Key architectural theories

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Key architectural theories

During the High Renaissance, architectural concepts derived from classical antiquity were developed and used with greater surety. Name some distinguishing features of Italian Renaissance architecture, its major exponents, and important architectural concepts.

Renaissance architecture is European architecture between the early 15th and early 17th centuries. It demonstrates a conscious revival and development of certain elements of classical thought and material cultureparticularly symmetry and classical orders.

Theory of Architecture - #1 - Timothy Brittain-Catlin

Stylistically, Renaissance architecture came after the Gothic period and was succeeded by the Baroque. During the High Renaissancearchitectural concepts derived from classical antiquity were developed and used with greater surety.

The most representative architect of Italian Renaissance Architecture is Bramante —who developed the applicability of classical architectural elements to contemporary buildings, a style that was to dominate Italian architecture in the 16th century. In the late 15th century and early 16th century architects such as Bramante, Antonio da Sangallo the Younger, and others showed a mastery of the revived style and ability to apply it to buildings such as churches and city palazzos, which were quite different from the structures of ancient times.

Although studying and mastering the details of the ancient Romans was one of the important aspects of Renaissance architectural theory, the style also became more decorative and ornamental, with a widespread use of statuary, domes, and cupolas. Renaissance architecture adopted obvious distinguishing features of classical Roman architecture.

However, the forms and purposes of buildings had changed over time, as had the structure of cities, which is reflected in the resulting fusion of classical and 16th century forms. The plans of Renaissance buildings typically have a square, symmetrical appearance in which proportions are usually based on a module. The primary features of 16th century structures, which fused classical Roman technique with Renaissance aesthetics, were based in several foundational architectural concepts: facades, columns and pilasters, arches, vaults, domes, windows, and walls.

The columns and windows show a progression towards the center. Renaissance architects also incorporated columns and pilasters, using the Roman orders of columns Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, and Composite as models. The orders can either be structural, supporting an arcade or architraveor purely decorative, set against a wall in the form of pilasters.

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During the Renaissance, architects aimed to use columns, pilasters, and entablatures as an integrated system. One of the first buildings to use pilasters as an integrated system was the Old Sacristy — by Brunelleschi. The dome is used frequently in this period, both as a very large structural feature that is visible from the exterior, and also as a means of roofing smaller spaces where they are only visible internally.

Domes were used in important structures such as the Pantheon during antiquity, but had been used only rarely in the Middle Ages. Dome of St. Windows may be paired and set within a semicircular arch and may have square lintels and triangular or segmental pediments, which are often used alternately.

Emblematic in this respect is the Palazzo Farnese in Rome, begun in Windows were used to bring light into the building and in domestic architecture, to show the view. Stained glass, although sometimes present, was not a prevalent feature in Renaissance windows. Finally, external Renaissance walls were generally of highly finished ashlar masonry, laid in straight courses.

The corners of buildings were often emphasized by rusticated quoins. Basements and ground floors were sometimes rusticated, as modeled on the Palazzo Medici Riccardi — in Florence. Internal walls were smoothly plastered and surfaced with white chalk paint. For more formal spaces, internal surfaces were typically decorated with frescoes.

Renaissance architecture first developed in Florence in the 15th century and represented a conscious revival of classical styles. The Quattrocentoor the 15th century in Florence, was marked by the development of the Renaissance style of architecture, which represented a conscious revival and development of ancient Greek and Roman architectural elements.

The rules of Renaissance architecture were first formulated and put into practice in 15th century Florence, whose buildings subsequently served as an inspiration to architects throughout Italy and Western Europe. The Renaissance style of architecture emerged in Florence not as a slow evolution from preceding styles, but rather as a conscious development put into motion by architects seeking to revive a golden age.

These architects were sponsored by wealthy patrons including the powerful Medici family and the Silk Guildand approached their craft from an organized and scholarly perspective that coincided with a general revival of classical learning.

The Renaissance style deliberately eschewed the complex proportional systems and irregular profiles of Gothic structures.

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Instead, Renaissance architects placed emphasis on symmetry, proportion, geometry, and regularity of parts as demonstrated in classical Roman architecture. They also made considerable use of classical antique features such as orderly arrangements of columns, pilasters, lintels, semicircular arches, and hemispherical domes.

The person generally credited with originating the Renaissance style of architecture is Filippo Brunelleschi —whose first major commission—the enormous brick dome that covers the central space of the Florence Cathedral—was also perhaps architecturally the most significant.Archisoup is reader-supported.

When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Creating and developing architectural concepts is something a lot of students and indeed many architects struggle with.

Here we provide a list of 21 concept ideas that can be used as starting points for your conceptual development and help steer you in the right direction as your project develops.

Note though, that to create a meaningful approach these listed ideas must be tied back to your own thought processes, interpretations and analysis, in order for them to be bespoke to your project …there is not a one size fits all. Following each description we provide a Pinterest link to a list of examples that demonstrate how each concept can be used in a real world scenario, or how it can be explained through concept sketches and models.

Before moving on, we cant recommend this book enough, and it is undoubtedly one of the best resources for demonstrating how to generate an architectural concept through design brief and site analysis. Rather than providing off the shelf ideas, this book although a little expensive demonstrates how to derive and develop your own bespoke conceptual approaches that can be taken through to each new project.

For example, a steep site calls for a strong structural concept from the outset, whereas a flat site may want to address its exposure and how the building interacts with its north, east, south and west facing aspects. Buildings need to relate to their context and if your site has a moderate to strong vernacular, then based on the research from your site analysis ; this can be used to your advantage during your conceptual development.

key architectural theories

For example a strong pitched roof typology, can lead to study of how to adapt and push its form forward. Another strong example is the architecture of Australian architect Glenn Murcutt, who draws strong influences from the context in which his projects sits.

The book by El Croquis, provides a detailed breakdown of his projects and methods of working. Using the historical research of your site and its surrounding context can open many types of various avenues to use and explore. Every site has a history and quite often a story to tell that perhaps leads into an investigation into how to modernise past construction techniques or how a new housing project should be master planned based its towns original plan.

Connecting and using past influences and methods will severely strengthen your conceptual approach. Physical features generally refers to the site elements, such as water bodies, trees, vegetation, rock formations, manmade structures etc. You may want to start with a simple form and volume study, where you can experiment and study into how to manipulate positive and negative spaces. An excellent set of books that explains this very method is the Spacial verbs series listed here and below.

Utilising the views from your site can help to define and shape your building in levels of importance and priority.

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Key spaces will want to take advantage of them and utilitarian areas should be set aside. Equally, if your site does not have views out, then you will need to create views in, and start to build a concept based on internal views. Where there are views however you may also want to draw site lines out and across your site to create a lattice like diagram that may lead to the grid concept described below, or simply further exploration.

Additionally, your concept could be based around how and where the views are revealed, and how your building opens up to them.This article offers an overview of issues in the philosophy of architecture.

Central issues include foundational matters regarding the nature of:. Yet other questions engage applied philosophical concerns regarding architecture, such as the character of architectural notation; intellectual property rights; and client-architect obligations. A far-reaching philosophy of architecture extends beyond even a broadly aesthetics-based assessment, to include considerations of ethics, social and political philosophy, and philosophical reflections on psychology and the behavioral sciences.

The aesthetics of architecture, by itself, spans traditional issues mooted in philosophy of art, as well as aesthetics of the everyday, and environmental aesthetics. Such traditional issues include the nature of the work; the possibility of classes, kinds, or types in the domain; the character and roles of representation, intentionality, and expression; and the warranted foundations for criticism.

Key Theories and Approaches in Architechure

The ethics of architecture also addresses traditional issues, including delineation of rights, responsibilities, the good, virtues, and justice in architectural milieus. Still other aspects of philosophy of architecture concern social and technological characteristics. Over the course of Western philosophy, including the history of aesthetics, architecture has largely failed to attract sustained, detailed attention—particularly as compared with other artforms.

Neither philosophical issues prompted by architecture, nor the fit of architectural phenomena into larger philosophical debates, have captured the philosophical imagination as have, for example, literature or painting. Some contributions across the span of Western philosophy—including those of Wolff and Schopenhauer—rank as historically significant; other, more recent accounts are broad-ranging and gravid with conceptual concerns, including those of Scruton and Harries.

Further, some philosophers have even dabbled in architectural projects: Dewey contributed to plans for the Chicago Laboratory School, Wittgenstein collaborated on designing a house for his sister, and Bentham sketched the Panopticon design as a plan for prison reform.

Yet the overall state of philosophical reflection on architecture—even in the present day—is less lively than like discussions focused on artforms of far more recent origin, such as film or comics. Some philosophers working in the Continental tradition have offered accounts of the experience of architecture or its social ramifications; a deficiency is more marked in analytic aesthetics. For more on the background and context of conceptual explorations of architecture, see the supplementary documents:.

Fundamental questions about the nature of architecture motivate much of contemporary philosophy of architecture: what sort of enterprise architecture is; whether architecture has essential features; what kinds of things architecture makes—yielding the further issue as to whether architecture always, only sometimes, or never is an artform; what renders architecture distinct from other artforms if it is one ; and whether architecture includes all built structures.

One approach to grasping the true nature of architecture is to define it in terms of the discipline. Defining the discipline or practice of architecture may seem a simple empirical affair. Even if we have difficulty assessing what architectural objects or products are, we can point to thousands of architects over several millennia around the world engaged in one or another sets of activities that conventionally have been associated with architectural practice, and generate a long disjunctive claim about what architects do.

An empirically rooted approach has a long history: Vitruvius devises his normative account of the virtuous architect on the basis of his familiarity with then-contemporary practice. A problem arises, though, if we look to history or sociology for a unified account with common features of an architectural discipline.

While architectural practice has remained stable in certain respects, change over its history greatly limits common features, perhaps, to a core set of basic tools and rudimentary principles of structural engineering.The term theory of architecture was originally simply the accepted translation of the Latin term ratiocinatio as used by Vitruviusa Roman architect-engineer of the 1st century ceto differentiate intellectual from practical knowledge in architectural education, but it has come to signify the total basis for judging the merits of buildings or building projects.

Such reasoned judgments are an essential part of the architectural creative process. A building can be designed only by a continuous creative, intellectual dialectic between imagination and reason in the mind of each creator. A variety of interpretations has been given to the term architectural theory by those who have written or spoken on the topic in the past.

Before every comprehensive treatise or published lecture course on architecture could appropriately be described as a textbook on architectural theory. But, after the changes associated with the Industrial Revolutionthe amount of architectural knowledge that could be acquired only by academic study increased to the point where a complete synthesis became virtually impossible in a single volume.

The historical evolution of architectural theory is assessable mainly from manuscripts and published treatisesfrom critical essays and commentaries, and from the surviving buildings of every epoch. It is thus in no way a type of historical study that can reflect accurately the spirit of each age and in this respect is similar to the history of philosophy itself.

Some architectural treatises were intended to publicize novel concepts rather than to state widely accepted ideals. The most idiosyncratic theories could and often did exert wide and sometimes beneficial influence, but the value of these influences is not necessarily related to the extent of this acceptance. The analysis of surviving buildings provides guidance that requires great caution, since, apart from the impossibility of determining whether or not any particular group of buildings intact or in ruins constitutes a reliable sample of the era, any such analyses will usually depend on preliminary evaluations of merit and will be useless unless the extent to which the function, the structure, and the detailing envisaged by the original builders can be correctly re-established.

Nevertheless, the study of the history of architectural philosophy, like that of the history of general philosophy, not only teaches what past generations thought but can help individuals decide how they themselves should act and judge.

For those desirous of establishing a viable theory of architecture for their own era, it is generally agreed that great stimulus can be found in studying historical evidence and in speculating on the ideals and achievements of those who created this evidence.

The distinction between the history and theory of architecture did not emerge until the midth century. Even then, however, the distinction was seldom scrupulously maintained by either specialist. It is impossible to discuss meaningfully the buildings of the immediate past without discussing the ideals of those who built them, just as it is impossible to discuss the ideals of bygone architects without reference to the structures they designed.

Faced with the problem of discussing Athenian buildings constructed in the time of Vitruvius, he decided to discuss them twice, by treating them separately under two different headings. The modern concept of architectural history was in fact simply part of a larger trend stimulated by the leading writers of the French Enlightenmentan 18th-century intellectual movement that developed from interrelated conceptions of reason, nature, and man.

As a result of discussing constitutional law in terms of its evolution, every branch of knowledge especially the natural and social sciences was eventually seen as a historical sequence.

In the philosophy of architecture, as in all other kinds of philosophy, the introduction of the historical method not only facilitated the teaching of these subjects but also militated against the elaboration of theoretical speculation.

Just as those charged with the responsibility of lecturing on ethics found it very much easier to lecture on the history of ethics, rather than to discuss how a person should or should not act in specific contemporary circumstances, so those who lectured on architectural theory found it easier to recite detailed accounts of what had been done in the past, rather than to recommend practical methods of dealing with current problems.

Thus, the attitudes of those scholars who, during the 19th and early 20th centuries, wished to expound a theory of architecture that was neither a philosophy of art nor a history of architecture tended to become highly personal, if not idiosyncratic. By most theoretical writings concentrated almost exclusively on visual aspects of architecture, thereby identifying the theory of architecture with what, beforewould have been regarded as simply that aspect that Vitruvius called venustas i.

This approach did not necessarily invalidate the conclusions reached, but many valuable ideas then put forward as theories of architecture were only partial theories, in which it was taken for granted that theoretical concepts concerning construction and planning were dealt with in other texts. Before embarking on any discussion as to the nature of the philosophy of architecture, it is essential to distinguish between two mutually exclusive theories that affect the whole course of any such speculation.

The first theory regards the philosophy of architecture as the application of a general philosophy of art to a particular type of art. The second, on the contrary, regards the philosophy of architecture as a separate study that, though it may well have many characteristics common to the theories of other arts, is generically distinct.

The first notion i. This theory of fine art might not have been so widely adopted but for the development of aestheticselaborated after Thus, when academies of fine art were being established successively in Denmark, Russia, and England on the model of the French Academy in Rome, German philosophers were gradually asserting 1 that it was possible to elaborate a theory of beauty without reference to function Zweck ; 2 that any theory of beauty should be applicable to all sensory perceptions, whether visual or auditory; and 3 that the notion of beauty was only one aspect of a much larger concept of life-enhancing sensory stimuli.

The alternative theory i. Hegel first popularized the philosophical discipline.

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Kant, in his Kritik der Urteilskraft ; Eng. He classified architecture as dependent beauty, saying that in a thing that is possible only by means of design Absicht —a building or even an animal—the regularity consisting in symmetry must express the unity of the intuition that accompanies the concept of purpose Zweckand this regularity belongs to cognition.

key architectural theories

This latter tendency was reinforced when the French philosopher Victor Cousinwriting inclassified the history of philosophy under three distinct headings: the true, the beautiful, and the good. The ensuing acceptance of the idea that beauty was to be studied independently of truth and goodness produced a tendency not merely to regard beauty as something added to a building rather than conceptually inseparable from the truth and goodness of its structure and function but to regard beauty as limited to visual and emotional qualities.

In the first half of the 20th century, philosophers grew less dogmatic about aesthetics. But its influence on theories of architecture became stronger because of the popular view that sculpture was essentially nonrepresentational.

Article Media. Info Print Print.The defensible space theory of architect and city planner Oscar Newman encompasses ideas about crime prevention and neighborhood safety. Newman argues that architectural and environmental design plays a crucial part in increasing or reducing criminality. The book contains a study from New York that pointed out that higher crime rate existed in high-rise apartment buildings than in lower housing projects.

This, he concluded, was because residents felt no control or personal responsibility for an area occupied by so many people. Throughout his study, Newman focused on explaining his ideas on social controlcrime preventionand public health in relation to community design.

As defined in Newman's book Design Guidelines for Creating Defensible Spacedefensible space is "a residential environment whose physical characteristics—building layout and site plan—function to allow inhabitants themselves to become key agents in ensuring their security. The theory argues that an area is safer when people feel a sense of ownership and responsibility for that piece of a community. Newman asserts that "the criminal is isolated because his turf is removed" when each space in an area is owned and cared for by a responsible party.

The idea is that crime and delinquency can be controlled and mitigated through environmental design. There are five factors that make a defensible space: [7]. The concept of defensible space is controversial. A United States Department of Justice experiment in Hartford, Connecticut closed streets and assigned police teams to certain neighborhoods. New public housing projects were designed around ideas of limited access to the city, but Hartford did not show any dramatic drop in crime.

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Louis do have much lower crime than public streets. Louis, people had the capacity and incentives to defend their defensible spaces. Residents had the right to ask an unwelcome individual i. The intention of physical features is to create a sense of territorialism in community members which will ensure a safe living environment for those that care for it.

Defensible space works with a hierarchy of living and community spaces. Also to deter crime, areas should be defined for function, paths should be defined for movement, outdoor areas should be juxtaposed with homes, and indoor spaces should visually provide for close watch of outside areas. Newman holds that through good design, people should not only feel comfortable questioning what is happening in their surroundings, but they should feel obligated to do so. Any intruder should be able to sense the existence of a watchful community and avoid the situation altogether.

Criminals fear the likelihood that a resident, upon viewing the intrusion, would then question their actions. This is highly effective in neighborhoods that cannot afford a professional crime watch. The defensible space theory is applicable to any type of planned space. Residents must also feel a need to extend their protective attitudes to locations where property and urban streets and surroundings connect.

The interfacing between private property and community space should be protected similarly. In effect, residents care enough for their area to protect it from crime as they would protect their own private property.

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To create a defensible space communityresidential areas should be subdivided into smaller entities of similar families because control is enhanced.Clearly, one must be wary of attributing too much importance to the sequence, since a slight variation occurs in the writings of even the most traditional theorists.

Vitruvius gives these terms in the sequence firmitas, utilitas, venustaswhereas both Alberti and, following him, the 16th-century Venetian architect and theorist Andrea Palladio reverse the order of the first two.

But it does seem worth noting that venustas generally comes last, implying that firmitas and utilitas are to be regarded as essential logical prerequisites of architectural beauty. On the other hand, the practical advantages, in academic treatisesof giving priority to venustas are evident.

key architectural theories

The growing emphasis on aestheticscombined with developments in psychology and the influence of art-historical methods, added weight to this argument, while the corresponding independence of scientific techniques of structural and spatial analysis led many teachers of architecture to consider utilitas and firmitas as totally separate academic disciplines. Important exceptions can be found to this generalization. Alberti not only avoids the erotic implications of the term venustas but, by subdividing amoenitas into pulchritudo and ornamentumgives far more precise indications as to the type of visual satisfaction that architecture should provide.

Pulchritudohe asserts, is derived from harmonious proportions that are comparable to those that exist in music and are the essence of the pleasure created by architecture. Both pulchritudo and ornamentum were thus related to function and environment in that, ideally, they were governed by a sense of decorumand, since the etymological roots of both decoration and decorum are the same, it will be understood why, beforethe term decoration had in both English and French a far less superficial architectural implication than it often does today.

After the German philosopher and educator Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten had introduced the neologism aesthetics aboutthe visual merits of all artifacts tended to be assessed more subjectively than objectively, and, in the criticism of all those sensory stimuli that, for want of a better term, critics somewhat indiscriminately lumped together as the fine arts, the visual criteria were extended to include not only beauty but also sublimity, picturesqueness, and even ugliness.

Now it is clear that, once ugliness is equated with beauty, both terms being contradictory become virtually meaningless. But ugliness, after the midth century, was not only one of the most important themes of many popular dramas and novels.

Ugliness was also often considered the most appropriate architectural expression for all sorts of virtues—especially those of manliness, sincerity, and so on. Beforearchitects had expressed these qualities more subtly e. In later years, when the value of proportion and ornament became highly controversial, architectural theorists tended to avoid committing themselves to any criteria that might be subsumed under the heading venustas.

Our ultimate goal, therefore, was the composite but inseparable work of art, the great building, in which the old dividing-line between monumental and decorative elements would have disappeared for ever. The idea was accepted in most schools of architecture by the midth century, but one may question whether it fully justified the expectations of its protagonists, once it had been exemplified and proliferated in so many urban environments. Article Media. Info Print Print.

Table Of Contents. Submit Feedback. Thank you for your feedback. Load Previous Page. Load Next Page.Find more Vitruvian images in the Vitruvius Gallery. Is it possible to identify a universal sense of beauty - a definition of beauty that can be applied to all people at all times? Don't our ideas of beauty shift and fight and transform themselves in different times and spaces? This image is by Marcus Vitruvius, the famous Ancient Roman architect. Vituvius's most famous work is entitled Ten Books on Architecture, and was written in approximately BC.

It is the only text on the subject of architecture to survive antiquity. It was also one of the first texts in history to draw the connection between the architecture of the body and that of the building.

Vitruvius believed that an architect should focus on three central themes when preparing a design for a building: firmitas strengthutilitas functionalityand venustas beauty. But the theory of venustas or beauty is a very complicated one. Vitruvius thought that a timeless notion of beauty could be learnt from the 'truth of nature', that nature's designs were based on universal laws of proportion and symmetry.

He believed that the body's proportions could be used as a model of natural proportional perfection. He wrote of the way ancient scholars examined many examples of 'well shaped men' and discovered that these bodies shared certain proportions.

He showed that the 'ideal' human body fitted precisely into both a circle and a square, and he thus illustrated the link that he believed existed between perfect geometric forms and the perfect body. In this way, the body was seen as a living rulebook, containing the fixed and faultless laws set down by nature. So it followed, according to Vitruvius, that an architect's designs must refer to the unquestionable perfection of the body's symmetry and proportions.

If a building is to create a sense of eurythmia - a graceful and agreeable atmosphere - it is essential that it mirrors these natural laws of harmony and beauty. Gallery of Vetruvian images. By using this site, you agree we can set and use cookies. For more details of these cookies and how to disable them, see our cookie policy.

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