to describe culture that was considered rude and barbaric. imagines an inscription over the door of his , "Here enter no hypocrites, bigots..." slipping in a slighting reference to "Gotz" (rendered as "Huns" in Thomas Urquhart's English translation) and "Ostrogotz." In English usage, "Goth" was an equivalent of "," a savage despoiler with a Germanic heritage and so came to be applied to the architectural styles of northern Europe before the revival of classical types of architecture. "There can be no doubt that the term 'Gothic' as applied to pointed styles of architecture was used at first contemptuously, and in derision, by those who were ambitious to imitate and revive the Grecian orders of architecture, after the revival of classical literature. Authorities such as lent their aid in deprecating the old mediжval style, which they termed Gothic, as synonymous with every thing that was barbarous and rude.", according to a correspondent in No. 9. , .


The style emphasizes verticality and features almost skeletal stone structures with great expanses of glass, pointed using the shape, ribbed vaults, clustered columns, sharply pointed spires, and inventive detail such as gargoyles and even attacking men. These features are all the consequence of the use of the pointed arch and a focus on large stained-glass windows that allowed more light to enter than was possible with older styles. To achieve this "light" style, flying buttresses were used as a means of support to enable higher ceilings and slender columns. Many of these features had already appeared, for example in , whose construction started in .

As a defining characteristic of Gothic Architecture, the pointed arch was introduced for both visual and structural reasons. Visually, the verticality suggests an aspiration to Heaven. Structurally, its use gives a greater flexibility to Architectural form. The Gothic vault, unlike the semi-circular vault of Roman and Romanesque buildings, can be used to roof rectangular and irregularly shaped plans such as trapezoids. The other advantage is that the pointed arch channels the weight onto the bearing piers or columns at a steep angle.

In Gothic Architecture the pointed arch is utilised in every position where an arched shape is called for, both structural and decorative. Gothic openings such as doorways, windows, arcades and galleries have pointed arches. Gothic vaulting over spaces both large and small is usually supported by richly moulded ribs. Rows of arches upon delicate shafts form a typical wall decoration known as blind arcading. Niches with pointed arches and containing statuary are a major external feature. The pointed arch leant itself to elaborate intersecting shapes which developed within window spaces into complex Gothic tracery forming the structural support of the large windows that are characteristic of the style.

Conservative 13th century Gothic in : Basilica of , .

Gothic cathedrals could be highly decorated with statues on the outside and painting on the inside. Both usually told stories, emphasizing visual between prophecy and the .

Important Gothic churches could also be severely simple. At the of in , (illustration, right), the local traditions of the sober, massive, Romanesque architecture were still strong. The basilica, begun in the under the patronage of , was laid out on an ambitious scale (it was never completed all the way to the western entrance front) to accommodate that came to venerate . Building in the Gothic style continued at the basilica until .

In Gothic architecture new technology stands behind the new building style. The Gothic cathedral was supposed to be a microcosm representing the world, and each architectural concept, mainly the loftiness and huge dimensions of the structure, were intended to pass a theological message: the great glory of versus the smallness and insignificance of the mortal being.

Brick Gothic

The Teutonic Knights Castle of

In Northern Germany, and northern , in areas where native stone was unavailable, simplified provincial gothic churches were built of brick. The resultant style is called Backsteingotik in Germany and Scandinavia. The biggest brick gothic building is the of in Poland and the biggest brick gothic church is the in . The most famous example in is . Brick gothic buildings were associated with the and the . There are over one hundred brick gothic castles in northern Poland, Baltic States, and western Russia.

Sequence of Gothic Styles: France

The designations of styles in French Gothic architecture are as follows:

Early Gothic

High Gothic


Late Gothic or Flamboyant style

These divisions are effective, but debatable. Because Gothic cathedrals were built over several successive periods, each period not necessarily following the wishes of previous periods, the dominant architectural style changes throughout a particular building. Consequently, it is often difficult to declare one building as a member of a certain era of Gothic architecture. It is more useful to use the terms as descriptors for specific elements within a structure, rather than applying it to the building as a whole.

in France

Early Gothic:

The East end of the

High Gothic:


The main body of





The nave of the

Late Gothic:

The north tower of

The of

The west facade of the

Church of St. Maclou, .

The south transept of the

Sequence of Gothic styles: England

Salisbury Cathedral detail

The designations of styles in English architecture still follows conventions of labels given them by the antiquary , who coined the terms in his Attempt to Discriminate the Style of Architecture in England (1812—1815)

(ca 1180 - 1275)

(ca 1275 - 1380 )

(ca 1380 - 1520 ).

Early English:




Decorated or "":




Secular Gothic Architecture in England

Few examples of secular structures in Gothic style survive. The "Old Palace" at , built in , is famous for its entrance wing with an imposing , which gave access to the protected inner court. This is an example of the last phase of Gothic design in England which, due to its far northern situation, was still untouched by the Renaissance underway in central Italy. Local building traditions produced a style that was as important as Gothic in the final appearance. The roofs are tiled in the local tradition. Substantial eaves enclose essential storage areas in spacious attics. The Gothic elements in these buildings are the paired lancet windows joined under a molding that threw rainwater away from their sills, and the buttresses between each pier and on the angles of the gatehouse tower.

Gothic revival

Main article:

Chateau d'Abbadie, Hendaye, France: a Gothic pile for the natural historian and patron of astronomy , 1860 - 1870; , architect

In England, some discrete Gothic details appeared on new construction at and in the late 17th century, and at the archbishop of 's residence , a Gothic was built in 1663 to replace a building that had been sacked during the . It is not easy to decide whether these instances were Gothic survival or early appearances of Gothic revival,.

In England in the mid-18th century, the Gothic style was more widely revived, first as a decorative, whimsical alternative to that is still conventionally termed 'Gothick', of which 's Twickenham villa "" is the familiar example. Then, especially after the 1830s, Gothic was treated more seriously in a series of (sometimes termed or Neo-Gothic). The in are an example of this Gothic revival style, designed by and a major exponent of the early Gothic Revival, . Another example is the main building of the designed by Sir .

In France, the towering figure of the Gothic Revival was , who outdid historical Gothic constructions to create a Gothic as it ought to have been, notably at the fortified city of in the south of France and in some richly fortified keeps for industrial magnates (illustration, left). Viollet-le-Duc compiled and coordinated an Encyclopйdie mйdiйvale that was a rich repertory his contemporaries mined for architectural details but also include armor, costume, tools, furniture, weapons and the like. He effected vigorous restoration of crumbling detail of French cathedrals, famously at , many of whose most "Gothic" gargoyles are Viollet-le-Duc's. But he also taught a generation of reform-Gothic designers and showed how to apply Gothic style to thoroughly modern structural materials, especially .


Gothic in the 20th Century

on the campus of in

continued to be considered appropriate for churches and college buildings well into the 20th century. 's early buildings at helped establish the prevalence of architecture on American university campuses, such as at , , and . It was also used, perhaps less appropriately, for early steel skyscrapers.

Cass Gilbert produced his 1907 building and the 1914 , both in , in a neo-Gothic idiom. It was 's neo-Gothic tower that won the 1922 competition for the Chicago , a late example of the vertical style that has been called "American Perpendicular Gothic."

Another Gothic structure of interest is the jailhouse built in , in 1914. The iron bars in most of the windows give the structure an eerie appearance. The structure includes shallow arches, dormer windows and has a central tower. It is now on the . The National Cathedral is also a neo-Gothic structure.

The last prominent Gothic architect in America was probably , working in the 1910s and 1920s. With partner they produced many good examples, like the sensitive and clever French High Gothic with its asymmetrical, urban facade in the heart of Manhattan. Working alone, Cram took up the , what he meant to be the largest cathedral and largest Gothic struture in the world, again in French High Gothic. It remains unfinished. Both St. Thomas and St. John the Divine are built without steel.

Art Deco (: Exposition Internationale des Arts Dйcoratifs et Industriels Modernes) was a twentieth century movement in the , that grew to influence , , and the .


The name Art Deco derived from the , though the term was not used until the late . Art Deco was influenced by many different cultures, particularly pre- Europe. The movement occurred at the same time, and as a response to, the rapid social and technological advances of the early 20th century.

Paris was at the center of the high end of Art Deco design, epitomized in furniture by , the best-known of Art Deco furniture designers and perhaps the last of the traditional Parisian йbйnistes, and , the firm of , the screens of , wrought iron of , metalwork and lacquer of , the glass of and , clocks and jewelry by .

The term Art Deco was coined during the Exposition of 1925 but did not receive wider usage until it was re-evaluated in the . Its practitioners were not working as a coherent community. It is considered to be an eclectic form of decorative Modernism, being influenced by a variety of sources:

Early work from the ; functional industrial design, with roots in the later nineteenth century

"Primitive" arts of Africa, Egypt, or Aztec Mexico, partly mediated through

Early work and thinking of the in its phase.

Ancient Greek sculpture and ceramic design of the less naturalistic ""

's sets and costumes for 's

Fractionated, crystalline, facetted form of decorative and

color palette

Severe forms of radical : ,

Everything associated with Jazz, or "jazzy"

Animal motifs and forms; tropical foliage; ; crystals; "sunbursts"; stylized fountain motifs

Lithe athletic "modern" female forms; flappers' bobbed haircuts

technology such as the and .

City Hall, 1926–1928 epitomizes the American Art Deco style.

Corresponding to these influences, Art Deco is characterized

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