Have you ever looked at ravishing buildings or structures and wondered what went into their making? Architecture is more than just planning, designing, and constructing — a lot goes into the process. Several types of architecture have emerged through different eras. Take the example of the Islamic architecture that emerged in the 7th century or Victorian architecture that emerged from the Victorian Era. Each architectural type has unique features, distinguishing it from the others.
Architectures are not just aesthetically pleasing to look at, but also take you to the time they represent. The riches lie in the details. From balcony to doors, each feature represents symbols, culture, and perceptions. If you want to learn more about it, keep reading as we embark on our journey into exploring different kinds of architecture. There are several types of architecture, and each has various subtypes. In this analysis, we will look at a few of them in detail.
Romanesque architecture drew inspiration from Roman, Islamic, and Byzantine architecture. It came to light when early Christians took control. Mostly, it included structures such as monasteries, cathedrals, and churches. Since there were risks of invasion, the architecture resembled fortresses. Besides shelter and place for daily activities, they acted as defense structures. This form of architecture is further divided into three periods: Pre-Romanesque, Early Romanesque, and Mature Romanesque.
In the Pre-Romanesque period, people accepted Christianity and architecture switched to stone buildings from wooden ones. During the early Romanesque period, the churches were covered with vaulted ceilings using advanced construction techniques. Lastly, in the Mature Romanesque period, the walls were articulated. The characteristics of Romanesque architecture are thick walls, massive stone, arcades, towers, towering round arches, and small windows. The Pisa Cathedral is an example of this architecture type.
Gothic architecture represents the connection between religion and art. Initially, it appeared in the year 1140 at Saint-Denis in France. The design was then quickly and widely adopted, revolutionizing the cathedral structure across Western Europe. The notable characteristics of this architecture are thin walls and large stained glass that illuminates the interior.
This was just the beginning. What followed was the pointed arches, flying buttresses, ornate decoration, and ribbed vaults. It enhanced the visual experience dramatically, improving the lighting. Some theologians of that time believed light to be divine. For them, this architecture was seen as a means to elevate human consciousness from the earthly realms to the heavenly ones. An example of Gothic architecture is Duomo di Milano, The Cathedral Church of Milan.
In Neoclassical architecture, the inspirations are drawn from ancient Rome and Greece. It started in the 18th century when the science of archaeology came into being. This led to the discovery of Roman antiquity. At first, people were amazed, and they drew inspiration from it. Eventually, there were Grand Tours held where travelers visited these places in search of arts and culture.
The characteristics that define this architecture are simple geometric forms, blank walls, Doric Greek or Roman detailing, grand scale volumes, and dramatic columns. It symbolizes a perfect balance of simplicity and sophistication. But let’s not forget that Neoclassical architecture is more about what people thought ancient Rome and Greece were like, and not how they really were. The Paris Pantheon, The White House, and Buckingham Palace are examples of Neoclassical architecture.
The architectural type we examined above was based on simplicity. Baroque architecture is just the opposite. It appeared in Italy in the 17th century as a part of the counter-reformation. This architecture was designed beautifully with marbles, ornaments, sculptures, stones, and paintings to engage the senses and emotions of the viewer. It was an attempt to oppose the Protestant reformation while reforming the Catholic Church. The designs focused on the details to create a heaven-like appearance.
Large domes, gilded sculptures, coffered ceilings, concave and convex walls, and double-sloped mansard roofs are the characteristics that define Baroque architecture. It is divided into three periods: Early Baroque, High Baroque, and Late Baroque. During the Early Baroque period, imagery was used to create three-dimensional spaces. The High Baroque period saw the construction of Baroque buildings and interior designs. Lastly, in the Late Baroque period, this architectural style spread across Europe. Examples of Baroque architecture are St Paul’s Cathedral in London and Les Invalides in Paris.
We started our study with the architecture of the past. Now let’s head on towards the present and future architectures. Modern architecture is based on the philosophy of “form follows function.” This means the architecture should be designed based on its purpose. It gave a new perspective when looking at buildings and structures. This kind of architecture emerged at the end of the 19th century, focusing on clarity of forms and eliminating unnecessary details.
The Industrial Revolution has a role to play in the emergence of this architectural type. The mass production of iron and steel made wide-scale construction of buildings possible. These materials then became primary raw materials in construction. Plus, there was advancement in architectural technology during that time, which further changed the course of this industry forever. The characteristics of modern architecture are flowing interior spaces, rectilinear forms, roof terraces, lack of ornament, and the relationship of interior spaces with the environment. The Seagram Building in New York is an example of modern architecture.
Previously, the historic reference was used in architecture. Then came modernism, which favored serving functions. This influenced Postmodern architecture. In simple words, this form of architecture is akin to modern architecture in terms of serving a function. However, it includes arts and crafts, inspired by other types of architecture such as Neoclassical. Nevertheless, they must follow the rules of modern architecture including simplicity, functionality, and minimalism.
M2 Building and Guggenheim Museum Bilbao are examples of Postmodern architecture. M2 Building was designed by Kengo Kuma in Tokyo, Japan. It includes architectural elements such as arches, corbels, and dentils. Guggenheim Museum Bilbao was designed by Frank Gehry in Bilbao, Spain. Materials such as titanium, glass, and limestones were used in its construction. It is well-known for its complexity and form.