Architecture is one of human’s most visible and long-term forms of expression. Since the time of the Pyramids in Egypt, to the Pantheon of ancient Greece, buildings have been an expression of our culture. In the last 150 years, a unique form of artistry has developed, changing the way we view the urban environments around us. Today’s people have tried to blend ancient and modern architecture, creating something that inspires people every day. While modern designs energize people, few know the history of architecture & where it started.
The Beginning of Architecture:
Architecture started in Nile valley for the very first time, while second centre of architecture was discovered in valley of Euphrates and Tigris. Ancient architecture had two main functions to consolidate power and security and to amuse the Gods. The wealthier the society, the more essential these functions became.
The Greeks and the Romans:
The art of Euphrates and Tigris blended in art of Greek, though Greek architecture has a very strong origin itself. The Greeks evolve cement in about 200 BC as a building material, in place of such weaker mortars as gypsum plaster or bitumen. The main secret of the newly acquired material was the lime which binds clay, sand and water. A series of aesthetically pleasing architectures came up in the early 15th century in Italy. In the 16th century the Romans developed a base for construction and decoration and from them it spread to the rest of the world.
The Romans used finely ground volcanic lava instead of clay, deriving it mostly from Pozzuoli region. Their cement, popularly known as pozzolanic, was the strongest mortar at that time. When it was blended with small fragments of volcanic rubble, the result was extremely concrete. The Romans set out the principles of their crafts in ten volumes that dealt with all aspects, from the general principles to materials, to stucco work, aqueducts, painting, and machinery. This treatise is one of the most, if not the most influential material in the history of architecture.
The Roman’s Greatest Achievements:
The greatest accomplishments of the Roman architecture lie in the development of the dome, the arch, and the vault. The dome has for years been a familiar concept, but it has not been widely used. The arch has greater capabilities as compared to the lintel, because it can combine a number of smaller units to make a greater whole. The vault is only a remarkably deep arch. The dome is actually a collection of arches all sharing one centre. The Roman achievement in all the forms was aided by their improvement of concrete.
The scale of Romans smartness is superbly seen in the aqueduct at Nîmes, popularly called the bridge of the Gard. Built in AD 20, this bridge is 100% practical. One section of this colossal structure supplies water from Eure River to the Roman town of Nîmes. Water flows smoothly downhill for about 50 km. After the Romans discovered a base for decoration and construction, it spread to the rest of the world. The influence of many of the Roman’s designs spread throughout Europe in 16th century, before losing their taste two centuries later.
The Chinese, Japanese and Indian Achievements:
In 19th century, architecture flourished greatly thanks to the development of resources. Designs influenced by Chinese, Japanese and Indian art and architecture were popular in the early 19th century. The Chinese architecture emphasized more on decorative aspect as compared to the constructive aspect. The Chinese introduced a new art of mosques and palaces of India, Turkey, Persia and Spain to the world. There architecture was based on three fundamental structural principles: lintel, vault, and truss. The adoption of these construction principles actually affected the styles and decoration of structures.
The Combination of early and modern architecture took place as years went by. People started incorporating the ancient architecture with the modern architecture to create eye catching buildings. As a result, architecture became a mixture of past and present. In different high profile structures, earlier and modern architecture are well blended. For instance, The Royal Pavilion in Brighton, designed by Henry Holland, is based on a combination of both ancient and modern designs to give it attraction. The Roman and the Indian architecture are superbly seen in this structure. Any building today, regardless of whether it’s a commercial building, temple or a palace, you will observe that ancient architecture in it.