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ARCHITECTURE. Seventeenth-and eighteenth-century settlers able to erect or purchase buildings in what later became the United States arrived with knowledge of structure and design that in their places of origin was at once fixed and changing. Time-honored ideas about what and how to build were far more commonly agreed upon than commitment to particular architectural styles, an imbalance largely explained by social location. Town and country artisans and laborers building for themselves were bound by ancient construction and compositional conventions, whereas privileged groups and institutions—landed aristocracy, urban gentry, state, church, and university—hired master craftsmen or gentlemen amateurs to supply the latest fashions.

Colonial and Postcolonial (to 1810s)

Regardless of social location, however, European settlers in North America confronted unfamiliar conditions—climate, topographies, materials—that in some cases modified how they built. Rural New Englanders, for example, whose lands were as littered with rocks as dense with trees, seized upon wood as their primary building material, even though at home they had had more experience with stone: soft species of pine were easier to cut, peg, and haul than stones to haul, dress, and lay. Stone was more efficiently deployed to mark property lines, contain animals, and construct the large hearths necessary in a cold climate.

Settlers in New Netherlands, on the other hand, quickly built kilns for firing brick—the preferred material in the Low Countries, where trees could be scarce—and in short order began erecting gabled row houses, with narrow ends to the street or to the slips they dug in the manner of Continental canal cities. Kilns had been erected even earlier in Virginia during 1611, where clay for brick and oyster shells for lime were plentiful. Adam Thoroughgood arrived as an indentured servant in 1621, but by the time he built his residence (c. 1636–1640), he owned a 5,350-acre plantation. Befitting his new standing, his brick house—which survives and may be the oldest on the Atlantic Seaboard—made reference to late Tudor Gothic style, as did Bacon's Castle (c. 1655) in Surrey County, also in brick but on a much more generous scale for the even wealthier Surrey County planter, Arthur Allen. Like houses farther north, both displayed characteristically medieval oversized chimneys, asymmetric plans, and facades. Unlike the more northerly well-to-do, however, their owners consciously emulated what they mistakenly though had remained fashionable in England. But by the time of William Byrd II built Westover (1730–1734) in Charles City County, an elegant mansion that would have appealed to London admirers of Christopher Wren, English Georgian was showing signs of becoming the architectural preference of wealthy planters and merchants from New Hampshire to the Carolinas.

Very different was Spanish California, where the principal architectural embellishments were twenty-one mission complexes strung along El Camino Real from San Diego to Alcalá (1769) to San Francisco de Solano (1823). As in the East (before the 1780s), there were no architects in the West and few craftsmen except those summoned from Mexico. Priests were the designers and superintendents of construction and of impressed indigenous labor, creating in effect tiny urban cores awaiting urban surroundings. The San Juan Capistrano mission (1776) is representative. A plastered, brick and stone, single-aisled Romanesque church with red-tiled roof, a baptistry, sacristy, and apse is attached to the corner of a large, nearly rectangular court (into which residents could retreat if attacked) surrounded by an arched colonnade. The latter fronted guest and bedrooms; kitchen, pantry, parlor, and refectory; and facilities for making hats, candles, soap, wine, woolens, shoes, and olive oil, along with forge, metal and carpentry shops, and guardhouse. A covered walkway and thick walls provided cooling while broad, undecorated stretches of facade offered an aesthetic simplicity that would not be seen again on so large a scale in North America for over a century; except, that is, in the Spanish Southwest (and Florida).

In these other Spanish holdings, California's contradictory impulses were exaggerated. The Governor's Palace (1610–1614) in Santa Fe, New Mexico, is a long, low adobe rectangle, unornamented except by structural elements: rubble plinth, round projecting rafters, and regularly spaced posts supporting the colonnade roof. Similar simplicity characterizes Mission St. Francis of Assisi (1805–1815) at Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico, the apse end of which, though crude adobe, has all the solemnity and some of the power (if nowhere the grandeur and beauty) of the Cathedral (begun 1282) at Albi, France. By contrast, Pedro Huizar's portal to the Church of San Jose y Miguel de Aguayo (1720–1731) in San Antonio, Texas, is as lavish as Spanish Baroque could possible be. Nothing in English North America rivaled this display, although private and public architecture there was, ironically, moving closer to English splendor as American independence approached.

What is called Georgian, speaking dynastically, or Palladian (after Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio), speaking architecturally, made great inroads after 1750. Whether ecclesiastical, residential, or commercial, it raised colonial standards of quality and elegance. Peter Harrison, a Newport, Rhode Island, ship captain and merchant, was not a professional architect if that means supervising construction and taking a stipulated fee, but as a gentleman amateur he kept current with the literature of his avocation. Buildings like the Redwood Library (1748–1750), Touro Synagogue (1759–1763), and the Brick Market (1761–1762) in Newport are squarely based on Renaissance and neo-Renaissance models depicted in the library he had assembled during his travels. Perfectly symmetrical, Doric or Ionic ordered, porticoed and pedimented, and built of brick and stone, his work—like that of William Buckland in the Chesapeake, Samuel McIntire in Salem, Massachusetts, and anonymous gentlemen builders elsewhere—interpreted English Georgian for traders and planters eager to announce their social prominence by architectural decree. Thomas Jefferson's Monticello (1768–1809), in Charlottesville, Virginia, one of the most famous creations by a self-taught amateur who mixed French, Roman, and Palladian sources, epitomized this impulse. Born in Boston, Charles Bulfinch may qualify as America's first professional architect in that for a time he attempted to live off his earnings. His work (c. 1787–1830) has been included in the so-called Federalist Style, a modified English Georgian well represented by three Boston townhouses (1795–1796, 1800–1802, 1805–1808) for Federalist Party leader and merchant Harrison Gray Otis. Their three or four horizontally articulated stories, forming an unpretentious cube, flat or minimally sloping roof, piano nobiles, porticos opening directly to the sidewalk, and subdued decoration, yielded a quiet elegance strongly appealing to merchants in northeastern ports, where Bulfinch was much emulated. His broad range of buildings included university and market halls, banks, hospitals, prisons, numerous churches (like his exquisite 1816 Church of Christ in Lancaster, Massachusetts), state houses for Maine and Massachusetts, and alterations at Washington, D.C. (as Architect of the Capitol) from 1817 to 1829. Even before taking that post, Bulfinch more than any other architect had raised American design to a level of functional and artistic excellence few during the colonial period might have anticipated.

Eclecticism of Taste and Style

Eclecticism in architecture—selecting aspects of diverse historical styles to form new and acceptable compositions—characterized Europe and America throughout the nineteenth century. In 1929, historian Henry-Russell Hitchcock distinguished between eclecticism of taste—different styles employed contemporaneously but only one on a given building (as with Richard Norris Hunt's two versions of the Breakers in Newport, Rhode Island, for William Vanderbilt: Loire Valley Renaissance in 1892, Genovan Renaissance the next year)—and eclecticism of style, mixing different mannerisms in the same building (for example, Frank Furness's Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia [1871–1876] with English, French, Greek, and Egyptian references). The two eclecticisms coexisted in space, time, and a given architect's work, but if eclecticism of taste dominated during the first half of the century, eclecticism of style—with some exceptions—surpassed it in the second.

Formal American independence in 1783 spurred the demand for public architecture on state and national levels, and since the new republic also considered itself in some ways democratic, its leaders looked for architectural guidance to what they understood as the wellsprings of both, namely, democratic Greece and republican Rome. But Greek and Roman architecture was available to most Americans in treatises written during and after the Renaissance, the result being that publicly funded structures—and by mimesis privately funded buildings of a public nature, such as banks, churches, and some universities—were only generically neoclassical, some more Greek (Benjamin Latrobe's Bank of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia [1799–1801]), some more Roman (Jefferson's Rotunda [1817–1826] at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville). In the end, Greek prevailed because Greek temples, pedimented and colonnaded boxes of straightforward post-and-beam construction, offered simple interior spaces adaptable to virtually any program and geometrically precise exteriors that appealed to Americans, who in 1785 had overlaid the Northwest Territory in a geometrically precise survey grid. The combination of adaptability and order resonated among those whose self-proclaimed mission was to tame the wilderness.

Beginning with public buildings like William Strickland's Second Bank of America of the United States in Philadelphia (1818, the first in the country based squarely on the Parthenon) and Ithiel Town's Connecticut State Capitol (1827) in Hartford (a generic Doric temple), what became known as Greek Revival was used for every conceivable purpose in every nook and cranny of the land until its popularity waned in the East shortly before the Civil War (1861–1865), a bit later in the West. In Hopkinton, New Hampshire, for example, one of the churches, the library, town offices, what are now the firehouse and the general store, and several main street residences are in the style, all painted white because when erected, conventional wisdom held that Greek architecture had been uniformly white. Despite corrective scholarship, no one has yet repainted, happily so, since towns like Hopkinton display a harmony of form and color seldom seen in North America.

Despite its ubiquity, Greek Revival was not unchallenged. Beginning in the 1790s and gathering momentum over the next decades until it reached a zenith of popularity in the 1840s and 1850s, the Gothic Revival (sometimes called Romantic or picturesque architecture) took hold at first with ecclesiastical structures. Prominent church architects included New Yorkers Richard Upjohn, whose work reached Texas and California, and James Renwick, whose St. Patrick's Cathedral (1858–1879) is the best-known example of the genre. Alexander Jackson Davis was as adept with neo-Greek as with neo-Gothic, but made his most singular mark with picturesque villas, the most impressive being Knoll (1838–1842), renamed Lyndhurst after its remodeling and expansion (1864–1867). But the most influential advocate for picturesque design was Andrew Jackson Downing, America's premier landscape architect, whose naturalistic gardens, widely read publications, and house designs with partner Calvert Vaux earned nationwide respect. Gothic Revival church architecture is characterized by pointed arches, steep roofs, pinnacles, and window tracery often supplemented by battlements and buttresses. Residential neo-Gothic might include these features plus steep gables, elaborately sawn trim, projecting windows, verandas, vertically siding frequently, and asymmetrical plans as often as not. (Greek Revival did not have verandas and was never asymmetrical.) Gothic Revival houses were intended to interpret site and to open to the outdoors, thus appealing to part-time gentry who purchased country estates with fortunes made in town and to those of lesser standing whose income limited them to modest lots on the city's edge. If their motives included escaping what they believed to be the gathering hordes of unruly immigrants, Downing's commitment to picturesque architecture and landscaping stemmed from the idealistic notion that individual integrity and independence was best cultivated in a natural setting. But his best intentions—publishing self-build plans for $400 working peoples' houses, for example—were heeded by those who needed them least.

The lesser appeal of Egyptian, Tuscan, and Romanesque styles had also waned by the 1860s, after which the eclecticism of taste became somewhat type-oriented: most universities in neo-Gothic, but some in neoclassical; government buildings, banks, urban railroad terminals, and exposition buildings in neoclassical, neo-Renaissance, and Beaux-Arts (after the classical-and Renaissance-oriented École des Beaux-Arts in Paris). Eclecticism of style was more common on commercial buildings and residences of the rising middle class and the very rich, although Florentine Renaissance and Loire Valley châteaux styles found acceptance with the latter.

American architects began to train in Europe, particularly at the École des Beaux-Arts, or in new architecture programs at home (the Masachusetts Institute of Technology's opened in 1868, Columbia University's in 1881). After their studies, they often toured Europe as they began to read national professional magazines (the first was launched in 1876) inevitably featuring woodcuts and, later, photographs of Continental masterpieces. They read the immensely influential John Ruskin, whose preferred style was Venetian Gothic, and translations of the authoritative Eugêne-Emmanuel Violet-le-Duc, whose ideal was French Gothic. Most importantly, as American architects began to design for an immensely wealthy social class—newly created by post-Civil War industrialization—composed of arrivistes unfamiliar with aesthetic niceties but unerringly aware, as European parvenus since at least the Renaissance had been, that architectural patronage, if interpreted as connoisseurship by established elites, might eventually lead to social acceptance and, if interpreted by the general public as social service, might temper their reputation as rapacious exploiters of the commonweal. As all this happened, expert knowledge of time-honored styles and archeological accuracy in their deployment became indispensable for American architects, whose own social standing rose in direct proportion to their ability to provide nouveaux riches with simulacra of the very architectural styles that bygone aristocrats had made their own. Hence the hegemonic eclecticism after the Civil War.

The Architecture of National Power (1880s to 1930s)

Toward the end of the nineteenth century, generic neoclassicism of lavishness not seen before began to dominate public and quasi-public architecture. State houses, city halls, courthouses, police headquarters, and other government structures no less than art museums, concert halls, libraries, and railroad terminals—sometimes grouped in City Beautiful civic centers—sprang up everywhere, not entirely as a result of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. It is true that 21 million visitors, equivalent to one-third the national population, thrilled to its Courts of Honor, a water basin surrounded by nine neoclassical behemoths. But neoclassicism was already on the rise, most notably in works by McKim, Mead, and White, like the Boston Public Library (1887–1895) or the Rhode Island State Capitol (1891–1903) in Providence.

As it evolved, neoclassicism became ever more imperial. McKim, Mead, and White's Pennsylvania Station waiting room (1902–1910) in New York City was 25 percent larger in volume than the gigantic tepidarium in the Roman Baths of Caracella (a.d. 206–217) on which it was modeled, while George W. Post's Wisconsin State Capitol (1906–1917) in Madison, loosely based (its dome not so loosely) on Christopher Wren's St. Paul's Cathedral (1666–1710) in London, dominated the countryside for miles around its hilltop site. Neoclassicism had its appeal in Europe, but "nowhere outside the United States were the classical orders to be drawn up in so many parade formations," wrote Marcus Whiffen in his American Architecture since 1890: A Guide to the Styles (1969). "More marble was used in building in the United States in the years 1900–1917," he added, "than was used in the Roman Empire during its entire history."

The explanation for this explosion exemplifies how architecture is put to use outside the world of art. By 1900, the United States had successfully fulfilled its "manifest destiny" on the North American mainland and was constructing a territorial and economic empire overseas. Indigenous people there and in the American West, not to mention native-and foreign-born factory and farm laborers across the country, were increasingly attracted to Greenbackism, populism, socialism, unionization—to radical movements in their many forms—in unprecedented numbers. Memories of shattering disruptions like the 1886 Haymarket Massacre and the 1894 Pullman Strike—only the tip of the class-conflict iceberg, in any case—were made even more vivid by events like the 1911 death by fire of 146 women locked inside their Triangle Shirt-waist Company factory in lower Manhattan so that union organizers could not get to them. Political protest had never been more heated, class conflict more violent, and outright anticapitalist sentiment more widespread than during the "years of marble" from 1900 to 1917.

In this context, state authorities correctly understood that the social order was under serious attack, and for the same reasons that the National Guard armories with medieval crenellation were erected in wealthy urban neighborhoods, so was government at all levels drawn to the architecture of Rome, not of its republic but of its empire, the most enduring Western empire in fact and in collective memory. The seldom-stated but visually obvious implication was that physical assault against the state and the quasi-public institutional structure supporting it, that it in turn supported, as well as political assault on capitalist arrangements and republican forms of government, would not prevail—that the objects of assault would endure forever. To face down social upheaval and to announce imperial objectives, government and quasi-government architecture referred to the "eternal city" as often as not.

Neoclassicism waned with state suppression and the decline of outspoken dissent during and after World War I (1914–1918) but revived in the Great Depression, and throughout Europe as well, particularly under authoritarian regimes in Italy, Germany, and the Soviet Union. In the United States, it was much simplified from its earlier incarnation by square columns and capitals, spare ornament, crisp rectilinearity, and reduced use of pediments, porticos, and domes (which, when present, resembled spires). Examples are the Gallatin County Courthouse (1936) in Bozeman, Montana, the Library of Congress Annex (1938) in Washington, D.C., and the Soldiers Memorial (1939) in St. Louis, all erected with Works Progress Administration assistance. Fascist and National Socialist architecture differed only in scale: grander in Italy, positively grandiose in Germany. In the Soviet Union it was fussily ornate, recalling the turn of the century.

With the absence or reduction of private investment during the 1930s, governments financed an even greater amount of architecture than before, which is to say that during two historical moments of unusually high demand for social justice or social spending, authorities were unusually concerned with maintaining social order. It mattered not whether order was sustained by increased policing or liberal reform, whether the state was dictatorial or democratic, or—in the United States—whether it was the Gilded Age, the Progressive Era, or the New Deal. Regardless of political ideology, governments buttressed legitimacy by appropriating classical architecture, which in times of crisis was the artistic court of last resort.

The Rise and Decline of Modernism (1880s to 1970s)

Three 1932 productions by Henry-Russell Hitchcock and the Museum of Modern Art curator Philip Johnson—the exhibit Modern Architecture: International Exhibition, its catalog of that title, and their book, The International Style: Architecture since 1922—had the effect of equating all that was new with a single mode of expression, the name of which they invented and the existence of which they had no doubt. The characteristics of the International Style, they contended, were the sublimation of mass to volume; continuous, horizontally organized, regular but not symmetrical monochrome surfaces of one material; and the subordination of discrete rooms to free-flowing continuous spaces in open floor plans. Form and composition were determined by structure and interior program, they implied, preferably clad in steel, concrete, glass, and if need be, brick. Sixty-five of the seventy-three projects depicted in their book were European.

Book, exhibition, and catalogue were as narrowly selective as they were hugely influential, omitting, for example, all "new architecture," as it was often called in Europe, that did not conform to their aesthetic preferences. But for at least three decades, the International Style was widely accepted as real, as a distinctive school of design constituting the entirety of the so-called modern movement. Architectural modernism, however, was never a unified entity. Although it is true that repudiation of historically based styles—albeit in myriad ways—was largely worked out in Europe during the 1920s and early 1930s, rumblings of discontent had been heard on both sides of the Atlantic since at least the 1880s.

In the United States, the work of Henry Hobson Richardson in the 1880s, although distantly rooted in Romanesque, featured simplified single masses beneath unified roofs, near monochrome and mono-material, reduced applied ornament, and sensitivity to site. The Ames Gate Lodge (1880–1881) in North Easton, Massachusetts, is a striking example. The so-called Chicago School—notably Holabird and Roche, Adler and Sullivan, Burnham and Root, William Le Baron Jenney, and Solon S. Bemen—specializing in commercial architecture, took Richardson's simplifications further. Bemen's Studebaker Building in Chicago (1895) and Holabird and Roche's Mandel Brothers Store Annex (1900–1905) were grids of masonry-or metal-clad steel columns and beams infilled with glass. The full implication of dispensing with load-bearing walls was grasped in 1921–1922 when Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in Germany proposed free-form skyscrapers entirely encased in glass panels clipped to the edges of floor slabs.

In his Prairie Houses (1900–1910s)—so-called because erected in undeveloped Chicago suburbs—Frank Lloyd Wright accented broad stretches of unadorned facade with long runs of crisp contrasting trim and windows in strips; inside, public spaces were merged to form partially open plans. His clean-lined rectilinear exteriors, more textured than the black white surfaces of a minimalist like Vienna's Adolf Loos but less ebullient than contemporary Art Nouveau and the several European Secessions (from historically based academic architecture) made considerable impact abroad. The four giants of the new European architecture—Le Corbusier in France, J. J. P. Oud in The Netherlands, Mies and Walter Gropius in Germany—each acknowledged (Corbusier later recanted) his influence. Perhaps the most innovative American other than Wright was the Californian Irving Gill, whose sharp-edged, rectilinear, virtually unornamented white stucco buildings were stripped almost as clean as Adolf Loos's.

During the 1920s, Chicago-area architecture was more widely admired in Europe, where modernism was taking firm root, than at home, where it languished among continuing historical revivals. When modernism did appear it likely came from abroad. Rudolph Schindler and Richard Neutra emigrated from Vienna in 1914 and 1923, respectively, to work briefly with Wright before settling in Los Angeles, where their houses for Philip Lovell (Schindler's, 1922–1926; Neutra's 1927–1929) in particular were closer in spirit to Corbusier's than to American contemporaries. Only two skyscrapers of the decade were truly modern: the McGraw-Hill Building (1929–1931) in New York City, by Raymond Hood and Andrè Fouilloux (from Paris), and the Philadelphia Savings and Fund Society (1929–1932), by George Howe and William Lescaze (from Zurich). Although a handful of Americans embraced the new architecture, its most conspicuous manifestations before the Wall Street Crash were by European émigrés.

The little that was erected during the depression occasionally flirted with modernism, as in the cases of New York City's Rockefeller Center (1931–1940), by a team of design firms in vertical Art Deco, or Wright's Johnson Wax Administration Building (1936–1939) at Racine, Wisconsin, in streamlined, horizontal "American moderne." But as the decade waned, the arrival of two German émigrés, Gropius in 1937 to direct Harvard's School of Design program and Mies in 1938 to assume the same position at the Illinois Institute of Technology, transformed architectural education and practice in the United States.

That was especially true with Mies, who later produced a master plan for his Chicago campus that in style and scale was revolutionary for this country. Nineteen low-rise structures (not all built) of welded steel frames painted black with glass walls or concrete infilled with brick and glass were followed by three apartment towers on Lake Shore Drive. Even before his enormously influential Seagram Building (1954–1958) in New York City was announced, others were adopting his manner, particularly Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill at their 1952 glass and metal Lever House, among others in New York City. From high-rise buildings the Miesian model spread to virtually every design type during the next two decades. What had taken hold throughout Europe immediately after World War I (1914–1918), in quantity mostly social housing sponsored by socialist and social democratic governments, found favor in the United States after World War II (1939–1945), initially among corporate clients. With the transition, modern architecture changed fundamentally, from low-rise, amply fenestrated brick and concrete structures to high-rise, almost completely fenestrated flat-roof slabs.

As modernism spread to every design genre, stylistic variations appeared, of course. But within the variety there remained commonality: either bland sterility or aggressive anonymity, especially apparent when modern buildings clustered—along Park and Sixth Avenues in New York City, for example, or at the University of Illinois Chicago Circle Campus (1965–1987), mostly by Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill. As large chunks of city and suburb became virtually interchangeable and as it dawned on clients that architectural conformity compromised corporate and personal identity, the appeal of glass-box architecture began to wane, noticeably in the 1970s.

The New Eclecticism (1970s–)

In his book, Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture (1966), Robert Venturi condemned "the puritanically moral language of orthodox Modern[ism]." He favored "messy vitality over obvious unity," "the ugly and ordinary architecture" he soon embraced in Learning from Las Vegas (1972). Most architects were reluctant to fetishize "the vulgar" but were receptive to his notion that modernism's "forced simplicity" did not adequately reflect the "ambiguities of contemporary experience." Indeed, retreat from the Miesian model was already under way before Venturi wrote.

The New Formalism of the early 1960s—strictly symmetrical, smooth-skinned, flat-roofed buildings with screens and grilles—was associated with institutional work of Philip Johnson, Minuro Yamasaki, and Edward Durell Stone. The acknowledged master of neo-expressionism (said to have evolved from 1910s and 1920s German expressionism)—characterized by the sublimation of right angles to sensuously sweeping curves made possible by suspended steel cable roofs and concrete (gunite) sprayed over metal frames—was Eero Saarinen, whose TWA terminal (1956–1962) at Idlewild Airport (later Kennedy) in New York City is the most famous of its type. Brutalism referred to massive asymmetrical structures, usually in poured concrete left rough, with small openings, deep recesses, and aggressive projections emphasizing the play of light and shadow; Paul Rudolph's Art and Architecture Building (1958–1965) at Yale University was firmly brutalistic, more so than the Jonas Salk Institute for Biological Studies (1959–1965) in La Jolla, California, or other structures by Louis Kahn, whose masterly work could not easily be categorized but who was influenced nonetheless by the genre.

As if to vindicate him, postmodernism arose shortly after Venturi's second book appeared. A kind of umbrella term in architecture in general from the late 1970s the 1990s, Pomo involved the return of ornament, poly-chrome, mixed materials, and historical design elements like Palladian windows, gables, pediments, elaborate moldings, and the classical orders, as well as unprecedented experimentation with shapes, composition, and the juxtaposition of formerly incompatible features as seen in the works of Charles Moore, Michael Graves, Robert A. M. Stern, and many others, including Venturi.

As the 1990s opened, Pomo was surpassed in media attention by Decon—deconstructivist architecture—represented by prominent figures like Peter Eisenman and Frank Gehry. As with Pomo, Decon borrowed freely from literary studies: a building was a "text" with no intrinsic meaning other than what was brought to it by "readers"—observers, critics, architects themselves. History had little to offer because knowledge is subjective, noncumulative. The architect was therefore free to design any thing in any way. The resulted surpassed even Pomo in its radical disassembling and reconstructing of parts to form heretofore unimagined wholes, perhaps most famously represented by Gehry's Guggenheim Museum (1991–1997) in Bilbao, Spain.

With architects practicing globally, with new materials and technologies at hand, and with every incentive to experiment, expressive possibility is greater than ever before, resulting in a new eclecticism. To mannerisms already mentioned, pluralism adds several identifiable categories: "green" or sustainable energy conserving design; conscious reworking of vernacular and "populist"—that is, commercial—traditions; revived classicism; neomodernism with its "minimalist" or extremely simplified versions; and high-tech, making art of structural and mechanical systems.

These categories are porous. Some architects work exclusively in one while others combine two or more in a single building or in their work as a whole, borrowing freely from each other all the while, benefiting as well from an "anything goes" professional climate. Nor are the categories as mutually exclusive or as historically correct as in the eclecticisms of taste and style. Nevertheless, "selecting aspects of diverse [but no longer exclusively] historical styles in order to form new and acceptable compositions" is the norm. In the absence of stylistic consensus, compositional possibility in the twenty-first century is virtually unlimited.


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Pierson, William H., Jr., ed. American Buildings and Their Architects. Vols. 1, 2, 4, and 5. New York: Oxford University Press, 1970, 1972, 1976, 1978.

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———. McKim, Mead and White, Architects. New York: Harper and Row, 1983.

Saliga, Pauline, ed. Fragments of Chicago's Past: The Collection of Architectural Fragments at The Art Institute of Chicago. Chicago: The Art Institute, 1990.

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———. Power and Style: A Critique of Twentieth-Century Architecture in the United States. New York: Hill and Wang, 1996.


See alsoCapitol at Washington ; Monticello ; University of Virginia .

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Architectural evolution

The present and future of architecture


Although the word “architect” derives from the Greek phrase meaning “master builder,” in practice “architecture” has gradually acquired the connotation “art of building.” Today not all architects would admit that it is an art. Several of them would insist that it is an application of technology, while others would claim that it is a science. However, all would agree that the product of the discipline is real, whether it be a single building, a group of buildings, a community, or a whole city— even if the architect is concerned only with the design and conception.

The fact is that architecture started as a technique of construction, which was gradually specialized into the construction of buildings rather than the building of bridges, roads, and public works, which became the special domain of the engineer. Architecture began as a technique and was transformed into an art—sometimes completely overshadowing the technique. It began as handicraft and artisanship (the architect was the actual builder-entrepreneur), then turned to design and management. Architecture is concerned with individual houses, large composite building complexes, and even whole cities, although the latter specialization is also the province of the town planner.

Through architecture, space is compartmentalized: there is the usable interior area; the total area, that is, the shell and the means; and the external space, which is indirectly changed after the inner area has been defined. The degree to which these different kinds of space fulfill the expected requirements qualifies the degree of success of an architectural work.

Social architecture. Architecture is sometimes called a social art or social technology. This is valid in terms of the content and extent of architecture. Moreover, architecture is social in that it expresses a social trend even if that is very limited in extent. Architectural style does not represent the efforts of a single architect or of one class or even one generation but those of many persons through a number of generations, who express themselves in a way that represents all their beliefs and aspirations. For example, in ancient Greece people built timber roofs over mud-brick walls; over several centuries this particular style of construction was adapted to marble. This architecture did not have an inventor or original designer—every temple had its own master builder, who contributed minute details of refinement to an enduring style. This was a social architecture in expression and form.

Architectural needs. In every period consumers define their architectural needs in terms of quantity, volume, cost, quality, and content. In every community there is the demand for shelter; the variable occurs in the quantity and quality of shelter demanded. In the simplest effort the consumer’s needs and demands coincide, as the consumer asks first of all for what is indispensable, thus automatically adjusting his needs to the possible. When incomes and technology develop, needs increase, while the previously suppressed demand starts rising; then a gap between need and demand appears. As a result the suppressed demand rises even more, and so do the needs, causing an increase of supply, and thus we have a trend toward better and higher architectural forms. As architectural needs and demands become more complex and expand into open areas, roads and public squares take on architectural significance. They then receive corresponding attention, ranging from very elementary (for example, regulations defining rights of way and heights) to very detailed (specification of the elevations, addition of works of art, and so forth).

Architectural creation. The accumulated knowledge of modern science has changed the nature of architectural creation and modified its function. Thus, that which was once a simple, natural act of covering man with shelters and helping him to survive became more and more artificial and complicated and required the mobilization of many skills and resources for its fulfillment. At the same time, the architectural solution—derived from nature in the beginning, like a cave or a hut made out of branches—became unnatural as it moved away from the simplest forms. Such an evolution had its impact on the process of creation of architectural styles. One may suppose that the outstanding builders in every community were given the most important jobs, the temple or church, the mosque or the ruler’s palace, bridges or fortifications. By trial and error they learned how to produce the best; public taste was strongly influenced by the master builders and, in turn, influenced and shaped the general architectural evolution. Over a long period of time, under relatively constant external conditions, this process resulted in the creation of an architectural style. It usually took several centuries for a naturally evolving architecture to acquire its own characteristics, a specific style. The fact that in our era the distance from the natural architectural creation is increasing, together with the fact that economic, social, political, technological, and cultural conditions change so quickly, explains why we do not have our own recognizable architectural style. This lack of a distinct style creates a confusion of ideas about architecture. Today many architects try, in a completely unjustified and facile way, to create their own “styles,” as if one man or group of men could overnight replace the action of a whole society over a long period of years.

Client-architect relationship. For hundreds of years the client-architect relationship was quite simple. When in need of a building, the client turned to the architect, and together they worked out an agreement for full services—from advice to design, construction, procurement of materials and labor, transport, and perhaps even financing—until the building was completed. In some way this was similar to a constituency-politician relationship. In general, the clients selected and guided their architects, who in turn led the clients within a framework of technological possibilities. Their relationship was impersonal. This situation became complicated, confused, and sometimes irrational, especially in the twentieth century, when architects were first educated in art schools and then trained in professional schools of architecture.

Specialization has been advanced to the point where, in many developed countries, members of architectural associations are not allowed to act as builders; thus they are deprived of their most important function and the ultimate justification of their profession. There is no question that the architect, in order to practice his profession properly, now needs the assistance of a great number of experts, including research specialists in the physical and social sciences.

The architect. The evolution of architectural creation and practice had its impact on the architect himself. In the early days of architectural specialization he was a mason and a builder, while the best was called a master mason, an architect. He was an artisan, known for the quality of his product in the same way as were the best painters, sculptors, decorators, and saddle, cart, and carriage makers. During the nineteenth century the process of change began that is transforming the architectcraftsman into a white-collar worker or administrator. Today most of the people actually creating what we commonly call architecture belong to the traditional class of craftsmen, while universitytrained architects constitute a very small percentage of the total. The ratio of architects to population varies greatly from country to country—from the high percentages found in countries like Denmark and England, where architects are sufficiently numerous to deal with interior decoration and furniture, to the very low percentages of architects found in most of the developing countries.

Architectural evolution

In early human history local, natural architecture grew much like a plant (conditioned by the local climate and easily obtainable raw materials). Where conditions warranted (reasonable climate, enduring building materials, and the processes of civilization), the architectural plant thrived. Local architecture did not everywhere lead to great styles, but where it did, architectural efforts of the past continue to influence present-day traditions.

The buildings we have inherited from the Near Eastern civilizations of antiquity belong predominantly to religion—especially in Egypt—although there are some examples of fortifications and palaces. Regular houses, even of the wealthy families, seem always to have been built of materials that could not withstand weather and time; thus, we know only how people built for gods and kings, not how they built for themselves. Whatever we have inherited shows architecture as a monumental art and not at all as an art of everyday life.

In comparison with the previous monumental architecture, that of the Minoan period was much more human. In both enclosed and open spaces the builder’s interest was not to impress humanity and serve souls and gods but to serve man in the best possible way by creating functional human spaces adjusted to the climate. Mycenaean architecture was also close to the Near Eastern tradition. We know little of the architecture of the common man in either of these periods; it may have been only a simpler expression of the architecture of palaces and fortresses, or the earlier types of buildings, constructed in less durable materials, may have continued. Classical Greek architecture is admired for its character, but also because of its use of raw materials, particularly marble. The Greek temple is perhaps the apex of the pyramid of architectural achievement. Its value also lies in the fact that it was not a monument isolated from life, but the real crown of an architecture which started with humble, timbered, mud-brick and stuccoed houses, and public buildings just one degree better than the houses, and progressed to the “agora,” or central market square with its buildings, and finally, to theaters, stadiums, roads and squares, exedras, monuments, and temples. More than any other, Greek architecture was holistic, an architectural conception of the human community represented by the political unit of the city-state. The largest political unit of ancient Greece—the city-state— was so small (the average size being forty miles square) that a person standing at some height could see the entire area at once. With the acropolis at its center, the architectural composition expressed the idea of the culture.

Roman architecture differed from Greek in both content and technique. Not only did it contain greater internal differences, as between the slums of Rome and the luxurious villas and palaces; it also took big steps toward the architecture of large buildings. There were important public buildings: baths, amphitheaters, roads, bridges, and aqueducts. Brick construction played an important role, in addition to stone and marble. There still exist many examples of well-conceived and well-built Roman cities in Europe, Africa, and Asia. They do not manifest the cohesiveness of cities found in Greece, but city-fortresses paved the way for technological advancements in later periods.

At the end of the Roman Empire and with the spread of Christianity, there were two distinct movements toward new architectural forms: one followed a path from Italy to the European mainland; the other moved eastward, back to Greece, Constantinople, and the Middle East.

The first new form—Romanesque architecture— was at the beginning a major stylistic attempt to express the new religion. The Gothic style followed and became the typical architectural expression of the long medieval period with its small, walled city, where the only hope was in God, up in the sky. The architecture of the vertical and the arch reached up, as high as possible, away from the secular world. It is not strange that such architecture was more successful in churches and cathedrals than in houses and public buildings.

It was in southern Europe with its bright light and colors that man returned to an architecture much more human in content and expression. The Renaissance started first in Italy and then spread to the rest of Europe. Although in spirit it represented a return to humanism and to ancient Greece, its direct roots came from the Italian countryside, where the peasants’ houses were the prototypes of the more luxurious houses of the great landlords. When these rich men became urban dwellers— merchants or bankers—they built their cities and palaces, created their piazzas and monuments, public buildings, churches, and fortifications in a new and consistent form of architectural expression. There was continuity from the humble peasant’s house to Michelangelo’s Piazza del Campidoglio in Rome and to the Piazza della Signoria in Florence. As in other great periods, sculpture and painting were blended with architecture.

The Renaissance declined, and baroque style, with its sculpture and monuments, arose—an architecture of intellectual creation rather than a natural art having roots deep in the life of the people. The styles that followed, rococo and then neoclassicism and neoromanticism, widened this gap, emphasized by the art nouveau of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

At the southeastern end of Europe, in the eastern Mediterranean and Middle East, local architectural expressions blended with the technology of the Romans, especially in major brick constructions, and with Greek tradition. Byzantine architecture thus combined East and West and predominated for long centuries, longer perhaps than any other style we know of, until its decline in the late nineteenth century. Although this style produced great cities, palaces, and works of art, it will be remembered mainly for its churches—from the largest, like Saint Sophia in Constantinople and the monasteries of Mount Athos, to the smallest, most humble one-room churches spread over many countries in the Balkans, Greece, and the Middle East.

Special mention should be made of the MuslimArabic style, which, born in the Middle East, followed the road to eastern Europe; then through northern Africa and the southern coast of the Mediterranean, it entered Europe via Spain, where it produced some of the best monuments of domestic and landscape architecture.

Architectural evolution, even when studied with European emphasis, is not as simple as it may look from such a division of styles by groups and periods, because styles have seldom been confined to one place, country, or era. In general, architecture has common origins and roots. The basic elements are people, whose needs are more alike than different, and building materials—mud, bricks, stone, and timber—which behave everywhere in very much the same way. Thus, architectural expressions in early human history were similar to one another; we can speak of a universal origin of all architectural styles, based on the needs and creative potential of man. Then local, semi-isolated cultures tended to develop their own architectural expressions as local or national styles. Some styles remained of importance only in certain areas, while others, especially those with more universal characteristics (generally the simplest ones) spread over wider areas, together with the civilizations and cultures to which they belonged. For example, the ancient Greek, Roman, Muslim, and Iberian styles spread to Central and South America, and the hybrid styles of northwestern Europe were brought to North America, Africa, and Asia by the Anglo-Saxons, the French, and the Dutch. As stylistic influences diffused, they became diluted, merged into one another, and tended toward a cosmopolitan mixture.

The present and future of architecture

Today we live in an era of confusion, especially with regard to the human settlements that have become mere heaps of architectural and public works. Our villages are abandoned, and our cities gradually turn into a nightmare, where all sorts of forces, people, machines, buildings, and projects of all kinds struggle for survival and control. Architecture itself, in the original meaning of the word, is losing its importance, as the value and identity of the single building decrease with the passing of time. City inhabitants do not have the opportunity to see buildings as wholes; they know them only from the inside. Public spaces have completely lost their architectural importance. Moreover, the bulldozer tears down buildings that retain historic and aesthetic value—even relatively new buildings— whenever changes in the texture of the city demand.

In this world of change, architecture finds itself in very rapid evolution. In addition to cosmopolitanism and the decline of significant styles, other phenomena have had a great impact upon architecture. Technological innovations that permitted the construction of buildings of more than the previous limit of five or six floors were made about a century ago and spread rapidly after the invention of the elevator in 1854. In the past hundred years, industrialization and urbanization have given rise to social movements that demanded better housing for the exploding population, especially for workers in overcongested areas. Architecture has not only conquered the third dimension—height; it has also changed its content as attention has turned from the construction of monuments to the provision of services and facilities for people. A rational architecture, fostered by the great revolutionaries of our era, Gropius, Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, and others, has begun to emerge. Architecture entered the second quarter of our century with new forces and has started the third one with enough momentum for the completion of this revolution.

In the meantime, the situation is not simple, and public opinion is still caught between academic and modern, between old and new. Many architects have turned toward a new eclecticism and are searching for a compromise, an easy way out, personal expression, and so on. This is far removed from the real needs of humanity, for architecture, if it is to be true to its great traditions, must cease to be merely the practice of an art form and once again become a technique that serves all the people in the best possible way.

In this tremendous effort, during this great era of change, concepts are confused. People mix the notion of new with that of progress and invent solutions, even when the traditional ones serve us best, or they tend to defend a local style rather than an international architecture, not because it might have greater values—very often it has—but just for the sake of tradition, which, if it does not serve the people any longer, should be abandoned.

However, today’s greatest problem is a quantitative one. The great masses of people on earth live under unbearable conditions. We must face the real issues. The world population, and especially the urban one, is increasing at a rate not matched by architectural creation. At the same time, the full recognition that we need facilities for all has increased the dimensions of the problem. We must find the way in which architecture can catch up with changing economic and social phenomena.

Architects and all those concerned with architecture and city planning fear that a revolution may easily turn into a new academism or lose its momentum and thus stagnate. In many ways the answer lies in a return to the concepts of the past, although the materials, human and technological, are different.

The architect must find a way to bring together the knowledge and experience of the engineering industries, government, and the arts and blend them with local and international demands. In order to succeed in his new role, the architect can no longer concern himself with single buildings but rather must deal with entire settlements. He must build a habitat, which is a rational entity and should correspond to human dimensions. The architect must resume his traditional role as master builder, coordinator of all aspects of architectural creation, not limiting himself to the designing.

There must be the kind of architectural synthesis that will correspond to the magnitude of expanding human settlements. The architect must participate in industry, government, and centers of research and education where new notions about ways of living, the art of living, construction, and the needs of production are being developed. In this way architectural creation will be influenced at a level with which the architect is not yet acquainted but one with which he must familiarize himself if he is to achieve his purposes. In order to utilize knowledge contributed by the physical and social sciences, he must gain a much broader education than he has at present. An attempt to realize this aim is being made through the study of “ekistics,” or the science of human settlements, which proposes to synthesize the economic, social, political, and administrative sciences, technology, and aesthetics into one coherent whole. The new type of human habitat can no longer be cast in the mold of the static city of the past but must be fashioned after the dynamic settlements of the present, which are spreading in all directions around pre-existing cities. Such a dynamically changing frame is bound to come into conflict with static architecture. That is why we need to build our new cities by using a basic cell that will be static but that can be repeated, thus allowing for growth. Such a cell would represent the “human community,” whose dimensions would correspond both to actual human needs and to the dimensions of the city of the past. Its area should not exceed 2,000 yards square, and its population should be limited to 50,000 people. Within such communities, architecture and architectural space could retain their values without being impaired by the intrusions introduced into our urban life by fast-moving machines.

Houses and buildings must be seen in a way that allows them to be, simultaneously, individual units serving separate families or functions and also connected elements of a group that has its own internal cohesion. This may mean that a group of houses will have an internal street or square for pedestrians only, so that even if cars approach every single house, there will still be a part of the whole community that brings the residents together, around a common playground, a common garden or nursery, etc. The same principle suggests that buildings be arranged around a common courtyard or around a series of courtyards where there is no access for automobiles. This would provide a continuum of human space from room to house to courtyard, paths, gardens, and squares, a continuum big enough for the creation of real architectural space, where architecture is not limited to walls and elevations but to the broadest possible conception of space for man.

Thus, the roots of the new architecture are to be found in the entire range of architecture that preceded the nineteenth century. Such an architecture is going to be urban in character and human in content and will utilize a standardized technology. In this way architecture will become more consistent in expression and tend toward a new ecumenical form. The ecumenical qualities of architecture in the past were rooted in common responses to natural conditions; now they are reinforced by the participation of architects in what is gradually coming to be a world society.

The direction of the road toward such solutions is discernible, but the road itself is not yet open. A hard and long effort will be required of all those concerned, an effort to define the subject and a return to the proper concern of architecture: construction. Our only hope is to become good masons, so that we can expect some master masons (architects) to rise from among us. And we must try to abandon the subjective for the sake of the objective approach. If we achieve these aims, it is possible that in a few generations humanity may pass from the completely rational-utilitarian architecture— on which it must now concentrate—to a new humanistic, monumental architecture and thus a new architectural style.

C. A. Doxiadis

[Directly related are the entriesCity; Planning, social, article onregional and urban planning; Style. See also the articles listed underArt.]


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ARCHITECTURE. The monumental inventions of early modern European architecture still mark the modern built environment. Vast boulevards and formal gardens focusing on public buildings denote the capital city everywhere. Domes dominate the skyline in Rome, London, and Washington. Uniform palaces and house facades define the squares of Paris and London, the canals of Amsterdam and St. Petersburg. Churches modeled on imperial Roman baths and basilicas seem to reach outwards, with spectacular baroque facades and multiple columns extending into public space, like the twin columns (inspired by Trajan's Column in Rome) of Vienna's Karlskirche (Fischer von Erlach, 17151738), or the colonnades that define the piazza of St. Peter's in Rome (Gian Lorenzo Bernini, 16561667). The countryside, too, is transformed by villas and great houses in their landscaped grounds, and in the most famous case, Versailles (Louis Levau and J. H. Mansart, 16681689), the out-of-town retreat became the capital of an absolute monarch.

The language of all these buildings is classical, using the columns, arches, cornices, vaults, and triangular pediments still visible in the ruins of ancient Rome, integrating them according to the ancient treatise of Vitruvius, and in some cases directly imitating the few ancient buildings that survived, such as the Pantheon and the Colosseum. But this language was transformed in several ways, going beyond the accomplishments of the Renaissance. In its baroque form, space becomes more complex, and surfaces more agitated and ornate; straight moldings and flat walls curve and break apart, columns spiral, circles turn into ovals, ceilings dissolve into vast trompe l'oeil paintings that seem open to heaven, and solid ornament imitates the movement of angels or the sudden burst of light. Secular buildings undergo the same transformation, especially in their ceremonial staircases and uniform suites of reception rooms that create the impression of infinite power. The best of these designs is orderly and monumental rather than capricious or excessive, yet periodically architects reacted against the baroque, instigating a calmer and more rational classicism. A well-known example is Palladianism, a revival of the late Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio (15081580) that came to dominate English country house design in the eighteenth century in reaction to the ornate formality of Versailles and its English baroque rival, John Vanbrugh's Blenheim (17051716).

Individual buildings and urban spaces conveyed a powerful message of confidence and control through new forms and crystalline geometry even when they were not very large. Thus Francesco Borromini's (15991667) church of San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane in Rome (16341667), though only the size of one of the piers of St. Peter's, created a stir among visitors and critics who praised its curved facade and oval domeor execrated them in equal measure. Sant' Ivo (16421660), Borromini's Star of Davidshaped chapel for the University of Rome, dazzled with its breathless spiral tower that altered the role of the adjacent Pantheon's dome. Borromini's fastidiousness for building materials and moldings was matched by his French contemporary François Mansart, but the latter's trademark at country houses such as Château Maisons near Paris (1642) and the Orleans wing of the royal palace at Blois (1635) was a limpid and austere classicism. Pietro da Cortona's (15961669) facade for Santa Maria della Pace (16561659) in Rome applied theatricality to urban design, placing a lavishly columned and curved portico in a small space that caught unprepared visitors by surprise. Paris, Turin, London, and Bath were endowed with geometrical open spaces framed with uniform porticoes and houses, to whose shapes the English word "square" fails to do justice: rather, they were triangular (Place Dauphine), circular (Place des Victoires, Jules Hardouin-Mansart, 1685; the Circus, John Wood, 1754), rectangular (Piazza San Carlo, Carlo di Castellamonte, 1620), hexagonal (Place Vendôme, Mansart, 1698), and elliptical (Royal Crescent, John Wood, Jr., 17671777). Countering these residential "squares" were the public spaces of Rome, such as Piazza Navona (Four Rivers fountain by Bernini, 16471651), the Spanish Steps (Francesco de Sanctis, 17231726), and the Trevi fountain (Nicola Salvi, 1762), each animated by generous displays of statuary, water, terraces, and views. This festive quality of the best early modern urban design was enhanced with additional ornaments, including innumerable triumphal arches, imprinting the city with commemorative meaning.


The innovations of the Italian Renaissance provided an ample foundation for the developments in architecture of the late sixteenth, the seventeenth, and the first half of the eighteenth centuries. This inheritance was enhanced by the innovations of military defense, altered social and political organizations, and new forms of organized religion. Yet despite significant research in church form and extensive construction of places of worship, the period is marked by a secularization of architecture and urban space.

The seventeenth century was an urban century, whose great citiesdefined by the size of the population (according to Giovanni Botero) and the magnificence of their rulersconstituted its new wealth. A large population can be attained through prosperity and security, and the architecture of the early modern era defined the prosperity of the social order and ensured its safety in the face of enemies. Distinguished buildings, significant historical inheritance, artistic collections, and public safety attracted visitors to the great city. Thus consumerism and tourism developed in tandem with the early modern city and its architectural expression.

This was accompanied by the widespread acceptance and application of the revived classical style of architecture in places outside the Italian peninsulain France, England, the Netherlands, the Germanic states, Sweden, Russia, and the British colonies in the Americas. A specifically Counter-Reformation style of classical architecture, emphasizing massive, ornate spaces and animated forms that propagate the faith by captivating the audience, was disseminated in the colonial towns of Spanish and Portuguese settlers, and in the missionary convents of religious orders in Central and South America, on the western coast of Africa, and on the Indian subcontinent.

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, architecture became an instrument of state control and organization, not only signifying the cultural advantages of its sponsors (as in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries) but also assuming a defining role in the identity of nascent national states. Thus secularized, classicized, and politicized, architecture transformed the early modern city. The architectural product continued to be defined through three types of designchurch, palace, and public squarebut each underwent extensive refinement and redefinition. We have cathedrals, parish churches, and monastic churches as before, though now competing for attention through the offer of urban amenities such as colonnades, fountains, and elaborately decorated facades, transformed by the worldly social agenda of the Counter-Reformation. The palace building type came to encompass not only aristocratic town residences (called hôtels in France) and the communal homes of religious orders, but also the state agencies of control, management, and reform (such as prisons, almshouses, hospitals, and city halls). The open spaces of the city surrounded by this evolving set of buildings (housing new functions and organized into streets and squares more or less geometrically defined and ordered) became the principal sites of urban meaning. The definition of urban architecture was ultimately achieved through the enclosure of a city within a fortification belt (walls, bastions, outworks, and gateways) that effectively created the separation between town and country and allowed each to develop firm boundaries.

This defining separation was the major contribution of military urbanism. Other military-influenced architectural features were the triumphal arch, the pentagonal citadel, the wide, uniformly framed straight boulevard, and the equestrian statue of the victorious ruler placed at the center of squares used for parades and festivities. The pacification brought about by military architecture encouraged the development of the rural palace or agrarian villa. Palladio's urbane villas (such as the Rotonda outside Vicenza, 15661569, and the Villa Barbaro at Maser, 15541558) offered a residential type that resonates throughout early modern architecture. Modeled on the French royal château, the palaces at Blenheim, Tsarskoe Selo (Bartolomeo Rastrelli, 17491756), and Schönbrunn (Fischer von Erlach, 16961711) are among the most prominent examples of the "Versailles syndrome" that swept through eighteenth-century Europe.

This new understanding of architecture, urbane even in its country houses, was promoted through the burgeoning medium of print: illustrated books, single sheets, and specialized studies turned the newly defined city and its buildings into a subject of study, and were collected by all those with pretensions to learning: for the first time in the history of Western civilization, the achievements of architects could be appreciated, studied, and imitated without leaving home. Nonetheless, this graphic documentation stimulated travel in the pursuit of architectural education, making Romethen Paris, London, and Amsterdamthe destinations for nonreligious pilgrimage.


The issues involved in large building operationsbudget, conflicting interests of patrons, and variable design talents of architectscan best be illustrated by the seemingly interminable reconstruction of St. Peter's in Rome. Its dome, completed (Michelangelo and Giacomo della Porta, 1590) after nearly a century of indecision and uncertainty, the much desired Renaissance plan of the ideal church as centrally plannedpromoted by Bramante (1506) and Michelangelo (c. 1546), the two most acclaimed architects of the sixteenth centurywas definitively abandoned. The extension of the church by Carlo Maderno (16071612), and the immense facade designed by him, completed the body of the church proper. This signified the coming importance of building elevations in a development that has been labeled facadismcountering the Renaissance's failure to complete the public front of important religious and secular buildings (the facade of San Lorenzo in Florence, for example, whose interior includes Michelangelo's Medicean library and chapel, remains unclad). The elliptical space before St. Peter's, defined by a carefully planted forest of columns, was not completed until the late 1660s by Bernini. The area framed by the facade and colonnade, where pilgrims to Rome were taken to the bosom of the church and whose center was defined by the largest Egyptian obelisk in Rome, represented the epitome of baroque space. The placement of the obelisk under the direction of Domenico Fontana in 1586 marks an important achievement in the history of engineering, considered by architectural historians to be the most influential moment of early modern city planning and a spur to later developments. Facadism then is a crucial element of the concern with the appearance of public space that dominates Western architectural design in the seventeenth century.

Like Florence in the fifteenth century, Rome in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries was an artistic hub of the highest order. The papal government (with its huge numbers of retainers and accompanying families), the missionary orders that made their headquarters in the city, and the large numbers of pilgrims constituted the elements of a varied and rich patronage system that attracted the best artists to the city. Milan and Naples, Rome's most important rivals in wealth and size of population, were dominated by the Spanish viceroys, whose cultural contributions were more modest; Spanish monarchs beginning with Philip II concentrated their architectural patronage on the remote palace-monastery El Escorial (Juan de Herrera, 15681584). Architects came to work in Rome, but they also came to study, forming "national" groupings lodged among their compatriots in distinct parts of the multicultural city.

By the end of the seventeenth century the Italian tour, though highly recommended, was no longer a requirement for a successful career in architecture. Thus Christopher Wren and Jules Hardouin-Mansart, unlike their predecessors Inigo Jones and Jacques Lemercier, built highly visible religious monumentsSt Paul's in London (16751711) and the Invalides church in Paris (16791691)modeled on St. Peter's without setting foot in the old city. Inigo Jones put his Italian experience to work designing the queen's house in Greenwich (16161635, outside London), a royal villa that later became the centerpiece of Wren's naval hospital (16961716), and the Whitehall Banqueting House (16191622), which emulated the urban palaces of Palladio in Vicenza. Although his buildings were few, he sowed the seeds of Palladianism, the single most significant classicizing movement in England, whose influence continued through the eighteenth century in the houses designed by John Wood in Bath and Lord Burlington, William Kent, and Robert Adam in the British countryside near London (Chiswick, Syon) and East Anglia (Holkham Hall).

The Dutch version of classicism turned Amsterdam into a Venice of the north and provided the stimulation for the design of St. Petersburg. Russian neoclassicism in the later eighteenth century was leavened by the presence of both Charles Cameron and Giacomo Quarenghi, whose cool white and stripped-down temples and pavilions for the empress Catherine were rooted in the more recent archaeology of the mid-century. Architects at the French Academy in Rome made an inestimable contribution to neoclassicism: they measured and drew antiquities, offering the most accurately reproduced illustrations for those unwilling to travel. By anatomizing antiquities, they acquired a familiarity with the classical forms that led to the transformation of this inheritance, stripping it of baroque accretions.


Architecture in this period solved problems that had been researched for centuries: how to express the status and ambitions of the patron and how to connect the buildings' public and private functions. Thus the formation of palace facades in Rome, Turin, Venice, Paris, and Vienna can be seen as billboards that explicate the position of their owners. This meant articulating the relation between the exterior (the street or garden facade) and the interior, which in turn must be divided into entry, passage, principal reception room, and private apartments.

While palace and church elevations had been recognized as essential areas of relation between public and interior space (and as carriers of meaning), the formal manipulation of these surfaces was determined by concerns for the appearance of dignity and sobriety. The baroque facade became strongly articulated and richly ornamented with the entire arsenal of architectural vocabulary available to designers. While the liveliness of church facades was meant to stimulate a Counter-Reformation participation, the facades of palaces became essential elements in the highly ritualized definition of power exchanges.

The major architectural innovationsSt. Peter's in Rome, Palladio's villas, the Louvre in Paris (1666), and the palace at Versaillessoon acquired the authority earlier associated with ancient Roman and Greek buildings such as the Parthenon, the Pantheon, the Colosseum, and the ancient theater. The new standards were serially emulated, though not always with distinguished results. Thus St. Peter's was the source not only for Mansart's Invalides in Paris and Wren's St. Paul's in London, but also for Jacques-Germain Soufflot's Panthéon (17551780) in Paris, stretching as far as the nineteenth-century capitol buildings in Washington and in Providence, Rhode Island. Versailles, itself distantly modeled on the Escorial, spawned numerous imitations in the German principalities and in Vienna, as well as in Sweden and Russia. Palladio's villa designs, capable of absorbing variations in scale, were the basis (through Inigo Jones) for innumerable British country houses, and for Thomas Jefferson's influential Monticello. Bernini's designs for the Louvre, and the realized version by Louis Le Vau and Claude Perrault, drew upon the Farnese palace in Rome, the grandest of Renaissance homes, and propagated countless urban houses, from Guarino Guarini's Carignano palace (16791683) in Turin to Viennese town palaces of the eighteenth century.

See also Baroque ; Bernini, Gian Lorenzo ; Borromini, Francesco ; Britain, Architecture in ; City Planning ; Estates and Country Houses ; France, Architecture in ; Gardens and Parks ; Mansart, François ; Neoclassicism ; Palladio, Andrea, and Palladianism ; Rome, Architecture in ; Wren, Christopher.


Ackerman, James S. The Villa: Form and Ideology of Country Houses. Princeton, 1990.

Blunt, Anthony. Art and Architecture of France 1500 to 1700. New Haven, 1999. First published in 1953.

Botero, Giovanni. Della grandezza delle città. 1608.

Millon, Henry, ed. The Triumph of the Baroque: Architecture in Europe 16001750. Milan, 1999.

Millon, Henry, and Vittorio Lampugnani, eds. The Renaissance from Brunelleschi to Michelangelo: The Representation of Architecture. New York, 1994.

Payne, Alina. The Architectural Treatise in the Italian Renaissance: Architectural Invention, Ornament, and Literary Culture. Cambridge, U.K., 1999.

Pollak, Martha. Turin, 15641680: Urban Design, Military Culture and the Creation of the Absolutist Capital. Chicago, 1991.

Rykwert, Joseph. The First Moderns: The Architects of the Eighteenth Century. Cambridge, Mass., 1980.

Summerson, John. The Architecture of the Eighteenth Century. London, 1986.

. The Classical Language of Architecture. London, 1980.

Waddy, Patricia. Seventeenth-Century Roman Palaces: Use and Art of the Plan. New York and Cambridge, Mass., 1990.

Wittkower, Rudolf. Art and Architecture of Italy, 16001750. New Haven, 2001. First published in 1958.

Martha Pollak

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an area of great cultural creativity.

The architecture and city planning of the countries of North Africa and the Middle East are steeped in a history that has been marked by the development of Arab and Islamic culture since the seventh century. The architectural and urban traditions generated by this culture produced a remarkable built environmentcomposed of beautiful monuments of the Islamic artand spatial typologies. Since the nineteenth century, this architectural inheritance has cohabited with and contrasted with a contemporary architecture that was produced on the one hand by an endogenous dynamics of "Westernization" developed during the Ottoman imperial period, and on the other hand by different forms of colonial domination (mainly French and British).

Since the independence of the region's countries, architecture has been the product of essentially two tendencies. In the vernacular, "minor" architecture, age-old traditions rooted in the materials, climate, and social structure of the local environment mark buildings in both rural areas and in new urban districts, where the self-construction is encouraged. There, the population produces an architecture without architects, and old forms cohabit, harmoniously or in a disjointed way, with modern structures. By contrast, in official, "major" architecture, buildings whose construction relied on governmental or institutional patronage have undergone a metamorphosis that has altered dramatically historical traditions and reflects the increasing impact of international styles and construction methods.

In addition to this influence, during the last thirty years the rate of construction in this part of the world has been intense, so architectural development has been rapid and buildings production radically transformed. However, as Udo Kulter-mann explained in Contemporary Architecture in the Arab States, this "rapidity and gigantic dimension of the transformation caused problems, among them waste, inefficiency, and misstated priorities, [and] the focus of international architectural activity shifted from Europe and North America to the Arab states as the world elite of the architectural profession competed with each other and with the emerging generation of Arab architects" (p. 1).

The Islamic Legacy

In the contemporary architecture, the influence of the Islamic legacy and local traditions is apparent not only superficially, in building forms and ornaments; instead, it affects the very design process. It "became, as the Aga Khan said, an instinctive manner of expression for any architect designing anywhere in the Islamic world" (The Aga Khan, 1979, cited by Kultermann, p.4). Old principles that governed the organization of space and the Isalmic aesthetic are actualized according to modern building requirements and are reintroduced to satisfy the religious rules and the climate. In addition, new buildings are least likely to complement the existing buildings so changes to the city environment are generally made house by house, block by block, and not by urban overhaul. If planned buildings are close to cities' historic districts, architects and governments build with care and sensitivity, but in cities' peripheries, they often propose buildings that do not correspond to the population's needs or lifestyles.

The Colonial Legacy

Even before the establishment of colonial empires in the Middle East, economic decline had reduced the quantity and quality of official patronage of architecture. Simultaneously, European styles influenced the building of European embassies and commercial concerns and the way that official patronage relied upon architects and builders who had traveled or studied in Europe, European publications on architecture, and changing tastes in Islamic courts. In the Ottoman Empire, for example, the Balyan family provided three generations of official architects for the sultans beginning in 1822, producing mosques, palaces, and other official buildings that reflected a mixture of European styles.

European governments, banks, commercial trading enterprises, and missionary institutions began to erect buildings in the European style. French styles prevailed in Algeria and later in the Maghrib; the style of the Balyans and later the Italian architect Montani gained currency in the Ottoman capital of Constantinople (now Istanbul); in Egypt, Muhammad Ali (r. 18051848) favored buildings in a Europeanized Ottoman style, and the Khedive Ismaʿil ibn Ibrahim (r. 18631879), who had studied in Europe, imported European architects to build his palaces and to make over modern Cairo in the image of Paris under the Second Empire. Elsewhere on the Mediterranean littoral, and to an extent in Iran, French, Italian, and British architectural ideas left their stamp on museums and government buildings.

Nationalism and Architecture

By the end of the nineteenth century, European architectural ideas had provoked reactions from Middle Eastern architects and from Europeans who were sensitive to local traditions. Moreover, as the neo-Islamic building style gained popularity in Europe in the nineteenth century, it began to appear in the Middle East as well. In Egypt a substantial number of Islamic Revival buildings were erected by local and foreign architects in Cairo and in Alexandria; these used European construction methods and floor plans but were decorated with Islamic motifs. Examples include Alfonso Manescalo's Islamic Museum (19031904) and Mahmud Fahmi's Awqaf Ministry building (after 1898). In the Ottoman Empire a revival of governmental patronage in the late nineteenth century led to an early-twentieth-century Ottoman Revival style, whose chief practitioners were the architects Kemalettin Bey and Mehmet Vedat, and to a new-Islamic style that drew its inspiration from Spain and the Maghrib, exemplified by the Valide Mosque (1873) by Montani, and by the mid-nineteenth-century neo-Marinid gateway to what is now Istanbul University. In Casablanca, the Law Courts and other official buildings that were built under the French protectorate reflected an attempt to understand and to promote "appropriate" local styles.

Nationalist architecture in the Middle East emerged during the twentieth century. The Ottoman Revival under the Young Turks in the early twentieth century manifested a new Turkish nationalism and sparked a tradition reflected today in the neo-Ottoman contemporary buildings of Sedad Hakki Eldem, such as his many Bosporus villas (yah) and the massive central complex of Istanbul University. After the Atatürk revolution, German architects were invited to devise a city plan for modern Ankara; public monuments in European styles often drew upon what their designers believed were the pre-Islamic Hittite and Assyrian traditions of Anatolia.

Similar attention to the pre-Islamic past was seen in the architecture of Iran under the Pahlavis, where the monarchy stressed cultural continuity not only with the Safavid Islamic past but also with a Persian heritage stretching back to Cyrus the Great. The government of Reza Pahlavi spent vast sums on restoring monuments, especially those that had been built with earlier royal patronage, while largely adopting the modern international style in its new institutional buildings. The regime's Islamic successor has produced no significant architecture that indicates its own political and religious agenda, mostly because of the country's economic decline and the demands of its war with Iraq.

Morocco's independence from the French, gained in 1956, led to a pronounced nationalism in architecture, first expressed in the tomb complex of Muhammad V in Rabat, and in the 1990s in a series of laws that required that the construction budgets for all institutional and governmental buildings allot a substantial percentage of funds to strictly defined traditional Moroccan crafts.

In Egypt, by contrast, the revolution of the 1950s led to a socialist government whose official architecture often imitated the monumental style popular in the Soviet Union, best exemplified in the massive and forbidding Central Government Building in Cairo. National revolutions thus developed architectural patronage that reflected their own ideologies. For example, the secularist Baʿthist regime in Iraq, when it drew on the past for inspiration, typically looked to the neo-Babylonian period rather than to traditional Islam, a tendency that increased under the government of Saddam Hussein. In a parallel though far less pronounced tendency, Egypt has sought pharaonic inspiration for building styles and public monuments. In Central Asia, Russia first pushed its Stalinist architectural agenda, then later espoused the Soviet version of modernism. At the same time, the Soviet governments in Central Asia put significant effort into restoring Islamic monuments such as the giant mosque of Bibi Khanym in Samarkand, and religious monuments in Tashkent and Bukhara.

Contemporary Dilemmas

Middle Eastern attempts to adapt modern Western architecture often conflicts with the desire to bring about a renaissance of traditional architecture, or to produce a modern Islamic architecture that can keep its distinctive local or regional style while drawing upon the best of the new technology. There have been several institutional attempts to deal with this dilemma, but none has been more influential than the Aga Khan Awards, established in the late 1970s by the leader of the world's Ismaʿili Muslims. Beginning in 1980 an international jury composed of architects and others from the Islamic world, Europe, and the United States has periodically awarded prizes for contemporary Middle Eastern architecture that best reflects Islamic traditions and values combined with artistic distinction. The honored styles have varied widely, from the neotraditionalist architecture of Hassan Fathy in Egypt, typified in his buildings for the Wissa Wassef Foundation in Harraniya, near Giza, to the technically and formally avant-garde water towers designed for Kuwait City by the Swedish firm VBB. In general, the juries have shown remarkable breadth of vision and have taken an inclusive and eclectic (rather than ideological and purist) approach to the enormous range of distinctive modern Middle Eastern architectural styles. Awards have been given for domestic architecture, historical restoration, institutional buildings, adaptive reuse, and commercial buildings. The first awards were memorialized in 1983 in a publication edited by Renata Holod; subsequent years' awards, and other subjects of Middle Eastern architecture, have been featured in the periodical Mimar: Architecture in Development (up to 1994).

Three main issues confront governments, patrons, architects, and urban planners in the Middle East today. The first is how and whether there should be an ideology of architecture; the answer in Morocco has been an unequivocal yes, reflected in neotraditionalist building codes that emphasize traditional ornament and decorative crafts while utilizing modern technology to the fullest. For example, the mosque of Hassan II in Casablanca (thought of as a pendant to the impressive twelfth-century ruins of the Almohad mosque in Rabat), although constructed in classical Moroccan forms and proportions with classical decoration, is an outsized reinforced-concrete giant whose skyscraper minaret is surmounted by a huge laser that sends beams far into the sky. Its construction has been hailed for its Islamic symbolism and condemned for its extravagance during a time of financial difficulties. Similar ideology prevailed in the reconstruction of the two major pilgrimage shrines in Mecca and Medina by the Saudi government. Although they greatly facilitate the comfort and ease (if not the safety) of vastly increased numbers of pilgrims, these structures, lavish in size and decoration and traditional in style, raise more questions than they answer about the future of Middle Eastern religious architecture.

Examples of the opposite approach, which could be termed "creative pluralism," are found in Turkey and Tunisia, where many different styles, structures, and forms of decoration exist side by side in a creative mixture. The issue remains: Is appropriate architecture to consist of a traditional decorative veneer on what are essentially Western buildings in plan and construction, or is the new architecture of the Middle East going to be based from the ground up on the rich mosaic of social, environmental, and historical traditions? In fact, with few exceptions, local vernacular architecture is disappearing, replaced by undistinguished modern structures or by an equally alien homogenized national traditionalism that often consists of little more than employing the arch solely as a decorative device on building surfaces.

The second issue is curricula in architectural schools and colleges. The twentieth-century conflict about the role of teaching and learning the art and architecture of the past exists in the Middle East as it does elsewhere; the almost universal acceptance of Western-originated construction techniques and equipment (reinforced concrete, steel, glass, the tower crane, and so on) lends an almost surreal quality to some of these debates, and the issues often have been obscured as much as illumined by the polemics against the West exercised by individuals such as the late Ismaʿil Faruqi. The dialectic between historicism and artistic creativity is as old as art itself, however, and these debates are bound to survive as an essential part of the creative process.

The third issue is one that confronts architects and patrons everywhere. Even an examination of the record of the Aga Khan Awards demonstrates an impressive array of beautiful structures that are creative in design and impressive in sensitivity to tradition, but for the most part, whether they are private houses or public monuments, expensive to construct and affordable to few. Whether architecture in the Middle East can fulfill its implicit roleto provide decent housing and urban environments for exploding populations while reflecting its national and local traditions and remaining affordableis a dilemma that will not easily be resolved.

see also atatÜrk, mustafa kemal; balyan family; baʿth, al-; eldem, sedad hakki; fahmi, mahmud pasha; hussein, saddam; ismaʿil ibn ibrahim; istanbul university; kemalettin bey; muhammad ali; pahlavi, reza; young turks.


The Aga Khan. Introduction of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture. Proceedings. Instanbul: Aga Khan Award for Architecture, 1979.

Akbar, Jamel. Crisis in the Built Environment: The Case of the Muslim City. Singapore: Concept Media Pte Ltd., 1998.

Evin, Ahmed. Architecture Education in the Islamic World. Singapore: Concept Media Pte. Ltd./Aga Khan Award for Architecture 1986.

Faruqi, Ismail al-. "Islam and Architecture." In Fine Arts in Islamic Civilization, edited by M. A. J. Berg. Kuala Lumpur: Alif International, 1981.

Holod, Renata, and Rastorfer, Darl, eds. Architecture and Community: Building in the Islamic World Today. New York: Aperture, 1983.

Kultermann, Udo. Contemporary Architecture in Arab States. Renaissance of a Region. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1999.

Sakr, Tarek Mohamed Refaat. Early Twentieth-Century Islamic Architecture in Cairo. Cairo: American University in Cairo Press, 1993.

Walter Denny

Updated by Azzedine G. Mansour

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Architecture is the art and science of building the human environment. Because that environment is meant to enclose, enhance, and shape human activity, architecture thus extends beyond abstract issues of formal geometrical design and structural science into a far broader social dimension. As Winston Churchill is famous for saying to Parliament in 1943: First we shape our buildings, and then our buildings shape us.

Exactly when the conscious, deliberate shaping of the human environment began defies dating, since the earliest structures most likely were made of organic materials that quickly returned to earth. Archaeological evidence discovered near Marseille, France, however, revealed repeated construction of wood-framed dwellings dating back as far as 300,000 to 400,000 years ago, and several skin coverings and wooden house frames from 13,500 years ago were surprisingly preserved at a Chilean site called Monte Verde. The well-known stone structures of megalithic Europe date to 6,000 years ago, but it is significant that these were almost universally built for ceremonial or religious purposes, while the construction of dwellings apparently still relied on vegetable and animal materials long since vanished. Hence, the first intentionally permanent architecture was shaped for the most fundamental of social communal purposesto bring a sense of visible order to the cosmos and to provide a link to the dead.

Architecture is a decidedly social activity, for it involves the interactions of many individuals, beginning with the patronindividual, committee, or organizationwho calls a building into being. The architect and assistants, or architectural firm, then translate the clients wishes into abstracted drawings and other construction documents that are used in turn by an army of construction specialists to fabricate the final product. At every step of this process, social exchanges, discussions, and negotiations are required to adjust the design to changing needs and costs. This multidisciplinary social process involves large numbers of people specializing in many occupations, such as drawing and computer design, materials acquisition, preparing written specifications, scheduling construction, arranging construction materials, assembling the prepared materials, and applying the interior finishes, among many others. For the most complex buildings, additional management specialists are required to ensure that materials and subassemblies arrive at the building site with optimal timing to prevent costly delays.

As a social art, architecture is subject to a range of controlling forces to ensure public safety. In ancient Rome, huge privately financed urban apartment blocks, called insulae, sometimes were so shoddily built that they collapsed. With the establishment of a firmer centralized authority during the Roman Empire, regulations were enforced to curb the worst of these building shortcuts. Later, during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, governing authorities in France and Britain similarly instituted building regulations to reduce the spread of urban fires. In the United States, following disastrous fires in Boston and Chicago in the late nineteenth century, building codes and regulations were instituted in larger cities. To ensure general public safety, nearly every community now has zoning regulations and building codes controlling where types of buildings can be located and governing density as well as engineering requirements of design and durability of building materials. These regulations apply equally to commercial and governmental buildings, as well as to private residences.

Making architecture involves the shaping of space in a way reached by no other art. Whether fully enclosed or an open external area, architectural space has several different properties. Initially designed to accommodate some function of human activity, this space is definable as square feet or meters. If the space is enclosed by glass, then the users view extends beyond the physically enclosed space, and this larger reach constitutes perceptual space less easily quantified. If some substantial object is permanently fixed in that spacea large table, for examplethe physical presence of that object emphatically conditions human use of the space, giving definition to the social parameters of behavioral space.

Beyond these three-dimensional aspects, another important spatial quality is the distance members of a particular species place between themselves. This strong determinant of social behavior, called personal space, can be seen in the way birds space themselves along a telephone wire. Seemingly genetically programmed, impinging upon personal space may produce socially aberrant behavior. Among humans, however, Edward T. Hall notes in The Hidden Dimension (1966) that personal space seems to be significantly determined by culture in addition to any fixed internal programming.

Making places for human use extends from the design of a single room and its interior furnishings in ever-increasing scales: from a small building to a large multistory office or institutional structure, to a group of interconnected buildings such as a college campus, to an urban neighborhood, even to the planned organization and pattern of use of a region. Architectural design involves not only physical structures but also the landscape in which the buildings are placed.


Buildings embody wishes and aspirations on several levels, beginning with the desires of the client. Typically, images a client might envision for a building are part of a general collection of accepted communal formal qualities, evolved over time and called by a style name. These stylistic qualities are understood by most of the community and symbolize its values at any given time.

This concept is the iconography of a particular architectural style. To later historians, additional layers of meaning might be discernible, but these interpretations may not have been part of the consciousness of the original builders. This more embracing concept is the iconol-ogy of a time period.


In sketching the general iconological content of past architecture, one might make several observations:

  • that ancient Greek architecture, particularly temples, represented humans striving to achieve the highest level of excellence in construction;
  • that ancient Roman architecture borrowed details from Grecian architecture for use in buildings of vast scale devoted to public purposes;
  • that the most important medieval architecture served to reinforce human religious life in anticipation of an eternity in heaven;
  • that Renaissance architecture sought to fuse this inherited religious meaning with a renewed appreciation of the geometric logic of classical architecture; and
  • that Baroque architecture endeavored to appeal to emotions to enhance religious mysticism (in the ecclesiastical realm) or to make a political impression through magnificence or vastness of scale (in the aristocratic realm).

Architects of the nineteenth century struggled to master new industrial technologies while attempting to understand the enormously rich and complex history of architecture around globe.

What changed in the early twentieth century was an added layer of social utopianism, an outgrowth of the Arts and Crafts movement in England. Through the exploitation of industrial production processes, and using industrial materials such as concrete, steel, and glass, architects were challenged to devise a radically new architectural style that would eliminate slum housing. Moreover, this new millennial architecture was to be shaped by an idealistic view of the way things should be (at least in the eyes of the architects and theorists), rather than shaped by the way things actually were. The resulting new communities were to provide fresh air, clean water, and open space in the belief that these transformations would permanently improve society. Architect and polemicist Charles-Édouard Jenneret (who called himself Le Corbusier) declared in his 1923 Vers une Architecture that it was either this new architecture or social revolution. He even suggested the creation of a normative typeone building type for all people everywhere. Begun in Europe at the dawn of the twentieth century, the new architecture became public policy in the 1920s and 1930s, with more limited application in the United States. Although this social utopianism was well intended, it often fell short of the objective. It may have been supremely utilitarian, but as Hannah Arendt would observe in her 1958 The Human Condition, utility established as meaning generates meaninglessness.

The perceived lack of referential meaning in the International Modern style (as it came to be known by mid-twentieth century) led to a reaction by a new generation of architects, particularly Robert Venturi and Denise Scott-Brown in the United States. Beginning with the use of broadly and whimsically altered historic details, postmodern architecture appeared in the mid-1960s, entering the professional mainstream by the end of the 1980s and extending worldwide by the 1990s. In referencing the past, postmodernism also validated reexamination of traditional regional architectural styles around the globe. Architects in Hungary, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, and scores of other nations began to draw inspiration from their own ancient regional traditions in new buildings of wholly original design and construction; such architecture proved rich in meaning to its users. Architecture in the late twentieth century was viewed once again as capable of being a powerful element in how people envision themselves in time and place.


The end of the twentieth century was marked by the emergence of certain mega-architects identified by their unique building forms. Most notable was Frank Gehry, known for his multiply curved, metal-clad, irregularly shaped swoosh buildings. Exploitation of computer-aided design has rendered such complex building forms more cost effective, marking a dramatic change in the imagining and construction of buildings and doing away with traditional drafting instruments largely unaltered for centuries. The unfolding effect of this fundamental change in design methodology will shape twenty-first century architecture.

An equally significant shift in the nature of the discipline is the emergence of women in a field dominated for centuries by men. Women began to make important contributions beginning at the dawn of the twentieth century, but their names were seldom widely known and their numbers were few. This advent of women as major players in the discipline was vividly demonstrated by the award of the prestigious international Pritzker Architecture Prize to Zaha Hahid in 2003.

Perhaps more significant for Earths future is the movement toward sustainable green architecture. The traditional energy-consuming methods of making construction materialstoxic in themselves and leaving toxic residue from their manufactureresulted in buildings that, once completed, further consumed prodigious amounts of energy for lighting, heating, cooling, and ventilating. Nowhere was this old-style architecture more evident than in the thin-walled modernist glass-sheathed boxes of the mid-twentieth century. In contrast, the emerging philosophy of sustainable green architecture promotes using less toxic materials and forming buildings in ways that allow them to work with, rather than against, nature. For example, windows can be shaded by calculating orientation and latitude to prevent internal solar heat gain, and buildings may be cooled in part by facilitating natural ventilation, practices of architect Ken Yeang. The future social implications of such a design approach, especially in the reduction of long-term operating costs, are enormous.

SEE ALSO Archaeology; Cities; Human Ecology; Material Culture; Postmodernism; Religion; Rituals; Telecommunications Industry; Urbanization


Arendt, Hannah. 1958. The Human Condition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Le Corbusier. 1977. Vers une Architecture, rev. ed. Paris: Arthaud. (Orig. pub. 1923).

Gauldie, Sinclair, 1969. Architecture. New York: Oxford University Press.

Hall, Edward T. 1966. The Hidden Dimension. Garden City, NY: Doubleday.

Kostof, Spiro, ed. 1977. The Architect: Chapters in the History of the Profession. New York: Oxford University Press.

Kostof, Spiro. 1991. The City Shaped: Urban Patterns and Meanings Through History. New York: Little, Brown.

Kostof, Spiro. 1995. A History of Architecture: Setting and Rituals, 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press.

Moffett, Marian, Michael Fazio, and Lawrence Wodehouse. 2004. Buildings Across Time: An Introduction to World Architecture. Boston: McGraw-Hill.

Norberg-Schulz, Christian. 1975. Meaning in Western Architecture. New York: Praeger.

Prak, Niels Luning. 1968. The Language of Architecture: A Contribution to Architectural Theory. The Hague: Mouton.

Rasmussen, Steen Eiler. 1962. Experiencing Architecture, 2nd ed. Eve Wendt, trans. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Roth, Leland M. 2006. Understanding Architecture: Its Elements, History, and Meaning, 2nd ed. Boulder, CO: Westview.

Trachtenberg, Marvin, and Isabelle Hyman. 2002. Architecture: From Prehistory to Postmodernity, 2nd ed. New York: Abrams.

Watkin, David. 2005. A History of Western Architecture, 4th ed. New York: Watson-Guptill.

Leland M. Roth

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The architecture of medieval Rus, initially influenced by Byzantine architecture, developed a distinct set of styles between the eleventh and fourteenth centuries. As Moscow established its dominance and as contacts with western European culture increased in the late fifteenth century, Russian motifs began to blend with Western ones. By the eighteenth century the design of Russia's public buildings followed Western styles. Rapid social change at the turn of the twentieth century and the establishment of Soviet power after 1917 generated new bursts of architectural experimentation.

medieval and muscovitearchitecture (c. 10001700)

Little is known of pre-Christian architecture among the eastern Slavs, but with the acceptance of Christianity by Grand Prince Vladimir of Kiev in 988, the construction of masonry churches spread throughout Rus. The largest and most complex of these early churches was Kiev's Cathedral of Divine Wisdom (10371050s), commissioned by Prince Yaroslav the Wise and built with the direction of Greek masters. The interior contained extensive mosaics as well as frescoes. Other major churches of this period include the Sophia Cathedral in Novgorod (10451052), the Cathedral of the Transfiguration of the Savior in Chernigov (10311050s), and the Cathedral of the Dormition at the Kiev Cave Monastery (10731078; destroyed in 1941).

Regardless of size, the churches adhered to a plan known as the "inscribed cross": a cuboid structure with a dome marking the intersection of the main aisles. The dome was elevated on a cylinder supported by the four main piers. The facades usually culminated in curved gables known as zakomary.

In addition to Kiev, Novgorod, and neighboring cities, the third center of architecture in pre-Mongol Rus was the Vladimir-Suzdal principality, whose limestone churches were distinguished by carved decoration and precision of design. Grand Prince Yury Dolgoruky commissioned the first of these churches, such as the Transfiguration in Pereslavl-Zalessky (11521157). His son Andrei Bogolyubsky began the great era of limestone building in this area with the Cathedral of the Dormition in Vladimir (11581160); his palace church at Bogolyubovo (11581165) of which only fragments remain; and the Church of the Intercession on the Nerl (1165). His successor, Vsevolod III, enlarged the Dormition Cathedral (11851189) and built the Cathedral of St. Dmitry in Vladimir (11941197), whose upper tier is covered with elaborate carving representing Biblical and secular motifs.

After the Mongol invasion of 12371241, church construction sharply declined; but by the middle of the fourteenth century, masonry construction revived, particularly in Novgorod, with the support of wealthy merchants and neighborhood craft guilds. The Church of St. Theodore Stratilates on the Brook (13601361) and the Church of Transfiguration on Elijah Street (1374; frescoes by Theophanes the Greek) exemplified a distinct local style with steeply pitched roofs. Moscow also enjoyed an architectural revival in the construction of limestone churches, but not until the last quarter of the fifteenth century did the major churches of the Kremlin take shape under the direction of Italian masters imported by Ivan III.

During the sixteenth century, Moscow's brick churches displayed boldly inventive designs, also with Italian influence. The culmination of this period occurs in the most famous of Russian churches, the Intercession on the Moat, popularly known as Basil the Blessed (15551561). Built on what later became known as Red Square, in celebration of Ivan IV's conquest of Kazan and Astrakhan, the structure consists of a central tent tower surrounded by eight tower churches. The latter part of the sixteenth century also witnessed the building of major brick fortresses, most notably the citadel at Smolensk (15951602) by Fyodor Kon. With the restoration of order after the Time of Troubles (16051612), the building of brick churches occurred on an unprecedented scale, especially during the reign of Alexei (16451676).

the imperial period (c. 17001917)

The assimilation of Western architectural styles, which had begun in the late seventeenth century, increased radically during the reign of Peter I (16821725). In 1703 Peter founded St. Petersburg, which became the Russian capital in 1711. Western European architects Jean Baptiste Le Blond (16791719) and Domenico Trezzini (16701734) submitted plans for its development. At this stage Petersburg's architecture owed much to the northern European baroque, particularly in Sweden and Holland. The stuccoed brick walls of the city's baroque buildings were painted, with white trim for window surrounds and other details. Bartolomeo Francesco Rastrelli (17001771) defined the high baroque style during the reigns of Anna (17301740) and Elizabeth (17411762). Among his major projects are the Stroganov Palace (17521754), the final version of the Winter Palace (17541764), and the Smolny Convent with its Resurrection Cathedral (17481764). In addition Rastrelli greatly enlarged the existing imperial palaces at Peterhof (17461752) and Tsarskoye Selo (17481756).

During the reign of Catherine the Great (17621796), imperial architecture moved from the baroque to neoclassicism. With the support of Catherine, a constellation of architects endowed the city during the second half of the eighteenth century with a grandeur inspired by classical Rome. Charles Cameron (ca.17401812), the leading proponent of neoclassicism, designed the palace at the imperial estate of Pavlovsk (17801796), a gift from Catherine to her son Grand Duke Paul. Andrei Voronikhin (17591814) created a still more obvious example of the Roman influence in his Cathedral of the Kazan Mother of God (18011811), with its sweeping colonnade reminiscent of the Basilica of Saint Peter in Rome.

The reign of Alexander I (18011825) witnessed a new campaign to create an interconnecting system of architectural ensembles and public space throughout the center of Petersburg. The rebuilding of the Admiralty (18061823) by Andreyan Zakharov (17611811) reaffirmed that structure and its spire as dominant elements in the city plan. The culmination of the imperial design fell to Carlo Rossi (17761849), who created four major ensembles, including the General Staff Building and Arch (18191829), facing Palace Square. Neoclassicism in Moscow appeared primarily in houses and other institutions built by the nobility and wealthy merchants. Of particular note are mansions and churches designed by Matvei Kazakov (17381812).

During the reign of Nicholas I (18251855), classical unity in Petersburg yielded to eclectic styles and innovations in construction engineering, both of which are evident in the final version of St. Isaac's Cathedral (18181858) by Auguste Montferrand (17861858). Of special significance was the Russo-Byzantine style, supported by Nicholas I and implemented by Constantine Thon (17941881), builder of the Great Kremlin Palace (18381849). The major work in this style was Ton's Church of Christ the Redeemer (18371883; destroyed in 1931 and rebuilt in the 1990s), created as a memorial to Russian valor in the 1812 war.

By the 1870s there arose a new national style based on decorative elements from sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Muscovy as well as on motifs from folk art and traditional wooden architecture. Major examples of the Russian style in Moscow include the Historical Museum (18741883), built on the north side of Red Square to a design by Vladimir Shervud (18331897); the Moscow City Duma (18901892) by Dmitry Chichagov (18351894); and the Upper Trading Rows (18891893) by Alexander Pomerantsev (18481918), assisted by the construction engineer Vladimir Shukhov (18531939). In Petersburg the Russian style was used by Alfred Parland (18451892) for the Church of the Resurrection of the Savior "on the Blood" (18831907).

The "new style," or style moderne, that arose in Russian architecture at the turn of the century emphasized the innovative use of materials such as glass, iron, and glazed brick in functional yet highly aesthetic designs. The style flourished in Moscow primarily, where its leading practitioner was Fyodor Shekhtel (18591926), architect for patrons among Moscow's entrepreneurial elite, such as the Ryabushinskys. In Petersburg the style moderne appeared primarily in the design of apartment buildings. In contrast to their American contemporaries, Russian architects did not design large buildings with steel frames, but became experts at the use of reinforced concrete construction.

soviet architecture (19171991)

The economic chaos engendered in Russia by World War I proved catastrophic for building activity, and the ensuing revolution and civil war brought architecture to a standstill. With the recovery of the economy in the 1920s, bold new designsoften utopian in conceptbrought Russia to the attention of modern architects throughout the world. Constructivism, the most productive modernist movement, included architects such as Moysei Ginzburg (18921946), Ilya Golosov (18831945), Grigory Barkhin (18801969), and the Vesnin brothers: Leonid (18801933), Viktor (18821950), and Alexander (18831959). Their designs, primarily in Moscow, set a standard for functional design in administrative and apartment buildings, as well as social institutions such as workers' clubs. Another modernist active during the same period, but not a part of Constructivism, was Konstantin Stepanovich Melnikov (18901974), known for his bold designs for exposition pavilions and workers' clubs.

During the 1930s more conservative trends asserted themselves, as designs inspired by classical, Renaissance, and historical models received the party's approval. After World War II architectural design became still more firmly locked in traditional, often highly ornate eclectic styles, epitomized by the postwar skyscrapers in Moscow and other Soviet cities. After 1953 pressing social needs, particularly in housing, led to a return to functionalism, heavily dependent on standardized designs and prefabricated components. With the demise of the communist system in Russia, the revival of private practice in architecture seems likely to change the face of the profession, even as new problems arise in zoning and resource allocation.

wooden architecture

Throughout Russian history wood has been used for almost every type of construction, from churches and fortress walls to peasant dwellings and grand country villas. Fire and rot have destroyed most wooden structures from the distant past, and there is no extensive evidence that wooden structures appeared before the late sixteenth century. Yet the basic forms of wooden architecture are presumably rooted in age-old traditions. Remarkable for their construction logic, wooden churches also display elaborate configurations. One example is the Church of the Transfiguration at Kizhi (1714), whose pyramid of recessed levels supports twenty-two cupolas. Although such structures achieved great height, the church interior was usually limited by a much lower ceiling. Log houses also ranged from simple dwellings to large three-story structures peculiar to the far north, with space for the family as well as shelter for livestock during the winter. Wooden housing is still used extensively, not only in the Russian countryside, but also in provincial cities (particularly in Siberia and the Far East), where the houses often have plank siding and carved decorative elements.

See also: kievan rus; moscow; novgorod the great; st. petersburg


Brumfield, William Craft. (1991). The Origins of Modernism in Russian Architecture. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Brumfield, William Craft. (1993). A History of Russian Architecture. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Cracraft, James. (1988). The Petrine Revolution in Russian Architecture. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Hamilton, George Heard. (1983). The Art and Architecture of Russia. New York: Penguin Books.

Khan-Magomedov, Selim O. (1987). Pioneers of Soviet Architecture. New York: Rizzoli.

William Craft Brumfield

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architecture. British architecture has a strongly national character, often nurturing indigenous traditions while at the same time developing distinctive, and occasionally imitative, versions of European or international styles. Scottish architecture tended to develop independently (to some extent even after the union of the crowns in 1603), until the Act of Union of 1707. Here castles, towers, and fortified manor houses, often with turrets and ‘crow-stepped’ gables, predominated during the Middle Ages; the 16th and 17th cents. saw the beginnings of the Renaissance, with a distinct French influence.

In England, after the Norman Conquest, Saxon architecture, often of wooden construction, was replaced by ‘Norman’; this was, in effect, a version of the European Romanesque style, with fine ashlar masonry, heavy columns, and round arches. The Normans built castles and cathedrals which were not only centres of power in their own right, but symbolized the cultural and political superiority of the new regime.

The Gothic style flourished from c.1200 to the early 16th cent., with many uniquely British developments such as the late ‘Perpendicular’ phase. Further potential development along Gothic lines was curtailed by Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries in 1536. Henry's break with Rome over his divorce from Catherine of Aragon inhibited possible Italian Renaissance influence, then permeating Europe, as a result of which Tudor architecture often exhibits a curious mixture of Gothic, and half-digested Renaissance forms borrowed from German or Flemish pattern books. However, the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods saw the development of the first great aristocratic country houses (the so-called ‘prodigy houses’ such as Longleat, Wiltshire (from 1553), Burghley, near Stamford (1575–85), Wollaton, Nottinghamshire (1580–8), and Hatfield, Hertfordshire (from 1611) ). The era also witnessed the emergence of the first designers to whom the word ‘architect’ was applied: John Shute (fl. 1550–70) was the first native architect to go to Italy and published in 1563 The First and Chief Groundes of Architecture, while Robert Smythson (c.1536–1614) had a substantial hand in the design of both Longleat and Wollaton.

Meanwhile, a more European culture was developing around the Stuart court; Rubens and Van Dyck were given patronage as was Inigo Jones (1573–1652), who made at least two lengthy visits to Italy. Jones's surviving works, much inspired by Andrea Palladio (1508–80), include the Queen's House, Greenwich (1616–35), and the Banqueting House, Whitehall (1619–22). Jones brought Britain once again into the mainstream of European architecture but was essentially a court architect and the Civil War prevented any widespread dissemination of his ideas. The Restoration saw the reintroduction of classicism, but in a different form. The architects of the ‘English baroque’ (c.1660–c.1720) turned for inspiration to the Italian baroque and to contemporary French architecture, although adapting this to English, and in ecclesiastical terms, specifically Protestant, taste. They include: Sir Christopher Wren (1632–1723)—many churches in the city of London following the Great Fire of 1666 and, above all, St Paul's cathedral (begun 1666); Nicholas Hawksmoor (1661–1736)—the churches of St Mary Woolnoth (1716–27) and St George, Bloomsbury (1720–30), both in London, and Easton Neston House, Northamptonshire (completed 1702); and Sir John Vanbrugh (1664–1726)—Castle Howard, Yorkshire (1699–1726), Blenheim, Oxfordshire (1704–20), and Seaton Delaval, Northumberland (c.1718–29).

Following the Act of Union and the establishment of the Hanoverian dynasty, a desire to create a specifically British, rather than English, national identity saw the rise of the Palladian style (c.1720–c.1760). Numerous country houses (invariably surrounded by landscaped parks) and villas were built in this style: harmonious, symmetrical, and perfectly proportioned, so much so that practical considerations were often sacrificed for the correct adherence to classical rules.

The country house during the first half of the 18th cent. became virtually an emblem of cultural and political authority (e.g. Holkham Hall, Norfolk, mainly by William Kent, from 1734). One of the initiators of Palladianism was Richard Boyle, 3rd earl of Burlington (1694–1753), whose villa, Chiswick House, near London (c.1723–9), was inspired by the Villa Rotunda, near Vicenza, by Palladio himself. Palladian architects include Colen Campbell (1676–1729), William Kent (1685–1748), the latter closely associated with Burlington and also a painter, designer, and landscape gardener, and James Paine (1717–89). Palladian principles were also successfully adopted in the planning of cities and towns, as at Bath, and in the development of London's Georgian streets and squares.

By the third quarter of the century there was some reaction against this established taste; Robert Adam (1728–92) was able to create a fashionable style based on the introduction of neo-classical elements culled principally from the antique. Indeed, increasing interest in antiquity led to the ‘Greek Revival’ and to the further development of the Gothic Revival, the origins of which lie earlier in the century. Sir John Soane (1753–1837) developed an extremely personal neo-classical style, as in his now largely demolished works at the Bank of England from 1788, and played a part in architectural education and in furthering the status of the profession. His rival John Nash (1752–1835) was a versatile exponent of Picturesque architecture and was responsible for George IV's metropolitan ‘improvements’ in the area of what is now Regent's Park, London (1821–30).

The 19th cent. saw a continuing emphasis on stylistic revivals, particularly the Gothic Revival; Victorian architecture tends to be large in scale and highly decorative, reflecting the era's wealth and prosperity. Major Victorian architects include: Sir Charles Barry (1795–1860), A. W. N. Pugin (1812–52)—collaborators in the neo-Gothic rebuilding of the Houses of Parliament after 1835— Sir G. G. Scott (1811–78), Norman Shaw (1831–1912), and G. E. Street (1824–81). Late in the century, the Arts and Crafts movement, influenced by the ideas of William Morris (1834–96), rejected the dependence upon historical styles in design. An extremely talented exponent of Arts and Crafts ideas in his early work, and of classicism in his later, was Sir Edwin Lutyens (1869–1944).

Twentieth-cent. British architecture tended to be conservative, apart from the work of comparatively isolated figures such as the Glaswegian Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868–1928), at least until the Second World War; after this European modernism, with its simplified, functional forms, became universally accepted, partly due to the need for urban reconstruction. Major works of British modernism include the Royal Festival Hall, London (completed 1951 to the designs of Leslie Martin and Robert Matthew) and Coventry cathedral by Sir Basil Spence (completed 1961); also the New Towns of the 1950s and 1960s and many inner city housing estates (some of which are now regarded less sympathetically than at the time of their construction). A version of modernism, emphasizing the use of exposed concrete, became known as ‘brutalism’; Sir Denys Lasdun's National theatre, South Bank, London, and the nearby Hayward Gallery/Queen Elizabeth Hall complex are examples of this (both designed in the 1960s). More recently, ‘high-tech.’ architecture, which celebrates the most up-to-date use of technology, has become important, as with Sir Richard Rogers's Lloyd's of London Building and Sir Norman Foster's Stansted Airport, Essex (both completed during the 1980s).

Throughout the British Isles there was a strong tradition of vernacular architecture until at least the 19th cent., when more standardized forms of design took over as a result of improved communications, the growth of the architectural profession (the Institute, later the Royal Institute, of British Architects founded 1834), and, with this, the influence of books and magazines. This makes use of local materials and techniques and therefore differs according to the region in which it is found. It tends to be relatively plain and functional, although it may incorporate features from ‘high’ or ‘polite’ styles.

T. E. Faulkner


Colvin, H. M. , A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600–1840 (3rd edn. 1995);
Summerson, J. , Architecture in Britain 1530–1830 (9th edn. 1993);
Watkin, D. , English Architecture (1979).

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architecture, the art of building in which human requirements and construction materials are related so as to furnish practical use as well as an aesthetic solution, thus differing from the pure utility of engineering construction. As an art, architecture is essentially abstract and nonrepresentational and involves the manipulation of the relationships of spaces, volumes, planes, masses, and voids. Time is also an important factor in architecture, since a building is usually comprehended in a succession of experiences rather than all at once. In most architecture there is no one vantage point from which the whole structure can be understood. The use of light and shadow, as well as surface decoration, can greatly enhance a structure.

The analysis of building types provides an insight into past cultures and eras. Behind each of the greater styles lies not a casual trend nor a vogue, but a period of serious and urgent experimentation directed toward answering the needs of a specific way of life. Climate, methods of labor, available materials, and economy of means all impose their dictates. Each of the greater styles has been aided by the discovery of new construction methods. Once developed, a method survives tenaciously, giving way only when social changes or new building techniques have reduced it. That evolutionary process is exemplified by the history of modern architecture, which developed from the first uses of structural iron and steel in the mid-19th cent.

Until the 20th cent. there were three great developments in architectural construction—the post-and-lintel, or trabeated, system; the arch system, either the cohesive type, employing plastic materials hardening into a homogeneous mass, or the thrust type, in which the loads are received and counterbalanced at definite points; and the modern steel-skeleton system. In the 20th cent. new forms of building have been devised, with the use of reinforced concrete and the development of geodesic and stressed-skin (light material, reinforced) structures.

See also articles under countries, e.g., American architecture; styles, e.g., baroque; periods, e.g., Gothic architecture and art; individual architects, e.g., Andrea Palladio; individual stylistic and structural elements, e.g., tracery, orientation; specific building types, e.g., pagoda, apartment house.

Architecture of the Ancient World

In Egyptian architecture, to which belong some of the earliest extant structures to be called architecture (erected by the Egyptians before 3000 BC), the post-and-lintel system was employed exclusively and produced the earliest stone columnar buildings in history. The architecture of W Asia from the same era employed the same system; however, arched construction was also known and used. The Chaldaeans and Assyrians, dependent upon clay as their chief material, built vaulted roofs of damp mud bricks that adhered to form a solid shell.

After generations of experimentation with buildings of limited variety the Greeks gave to the simple post-and-lintel system the purest, most perfect expression it was to attain (see Parthenon; orders of architecture). Roman architecture, borrowing and combining the columns of Greece and the arches of Asia, produced a wide variety of monumental buildings throughout the Western world. Their momentous invention of concrete enabled the imperial builders to exploit successfully the vault construction of W Asia and to cover vast unbroken floor spaces with great vaults and domes, as in the rebuilt Pantheon (2d cent. AD; see under pantheon).

The Evolution of Styles in the Christian Era

The Romans and the early Christians also used the wooden truss for roofing the wide spans of their basilica halls. Neither Greek, Chinese, nor Japanese architecture used the vault system of construction. However, in the Asian division of the Roman Empire, vault development continued; Byzantine architects experimented with new principles and developed the pendentive, used brilliantly in the 6th cent. for the Church of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople.

The Romanesque architecture of the early Middle Ages was notable for strong, simple, massive forms and vaults executed in cut stone. In Lombard Romanesque (11th cent.) the Byzantine concentration of vault thrusts was improved by the device of ribs and of piers to support them. The idea of an organic supporting and buttressing skeleton of masonry (see buttress), here appearing in embryo, became the vitalizing aim of the medieval builders. In 13th-century Gothic architecture it emerged in perfected form, as in the Amiens and Chartres cathedrals.

The birth of Renaissance architecture (15th cent.) inaugurated a period of several hundred years in Western architecture during which the multiple and complex buildings of the modern world began to emerge, while at the same time no new and compelling structural conceptions appeared. The forms and ornaments of Roman antiquity were resuscitated again and again and were ordered into numberless new combinations, and structure served chiefly as a convenient tool for attaining these effects. The complex, highly decorated baroque style was the chief manifestation of the 17th-century architectural aesthetic. The Georgian style was among architecture's notable 18th-century expressions (see Georgian architecture). The first half of the 19th cent. was given over to the classic revival and the Gothic revival.

New World, New Architectures

The architects of the later 19th cent. found themselves in a world being reshaped by science, industry, and speed. A new eclecticism arose, such as the architecture based on the École des Beaux-Arts, and what is commonly called Victorian architecture in Britain and the United States. The needs of a new society pressed them, while steel, reinforced concrete, and electricity were among the many new technical means at their disposal.

After more than a half-century of assimilation and experimentation, modern architecture, often called the International style, produced an astonishing variety of daring and original buildings, often steel substructures sheathed in glass. The Bauhaus was a strong influence on modern architecture. As the line between architecture and engineering became a shadow, 20th-century architecture often approached engineering, and modern works of engineering—airplane hangars, for example—often aimed at and achieved an undeniable beauty. More recently, postmodern architecture (see postmodernism), which exploits and expands the technical innovations of modernism while often incorporating stylistic elements from other architectural styles or periods, has become an international movement.


See S. F. Kimball and G. H. Edgell, A History of Architecture (1946, repr. 2002); T. Hamlin, Architecture through the Ages (rev. ed. 1953); S. Kostof, A History of Architecture: Settings & Rituals (1985); M. Trachtenberg and I. Hyman, Architecture: From Pre-History to Post-Modernism (1986); H. A. Millon, Key Monuments of the History of Architecture (1964); A. E. Richardson and H. O. Corfiato, The Art of Architecture (3d ed. 1972); K. Frampton, Studies in Tectonic Culture: The Poetics of Construction in Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Architecture (1996); J. Fleming et al., The Penguin Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (5th ed. 1999); N. Pevsner, An Outline of European Architecture (1st rev. ed., intro. by M. Forsyth, 2009); C. Harris, Dictionary of Architecture and Construction (4th ed. 2006); P. Goldberger, Why Architecture Matters (2011).

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Amateurs and Imitators. Architecture in colonial America was the work of amateurs. Most buildings were built to serve practical functions rather than aesthetic ideals. The cost of building materials made it difficult to execute elaborate designs and purely decorative ornaments. In the third quarter of the eighteenth-century, more public buildings, usually churches, were built and their builders showed more interest in aesthetics. Because such projects were so infrequent, it is difficult to identify any architect who achieved a career in the colonies without devoting most of his time to other forms of work. Given the scarcity of architectural projects, it should not be surprising that colonial architecture tends to be noteworthy less for originality than for novelty. Most colonial buildings imitated particular buildings in London. St. Pauls Chapel in New York City, for example, imitated the interior of Londons St. Martin in the Fields.

Domestic Architecture. The most important change in colonial architecture was in domestic styles. As Northern merchants, Southern planters, and imperial administrators grew wealthy, they sought to display their genteel status through the consumption of imported goods and the display of cosmopolitan tastes in clothing, furniture, books, and especially their houses. If architecture in the colonies did not have the status of a professional art, it nevertheless reveals the pervasive influence of cosmopolitan tastes in the New World. British influence in colonial culture came from recent immigrants, from travel to Europe, or more commonly through books and prints imported from England. Books were particularly important for bringing British tastes, especially in homebuilding and interior decoration, to the colonies. By the end of 1750, there were eighteen different architecture books circulating in the colonies, but by 1760 there were fifty-one. These books account for not only the sometimes remarkable sophistication of particular elements of colonial mansions, but also the eclectic confusion of their overall design. George Masons Gunston Hall (17551759), for example, drew on five different books for its details of woodworking, plaster, and doorframes. Designer William Buckland used two books that had not even been published when he started building. The end result was a purely classical drawing room, Gothic Rococo arches in another room, and the first expression in American architecture of Chinese taste in the dining room. Like other impressive houses built in the late colonial era, Gunston Hall was built to showcase the latest tastes in architecture.

Harrison and Palladio. Peter Harrison, the first architect in the colonies who had more than one building to his credit, spent the majority of his life working as a customs official in New Haven. He designed the first

public synagogue (17591763) in Newport, Rhode Island, as well as Christ Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts (17601761). In these buildings and others, Harrison introduced elements of classical design that came to be known as Anglo-Palladianism. When he died in 1775, Harrison had a library of twenty-seven architecture books, the largest collection in the colonies. Andrea Palladio, an Italian architect during the Renaissance, had led the revival of Roman architecture, writing an influential book based on his intensive studies of the ancient ruins. Building Venetian palazzos and villas in the surrounding countryside, Palladio followed the classical example closely, using stately symmetrical logic and rectangular serenity. He used creative grouping and combination of columns and arches to achieve unity in his designs, which became a trademark of the Palladian influence so evident in the neoclassical architecture in Britain and America in the eighteenth century. The flowering of classical archaeology in Greece in the 1750s and 1760s provided new inspiration to architects on both sides of the Atlantic.

Monticello. Thomas Jefferson was the most talented and accomplished architect in Revolutionary America. For his home at Monticello he managed to draw myriad classical elements together in an overall innovative design. Begun in 1771 and built over the course of Jeffersons life, Monticello used a hilltop site typical of Roman country homes, but it reversed the usual Palladian scheme, in which service wings flanked a central entrance court. By extending and lowering these wings to the back of the main building, Jefferson used the slopes of the site to transform the flat roofs of the wings into terrace walks. The interior paraded a series of Romaninspired details, with each room including a frieze from an ancient temple and educated the visitor in the variations of classical orders. The Hall is in the Ionic, the Dining Room in the Doric, the Parlor is in the Corinthian, and the Dome in the Attic, Jefferson wrote. In the other rooms are introduced several different forms of these orders, all in the truest proportions according to Palladio. Jefferson tinkered with and added to the building over forty years, and in this way it was much like the government he had helped design for the new nationan ongoing experiment that self-consciously drew on the true, rational proportions of the ancient Republics but which in its eclectic and ahistorical combination of elements and values defied precedent. Monticello was a beautiful and awkward structure that was much more than the sum of its parts, a testament to the ongong idealism by which Jefferson and others of the founding generation sought to give form to timeless laws of nature, to adapt their prodigious learning and study to the practical problems of living.


Robert Hughes, American Visions: The Epic History of Art in America (New York: Knopf, 1997);

G. E. Kidder-Smith, Source Book of American Architecture: 500 Notable Buildings from the 10th Century to the Present (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1996);

Fiske Kimball, Domestic Architecture in Colonial America and the Early Republic (New York: Scribners, 1922);

Marcus Whiffen and Frederick Keeper, American Architecture 16071976 (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1981).


The first known American sculptor was a woman, Patience Lovell Wright. Wright molded busts and figures in wax, specializing in the sort of realistic wax tableaux that were made famous by Madame Tussaud in the nineteenth century. Wright turned to sculpture after she was left a widow with five children in 1769. Wrights life-size portraits of hands and faces were so detailed and accurate that when they were attached to clothed figures, she seemed to have captured people in suspended animation. After touring the colonies Wright moved to London, where she became known not only for her artistic skill but also for her charismatic personality, and in polite society she became notorious for her slightly wild manner of speaking and looking upon her subjects. A major personality during the Revolutionary War, Wright was also a spy who passed on any information that she gleaned from her influential and wealthy circle of patrons. She often hid messages in wax heads of Lord North and various British celebrities that she sent to her sister Rachel in Philadelphia, who would then pass them on to Washington.

Source: Wayne Craven, Sculpture in America (New York: Crowell, 1968).

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Architecture, which is generally defined as the art and science of designing and constructing edifices of any kind for human use, is one of the main design activities humankind has developed to modify its environment. Architecture is often cited among the oldest existing professions on Earth. Indeed, the way architects have approached their design problems, realized their designs through construction, and practiced their profession had not changed significantly over many centuries until the emergence of computers.

Computers typically allow architects to create, store, and retrieve data describing design; to generate design solutions automatically; to test prospective solutions for their applicability; and to collaborate and communicate with clients, constructors, engineers, and other designers during design and construction processes. The early uses of computers in architecture and design did not come directly from the discipline itself, however.

The introduction of computer graphics commenced in the late 1940s through the U.S. Navy's Whirlpool project, a general-purpose flight simulator. However, incorporating computer graphics and usage with design activities took speed only after 1963 when American engineer Ivan E. Sutherland developed the Sketchpad system for his Ph.D. thesis at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Sketchpad allowed a mechanical engineer to generate designs by sitting at an interactive graphics terminal. The tool manipulated drawings displayed on the screen by use of a keyboard and a light pena selecting tool with a light sensing device, such as a photocell, which generates an electrical pulse to identify the portion of the display being pointed to. Sketchpad cleaned up rough drawings by straightening and connecting lines and constructing geometric patterns; therefore, it was conceived as the first computational drawing assistant.

Although Sketchpad's major application domain was mechanical design, it opened the way to the development of computer-aided design (CAD) tools for architecture and other design disciplines. Most of the early CAD systems were applications for engineering design. Architecture lagged considerably behind, primarily due to economic reasons. As computers developed and the costs became more affordable for architectural firms and university-based research groups, utilization of the technology became an increasingly widespread reality for architects.

Software for Architects

The first milestone applications specifically developed for architectural usage were designed to help with planning and research of a project, using basic algorithms to draw shapes, to calculate engineering formulas involved in building design both correctly and automatically, and to help manage conflicting constraints. These computer tools mostly focused on the following areas of architectural design:

  • Structural and mechanical calculations, such as those needed to determine what capacity of heating and ventilating equipment should be used;
  • Cost estimation to determine the cost impact of design, materials, and construction decisions before the building is constructed;
  • Documentation of building specifications (specs) that outline specifically which materials should be used, and how, and in what order for each building component;
  • Automatic layout generation to figure out how spaces, equipment, or furniture should be allocated in a given area.

The widespread availability of personal computers starting in the early 1980s marks the beginning of the boom in commercial CAD software for architects. The major impact of these developments has been in the daily routines of how architects work in the office. Computerized drawing, three-dimensional modeling, and graphics editing applications have replaced paper, pen, and rulers, the traditional tool set of an architect. Architectural software offers speed, accuracy, ease of revision-making, and the ability to create rapid prototypes . Moreover, some allow multiple users to work simultaneously on the same file, facilitating teamwork.

Computer-aided architectural design is a technology intensive field that is strongly dependent on processor capabilities, display technologies, and software and algorithm capabilities of the tools developed. Hardware technology has been capable of answering these demands for architects in their office environment with the introduction of devices such as high resolution and color printers, scanners, plotters, and advanced processors.

On the construction site, tools increasing accuracy also help advance the quality of building design. For example, hand-held computers make it possible for users to access a central building database, whether they are architects on the building site or in the office. Increased and accurate communication via networked computers means that efficient revision management strategies can be employed to deal with worksite issues. Similarly, laser-scanning technology is used to collect data from existing buildings, which used to be done manually. Very high-resolution three-dimensional models are created using these data; the resulting drawings are used for renovation projects.

Specialized Tools

Architectural design is a special kind of problem-solving process with unique research and analysis needs. Computer-based research can help architects by providing automated decision-making tools. Generative systems, case-based design systems, and performance analysis tools are among the most popular application areas that aim to enhance an architect's design thinking pattern with the use of computer tools. A generative system explores alternative ways of solving the design problem by assembling various design elements in different combinations. Case-based design tools retrieve previously stored design information when a new problem is encountered. They function like a digital library where a previous design becomes the base for solving a new problem. Performance analysis tools complement these design tools by computationally supporting the evaluation of various design solutions according to how they behave under certain conditions such as daylight, noise, weight loads, and more.

Architectural software designers are now focused on developing computational tools and methods that are more streamlined and easier for architects to use. New sketching tools and applications that seamlessly handle the collection, processing, and dissemination of information take the lead in research and development. The pace of change in the computer industry often means that software applications are outdated before disciplines with unique problems such as architectural design can modify the programs to suit their needs. For that reason, there is always a considerable need for new software and devices to serve the needs of the architectural profession.

see also CAD/CAM, CA Engineering; Graphic Devices.

Ipek Özkaya


Akin, Omer. Psychology of Architectural Design. London: Pion Ltd., 1986.

Carrara, Gianfranco, and Yehuda Kalay, eds. Knowledge Based Computer-Aided Architectural Design. New York: Elsevier, 1994.

Mitchell, William J., and Malcolm McCullough. Digital Design Media, 2nd ed. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1995.

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20. Architecture

See also 60. BUILDINGS ; 212. HOUSES

a citadel or elevated fortification of a settlement.
the science of architecture. See also 23. ART ; 312. PHILOSOPHY . architectonic, architectonical, adj.
a style of architecture distinguished by excessive ornamentation or floridity. Asiatical, adj.
a highly decorated form of art or ornamentation. baroque, adj.
an aggressive 20th-century style, usually in rough-textured and unfinished materials, that frankly exhibits both structural and mechanical systems.
a 20th-century style dwelling, usually of one story, imitative of the true bungalow form characterized by low, sweeping roof gables and a large verandah in the front.
1. the employment of compositional formulas and decorative techniques based upon the architecture of ancient Greece or Rome, but often including new ideas.
2. the employment of formulas and decorative techniques with an emphasis upon the subordination of utility in order to stress perfection of form.
1. the use of columns in architectural design.
2. the pattern of columns used.
a form of ornamentation composed of cusps or curves meeting in pairs at a tangent to the area being decorated. cuspidate, cuspidal, adj.
an international movement, most in vogue from 1820 until about 1930, characterized by almost total freedom of choice among historical styles of both overall composition and decoration in the design of public buildings, the freedom tempered by the intended use or location of the building.
Egyptian Revivalism
a style imitative of antique Egyptian temple architecture, most influential after Napoleons campaign in Egypt and lasting in the U.S. into the early 20th century.
the slight convexity or outward curve given to a tower or other tall, narrow structure.
harmonious proportions in a building.
an American style based upon the classical theories and decorations of the English architect Robert Adams and his contemporaries, with lightness and delicacy as its outstanding qualities; practiced from 1775 until overwhelmed by Greek Revivalism, its most typical external features are doorways with fanlights and sidelights (often with attenuated pilasters) and the play of other curved elements against a basically boxlike structure. Also called Early Federal Style, Early Republican.
a philosophy of architectural design rather than a separate style, expressed in Louis Sullivans form follows function and Le Corbu-siers concept of a house as a machine for living in, under the premise that buildings ought to express construction, materials, and accommodation of purpose, usually with the assumption that the result would be aesthetically significant. Also called structuralism . functionalist, n., adj.
1. in England, the modes of architecture, furniture, decoration, and silver produced from about 1714 to 1830; architecturally, it embraced several styles: Palladian, Early Gothic Revival, Chinese, and various other classical and romantic manners.
2. in America, the architectural style of the English colonies during the 18th century, based first upon the ideas of Christopher Wren and James Gibbs and later upon the Palladian style. It is typically characterized by construction in red brick with white or colored trim and double-hung windows, central halls, elaborately turned stair balusters, paneled and warmly colored walls, fine woodwork, and white plastered ceilings.
Gothicism, Gothic
the general term employed to denote the several phases of European architecture in the period 1100-1530 that employ the pointed arch, or their imitations.
Gothic Revivalism
a universal style current since its inception in Britain in the late 18th century, passing from a period of superficial decoration to one in which true Gothic massing yielded such masterpieces as the British Houses of Parliament and Pittsburghs Cathedral of Learning.
Greek Revivalism
an austere American style of the period 1798-1850, embracing in either form or decoration such Greek features as bilateral symmetry, low-pitched roofs, frontal porticos with pediments, and horizontal doorheads; often executed in wood and painted white, the structures usually featured modifications of the classical orders and occasional imaginative use of interior vaulting.
the space between columns; the pattern of spacing between columns.
Internationalism, International Style
a style, current since the 1920s, that makes use of modern constructional advances to create buildings reflecting characteristic industrial forms and emphasizing both volume and horizontality through ribbon windows, smooth and undecorated wall surfaces, and flat roofs, with contrasts introduced by curved or cylindrical forms and cantilevered projecting features.
a current style emphasizing dynamism achieved by employment of sweeping curves, acute angles, and pointed arches.
New Formalism
a current American manner, characterized by buildings that are freestanding blocks with symmetrical elevation, level rooflines (often with heavy, projecting roof slabs), many modeled columnar supports, and frequent use of the arch as a ruling motif to produce a kind of classicism without classical forms.
the classical style evolved by the 16th-century architect Andrea Palladio, featuring harmonic proportion based upon mathematics, extensive use of porticos, a neat contrast between openness and solidity, and features of Roman decoration; partially influential today in the so-called Palladian motif, a window or other opening consisting of a central high arch flanked by lower rectangular areas, the whole supported by four columns (a feature actually invented before Palladios time and used only sparingly by him).
Renaissance Revivalism
a style originating in England c.1830 and influential in the U.S. from 1850 through 1930, derived from the Renaissance palace architecture of Rome, Florence, and Venice; in the U.S., the structures were executed in masonry, wood, or cast iron.
a general term for the theory and techniques of construction. tectonist, n. tectonic, adj.

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The architecture of the Renaissance drew on forms and techniques recovered from ancient Greece and Rome. This classical architecture came to light with the rediscovery of the Roman architect Vitruvius, whose book On Architecture revealed building techniques that had been lost in the Middle Ages. Vitruvius's work was translated into many languages and appeared in several new editions; On Architecture inspired new treatises by Renaissance writers striving to explain and inspire the use of classical proportions and harmony. These authors, including Leon Battista Alberti and Andrea Palladio, aspired to teach universal ideals, grounded in mathematics, classical philosophy, science, geometry and the art of perspective. They were translated and spread quickly throughout Europe as the taste for the classical ideal spread. By the time of the High Renaissance, appearance in the ancient style (all'antica in Italian) gave a church, private home, or palace the stamp of an aristocratic and intellectual elitism. Giorgio Vasari, in The Lives of the Most Excellent Italian Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, had the honor of coining the term rinascita, or re-birth, a designation for the entire age of returning to classical ideals.

Italian architects were the first to abandon the medieval Gothic manner of designing sacred and secular buildings. The Italians saw the Gothic style as a strange and foreign importation, brought by northern barbarians and imposed on the heirs of the ancient Romans. Throwing off the old style was a point of pride; the education of many artists and architects included a pilgrimage to Rome to investigate and measure the remains of the ancient city. The work of Filippo Brunelleschi in Florence was an important harbinger of the new architecture of the Renaissance. Brunelleschi's architectural masterpieces included the Santo Spirito and San Lorenzo in Florence, and the dome of the city's cathedral. In the next generation, Donato Bramante, Giovanni Amadeo, Leon Battista Alberti, Andrea Palladio, Antonio da Sangallo, Raphael, and Michelangelo Buonarroti carried the classical ideal throughout Italy.

Their new style emphasized symmetry, the balance of different elements, and harmonious proportions. Plain surfaces and clear lines swept away the exuberant clutter of Gothic spires and sculpture. The classical arch and dome came into style; columns in the three ancient ordersDoric, Ionic, and Corinthiangave the appearance of a classical temple, and revealed the basic geometry of a building. The facade and the interior of the building worked together, rather than being entirely separate elements as in the Middle Ages.

Church architecture was more consistent across the continent, with two major plans dominatingthe basilica in the shape of a cross, with elongated nave and short transept, and the Greek cross. The Greek cross was admired for its balance and perfect proportions of the square and circle, but after the Catholic Reformation the church, in its effort to echo the virtues of the early Christians, returned to the traditional basilica plan.

Private architecture also assumed classical models. Roman homes, with severe street fronts, individual rooms coming off long corridors, and colonnaded interior courtyards, were imitated in majestic Renaissance palaces, with the Farnese Palace of Antonio da Sanagallo in Rome one of the best-known examples. Facades were regular and symmetrical, surmounted by a cornice, and centered on immense doorways that advertised the owner's wealth and prestige. The rooms were decorated with fresco paintings, another imitation of Roman style. Country homes adopted Roman features, such as grottoes, elaborate gardens, fountains, pools, and open-air courtyards.

Accompanying new ideas in architecture was the new science and art of town planning, which began to change Europe's urban landscape. Comprehensive plans cleared away the organic web of medieval streets and replaced it with logical grid plans (borrowed from Roman colonies), large and open public squares, and wide boulevards that served as an axis of traffic and commerce. Renaissance cities were also decorated with classical features such as columns, arches, and monumental statuary. The largest example of urban renewal was the city of Rome itself, where the dark and chaotic medieval neighborhoods were cleared away and the city knit together with wide avenues, with a practical purpose of accommodating the many religious pilgrims making their way to Saint Peter's Basilica.

Italian architecture and its classicism spread throughout the rest of Europe, where builders blended the new style with techniques and traditions of their own countries. Toward the end of the sixteenth century, classicism became an international idiom, used in the monumental buildings such as the Louvre palace in Paris, and the Escorial near Madrid.

The architecture of the sixteenth century used classical buildings as a mere starting point for new innovations. The leading figure of the new Mannerist style was Michelangelo Buonarroti, who designed the Campidoglio in Rome, a beautifully proportioned public square atop the Capitoline Hill, the heart of the ancient city. Churches and aristocratic palaces were built, structures that were unknown to the ancient Romans. In France, the Renaissance style was expressed in graceful chateaus, such as Chambord and Azay-le-Rideau, that replaced the fortresslike castles of the medieval age. In England, Inigo Jones applied classical design to royal palaces and private homes in the early seventeenth century.

See Also: Alberti, Leon Battista; Bramante, Donato; Brunelleschi, Filippo; Michelangelo Buonarroti; Palladio, Andrea; Vitruvius

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Greek Revival. The growth of the young republic required the construction of various new buildings to house its government. Architects patterned most of the new nations public buildings after classical models. The neoclassical lines of Greek Revival buildings suggested a simplicity that differed sharply from the luxury and decay Americans associated with British aristocracy. This republican style was intended to confer a sense of both democracy and community.

Public Buildings. Architect and engineer Benjamin Latrobes work on the Bank of Pennsylvania (17981800), considered to be the first Greek Revival Structure in the United States, brought him to the attention of Thomas Jefferson. Impressed by Latrobes ability to use

and adapt Greek Revival designs to American themes, Jefferson named him surveyor of the public buildings of the United States in 1803. Latrobe oversaw the restoration of the capital after it was partially destroyed by fire in 1814. As part of this project Latrobe designed columns for the Senate wing that featured ears of corn, tobacco, and other native plants; by blending neoclassical form with native decoration, Latrobe showed that it was possible for American architecture to draw on older models while adapting them to the American environment. Two of Latrobes students, Robert Mills and William Strickland, dominated the public architectural scene through the 1840s. Mills designed the Washington Monument at Baltimore (18141829), a giant unfluted Doric column. His other important projects included the United States Treasury and the Patent Office in 1836 and the Washington Post Office in 1839. Strickland designed the Second Bank of the United States (1824) and several of its branch banks as well as the Philadelphia Merchants Exchange (18321834) and the Tennessee State capital (18441849).

Republican Homes. After the American Revolution many prominent men wanted to build houses that would reflect their commitment to the republican principles of the new nation. Architects such as Latrobe and Strickland, perhaps best known for public projects, designed homes as well. As they did in their public buildings, these architects tended to use simple, neoclassical designs as a means of illustrating the homeowners commitment to republican virtue. By using designs suggested by and related to the ancient republics of Greece and Rome, these architects and the men who hired them hoped to demonstrate their faith in the American republic and to inspire viewers to virtuous thought and action.

Pattern Books. During the early decades of the nineteenth century pattern books for house building became popular. Between 1797 and 1860, 188 architectural handbooks for builders were published in the United States. Asher Benjamins American Builders Companion (1806) went through multiple editions; in the books sixth edition, published in 1827, Benjamin incorporated illustrations of Greek Revival detailing, fashionable for houses by that time. Another well-known pattern-book author, Minard Lafever, published several different builders guides during the 1820s and 1830s, with each one carrying a larger variety of Greek Revival detailing. Lafevers third book. The Beauties of Modern Architecture (1835), contained not only house plans and diagrams but also lithographic prints showing what the finished house would look like.

Downing. In 1841 landscape gardener Andraw Jackson Downing published Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening, Adapted to North America. In contrast to the pattern-book authors who stressed Greek Revival architectural style, Downing favored a nature oriented landscape and architectural design. Influenced by English domestic and landscape designers, Downing believed that civilized taste naturally progressed from the more formal and ordered garden and house sites popular in the eighteenth century to sites that seemed to blend with nature rather than stand apart from it. A modern American garden, suggested Downing, should appeal to the sense of the beautiful, picturesque, or sublime rather than to a sense of order and geometric perfection. In other words a garden was to appeal to a viewers emotions as well as reason. In his 1842 book Cottage Residences Downing applied these principles of landscape gardening to country houses. Unlike the pattern books of Benjamin. Lafever, and others, Cottage Residences was aimed at potential homeowners rather than at builders. Downing argued that architecture was not simply a utilitarian art aimed at the building of a serviceable home but was also a fine art. A home should be both beautiful and practical. Cottage Residences and Downings last book, The Architecture of Country Houses (1850), contained numerous illustrations of homes in a variety of styles, all of which favored either a beautiful and harmonious look or a more rugged, picturesque appearance. Downing was also careful to include a range of houses, some inexpensive and others larger and more elaborate. Downing believed that a beautiful and morally uplifting home should be within the economic reach of every American family.


Talcott Hamlin, Benjamin Henry Latrobe (New York: Oxford University Press, 1955);

David Schuyler, Apostle of Taste: Andraw Jackson Downing, 18151852 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996);

Robert K. Sutton, Americans Interpret the Parthenon: The Progression of Greek Revival Architecture from the East Coast to Oregon, 18001860 (Niwot: University Press of Colorado, 1992).

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A basic human impulse is to look for patterns in our surroundings. An example is the impulse to find patterns in time. People organize their daily activities around natural rhythms, such as the rising and setting of the Sun. Similarly, people are also driven to find patterns in space. One of the tools used to do this is mathematics. Mathematics attempts to describe relationships and patterns that emerge within ordered, logical structures. Whereas many patterns occur in the natural world, many occur in objects that humans fabricate, including homes, office buildings, concert halls, and places of worship. Behind these buildings are the architects who translate these mathematical concepts into concrete form. Today, humans continue to marvel at the mathematical constructions of ancient architectsthe pyramids, ziggurats , temples, stadiums, and even such technological feats as ancient irrigation projects.

Historical Architects

Architecture and mathematics have historically been disciplines that were indistinguishable. Architects were mathematicians, and mathematicians were often architects. In the sixth century, Byzantine emperor Justinian wanted the Hagia Sophia to be unlike any other building built before, so he assigned the job to two professors of mathematics named Isidoros and Anthemios. In the Islamic world, architects created a wealth of complex patterns, particularly in their elaborate tiling patterns.

It has been said that people used little mathematics during the medieval period, but the magnificent cathedrals of the Middle Ages sharply contradict that belief. Medieval stonemasons had a firm command of geometry, and they constructed their monuments according to mathematical principles. They did not write their mathematics down in books; instead, they wrote it down in the structures and spaces they created. These and other traditional architects developed architecture into a discipline that is, at the core, mathematical.

Architecture and Mathematical Principles

What are some of the mathematical principles that architects use? One is the use of scale. In designing a building, an architect starts with a schematic that represents the building, much as a map represents geography. When making the drawing, the architect uses a tool called an "architect's scale" calibrated in multiples of and of an inch. Using a scale enables the

architect to draw a diagram of a room or building in a way that represents its actual proportions. For example, if the architect is trying to draw a section of wall that measures 4 feet 3 inches, the markings on an architect's scale enables them to draw a line that consistently represents that distance on a smaller scale. The scale also ensures that a line representing a section of wall that will measure, as an example, 8 feet 6 inches is exactly twice as long as the 4-foot 3-inch line. Being able to measure scale enables an architect to reproduce complementary proportions throughout a structure.

Closely related to scale is what architects and geometers refer to as the Golden Mean, or sometimes the Divine Proportion. The Golden Mean is expressed as the number 1.618 and is arrived at by solving a quadratic equation . This equation defines in numbers the most aesthetically pleasing relationship of a rectangle. The use of the Golden Mean in designing buildings and rooms to maintain a pleasing sense of proportionto avoid the appearance of "squatness," for examplehas been a constant throughout the history of architecture.

Sometimes architects rely on mathematics for practical rather than aesthetic purposes. For example, in designing an overhang for a building, architects can calculate sun altitudes and azimuths . This enables them to determine the best angle and size of the overhang to provide maximum shade in the summer and solar heat in the winter. To provide adequate natural lighting in a room, they generally calculate the area of windows such that it is at least 8 percent of the room's floor area. Architects will use human dimensions to determine, for example, the best height for a counter or how much space is needed to walk and work between a kitchen counter and an island in the middle of the kitchen.

Architects also use geometry to determine the slope, or pitch, of a roof. This slope is usually expressed as a rise-over-run fraction; for example, a pitch means that for each horizontal foot, the roof line rises 6 inches; an roof would have a steeper pitch, a roof a gentler pitch. These measurements are critical if, for example, a dormer window is going to protrude from the roof. The architect has to ensure that the dormer is set back far enough from the frontbut not too farfor the window and its surrounding structure to fit and be at the correct height. For architects, such precision is very important.

see also Architect; Golden Section; Scale Drawings and Models.

Michael J. O'Neal


Alexander, Christopher. The Timeless Way of Building. New York: Oxford University Press, 1979.

Bovill, Carl. Fractal Geometry in Architecture and Design. Boston: Birkhäuser, 1996.

Salingaros, Nikos A. "Architecture, Patterns, and Mathematics." Nexus Network Journal 1 (April 1999).

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architecture. Ruskin, in his Seven Lamps (1849), stated that architecture was the ‘art which so disposes and adorns the edifices raised by man … that the sight of them’ contributes ‘to his mental health, power, and pleasure’, which proposes aesthetic, beneficial, and spiritual aspects rather than a utilitarian or Functionalist agenda. He also opined, in the same book, that ‘architecture’ should be confined to ‘that art which, … admitting … the necessities and common uses’ of a building ‘impresses on its form certain characters venerable or beautiful, but otherwise unnecessary’. He went on to note that ‘no one would call the laws architectural which determine the height of a breastwork or the position of a bastion. But if to the stone facing of that bastion be added an unnecessary feature, as a cable moulding, that is Architecture. It would be similarly unreasonable to call battlements or machicolations architectural features, so long as they consist only of an advanced gallery supported on projecting masses, with open intervals beneath for offence. But if these projecting masses be carved beneath into rounded courses, which are useless, and if the headings of the intervals be arched and tre-foiled, which is useless, that is Architecture.’ Such a simplistic and prolix definition is revealing of Ruskin's attitudes, which, to a large extent, became the general view of the subject for the next eighty years or so.

Architecture is (or historically was) concerned with the creation of order out of chaos, a respect for organization, the manipulation of geometry, and the creation of a work in which aesthetics plays a far greater role than anything likely to be found in a humdrum building. Wotton's statement that ‘well building hath three conditions: Commodity, Firmness, and Delight’ seems to have originated from Vitruvius, who insisted that architecture derives from order, arrangement, eurythmy (or harmony of proportion), symmetry, propriety, and economy. Wren spoke of ‘Beauty, Firmness, and Convenience’ in architecture. These definitions suggest that there is much in the built fabric that falls into the category of non-architecture. Architecture might be described as the art and science of designing a building having qualities of beauty, geometry, emotional and spiritual power, intellectual content and complexity, soundness of construction, convenient planning, many virtues of different kinds, durable and pleasing materials, agreeable colouring and decorations, serenity and dynamism, good proportions and acceptable scale, and many mnemonic associations drawing on a great range of precedents. Doubtless there are many more aspects that some would consider essential other than those suggested above. Philip Johnson, in the New York Times (1964), went so far as to make the dubious claim that ‘architecture is the art of how to waste space’. In C21 some architecture has been increasingly concerned with advertising, and the devaluing of symbols has led critics to question the status of many buildings as architecture.


Gwilt (1903);
Nicholson (1835);
W. Papworth (1852);
Ruskin Seven Lamps, ch. 1 1849)

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architecture Art and science of designing permanent buildings for human use. Architecture can express aesthetic ideas from the most restrained utilitarianism to extravagantly ornate decoration. The difference between ‘architecture’ and ‘building’ is a subject that has exercised theorists since the discipline was invented. In reality, architecture is usually a compromise between aesthetic creation and the demands of practicality. There are many different areas of architecture and, apart from the stylistic and historical periods (see individual articles), it comes under such broad categories as civic, commercial, religious, recreational, and domestic. In the 20th century, traditional barriers between separate artistic disciplines have gradually dissolved, so that it is possible to see architecture as a type of sculpture. Key figures in the development of western architectural theory include Vitruvius, who believed that architecture was merely a form of applied mathematics, and Alberti whose pioneering treatise De re Aedificatoria (1485) introduced the idea that architecture was an art form in its own right. After the 18th century, European architects tended to regard ‘building’ as a cheap substitute for their profession and something that engineers carried out. Architects began to swing back in the other direction with the arrival of the Arts and Crafts Movement, and the introduction of efficient, mass-produced materials. The 20th-century modernists, such as Walter Gropius, believed that the form of a building should follow its function. The relationship between the two extremes is continually changing.

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architecture The specification of a (digital) computer system at a somewhat general level, including description from the programming (user) viewpoint of the instruction set and user interface, memory organization and addressing, I/O operation and control, etc. The implementation of an architecture in members of a given computer family may be quite different, yet all the members should be capable of running the same program. Implementation differences may occur in actual hardware components or in subsystem implementation (e.g. microprogramming as opposed to wired control), generally in both. Different implementations may have substantially different performances and costs. An implementation feature – such as a cache memory – that is transparent to the user does not affect the architecture. Common architecture provides compatibility from the user's viewpoint.

In the context of engineering and hardware design, the term architecture is used to describe the nature, configuration, and interconnection of the major logic organs of a computer (and is thus closer to the general meaning of the word). These devices would normally include the memory and its components, the control unit and the hardware components designed to implement the control strategy, the structure, range, and capability of the ALU, and the interconnection of the input/output – such as whether star or bus connected – and the nature and capabilities of any channel controllers. A detailed block diagram or schematic of the actual (as distinct from the virtual) machine would normally form part of, or even be central to, such a description.

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"architecture." A Dictionary of Computing. . 23 Mar. 2017 <>.

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ar·chi·tec·ture / ˈärkiˌtekchər/ • n. 1. the art or practice of designing and constructing buildings. ∎  the style in which a building is designed or constructed, esp. with regard to a specific period, place, or culture: Victorian architecture. 2. the complex or carefully designed structure of something: the chemical architecture of the human brain. ∎  the conceptual structure and logical organization of a computer or computer-based system: a client/server architecture. DERIVATIVES: ar·chi·tec·tur·al / ˌärkiˈtekchərəl/ adj. ar·chi·tec·tur·al·ly / ˌärkiˈtekchərəlē/ adv.

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"architecture." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . 23 Mar. 2017 <>.

"architecture." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . (March 23, 2017).

"architecture." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved March 23, 2017 from



This entry includes three subentries:


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"Architecture." New Dictionary of the History of Ideas. . 23 Mar. 2017 <>.

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Architecture: see ART.

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"Architecture." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . 23 Mar. 2017 <>.

"Architecture." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . (March 23, 2017).

"Architecture." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Retrieved March 23, 2017 from


architecturecatcher, dacha, focaccia, patcher, scratcher, snatcher, stature, thatcher •facture, fracture, manufacture •capture, enrapture, rapture •flycatcher • oystercatcher •archer, departure, kwacha, marcher, starcher, viscacha •pasture •etcher, fetcher, fletcher, lecher, sketcher, stretcher •conjecture, lecture •sepulture •denture, misadventure, peradventure •divesture, gesture, vesture •texture • architecture • nature •magistrature •bleacher, creature, feature, headteacher, Katowice, Nietzsche, preacher, screecher, teacher •schoolteacher •ditcher, hitcher, pitcher, stitcher, twitcher •Chibcha •picture, stricture •filcher • simcha •cincture, tincture •scripture •admixture, commixture, fixture, intermixture, mixture •expenditure • forfeiture •discomfiture • garniture •primogeniture, progeniture •miniature • furniture • temperature •portraiture • literature •divestiture, vestiture

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"architecture." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . 23 Mar. 2017 <>.

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