The story of architecture is the story of human civilization over the last 6,000 years. We have shaped and transformed our built environment to suit the evolving needs of our society and continue to imagine a better, more sustainable future for generations to come. This is a partial compilation of various architecture movements and ideas that define the world as we know it.
Rome was an empire of cities. The greatest city in the world needed to build the grandest and most magnificent representations of its glory and civilization. The architecture of Rome continued the classical traditions of ancient Greece but introduced new materials and technologies such as concrete, arches, vaults, and domes. The Roman Empire stood as the pinnacle of civilization for much of the millennium. Its architecture produced secular public buildings and infrastructure on a scale that would not be rivaled until the 20th century. Roman aqueducts and public baths, colosseums and basilicas would project the power and grandeur of Rome to all corners of the Mediterranean world. This use of architecture as a political and symbolic expression of authority continues until today in government buildings, financial institutions, and other places of power. Roman architecture is the foundation upon which architecture exists as both an art and a prerequisite mark of civilization and society.
Byzantine Architecture was the continuous development of architecture after the fall of the Western Roman Empire and would eventually feature the first break from the Classical tradition after a thousand years. It is characterized by vast spaces and decorative domes as well as beautiful mosaics and ornate columns. It would greatly influence both Romanesque and Islamic architecture with its arches and domes. The Hagia Sophia in Istanbul would be the largest Christian cathedral for a thousand years and remains today one of the most beautiful works of architecture in the world.
Romanesque architecture was the austere post-Roman medieval architecture of Europe. It was the architecture of castles and monasteries as well as the church. It is characterized by semi-circular arches, massive walls, ribbed vaults, and arcades; and featured less ornamentation and openings. It reflected the character of the time which was more defensive in nature and less decorative. Its features included towers and primary portals along with arcaded aisles and cloisters.
Gothic architecture is the architecture of the Middle Ages. It is an architecture of verticality that soared. The architecture of the church sought to achieve greater heights and the new technologies and materials of the period brought about the dominant built form of an age when the church was the center of daily life. Gothic architecture achieved this verticality with its highly distinct and characteristic pointed arches, ribbed vaults, flying buttresses and incredible tracery. Some of the most recognizable Gothic cathedrals are the Notre-Dame de Paris, the Chartres Cathedral and Cologne Cathedral. Gothic architecture is an incredible period of innovation in architecture and engineering wherein structure was first expressed as beauty and humanity reached for greater heights.
Renaissance architecture was the European architecture developed during the Renaissance period that drew inspiration from the ancient Greek and Roman world. It was first developed in Florence by Filippo Brunelleschi and was widely spread and codified by Andrea Palladio. It is characterized by symmetry, order, and proportion and featured columns, arches, and domes in complex compositions. Renaissance architecture was the dominant form of architecture for much of the Western world and continues to inspire architects today with some of the most beautiful and recognizable landmarks of the period such as the Florence Cathedral, the Santamaria Novella, and St. Peter’s Basilica. It was the architecture of Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Raphael and remains as one of the most visible representations of architecture in the world.
Baroque architecture is a lavish and grandiose form of architecture with incredible, bold gestures and sculptural ornamentation. It was an architecture of awe and grandeur characterized by great domes and grand staircases, along with incredible sculptural decoration and oval spaces. Twisting columns, extravagant gilding, and lush ornaments were incorporated for dramatic effects. It was the architecture of royalty and of exuberant excess.
Revivalism was a collection of architectural styles from the 19th century that sought to rediscover and romanticize the traditions of previous eras. It sought to develop a sense of continuity with the past and was brought about as a response to the development of new materials and technologies. The influence of revivalism is a continuing backdrop in the development of architecture in response to various movements such as Post-Modernism to Modernism and vernacular architecture to globalization.
Neoclassical architecture was a mid-18th century revival style influenced by new archeological discoveries. It was a response against the flamboyance and ornamentation of sculptural Baroque architecture and embraced the planar and geometric lines of Classical Architecture. Neoclassicism was an international movement embraced by the French Empire and the then newly-founded United States. This in turn influenced the early American colonial architecture of the Philippines.
9. Gothic Revival
Gothic Revival is an architecture movement that began in in the 18th century in contrast to neoclassicism. It is characterized by Gothic ornamentation and became dominant in the 19th century. The movement was rooted in a revival of religious beliefs and medieval traditions in response to the advent of industrialization. It celebrated the spirit of craftsmanship against that of modern materials and continued to exert influence up to the early 20th century.
Beaux-Arts was a French school of architecture taught at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in the 19th century. It was a nationalistic architecture movement that emphasized strict dogma and principles and maintained a rich tradition of training and learning. It is characterized by sculptural and bold decorations on rectilinear forms with vibrant ornaments steeped in symbolism and meaning and subdued colors. The school was a dominant style in France and had a strong and important influence in the early development of architecture in the United States.