Design History


To be included:

  1. Defintion of architecture
  2. Key styles e.g. Gothic, Classical etc
  3. Examples of each styles
  4. Origins and history behind the styles
  5. Key designers of each style

Architecture is a key area of design and history as it is all around us and there are clear distinctions between different styles and periods e.g. Gothic mostly in churches and cathedrals. Architecture is both the process of and product of planning, designing and constructing buildings and other physical structures. Art of architecture is how buildings shape, decoration, features and materials come together to form a look or style.

Architect comes from latin architectus which derives from Greek _arkhi _meaning chief and tekton meaning builder (chief builder).

Architecture is many things to many people. To some it is the ultimate art form to others it is considered a science. 1

For a list of key architects visit Architects page

There are many styles one that was predominant in 19th century Britain was Gothic. One man known for his interest in Gothic architecture was Augustus Pugin

Another key influence was Andrea Palladio

There are a variety of architectural styles to look at throughout history ranging from early medieval, renaissance, Gothic, Baroque to Gothic revival in late 19th century to Postmodernism in 20th century. There are clear distinctions between different styles and periods e.g. Gothic mostly in cathedrals and churches. Despite having its origins in prehistory professional training only began c.200 years ago. The first named architect was Imhotep in Ancient Egypt.

Many people think of it as a modern phenomenon but in reality humans have been ‘building’ since prehistoric times e.g. Skara Brae in the Orkney Islands. It is visible all around us from everyday homes to stately homes and castles.

The earliest surviving work is De Architectura by Roman architect Vitruvius is 1st century AD. A good building should follow 3 principles :

  1. Durability – a building should stand up robustly and remain in good condition
  2. Utility – should be suitable for purposes for which it is used
  3. Beauty – aesthetically pleasing­

The notion of styles in the Arts was not developed until 16th century.

De Re Aedificatoria by Leon Battista Alberti furthers the ideas of Vitruvius seeing beauty primarily as a matter of proportion with ornamentation also playing a part. Building first evolved out of the dynamics between needs and means. It became a craft and “architecture” was the name given to the most highly formalised and respected version of that craft.

In ancient civilisations e.g. Egypt architecture and urbanism reflected belief in the divine and supernatural.They often resorted to monumentality in their architecture to demonstrate symbolically the power of the rulers, ruling elite and the state e.g. Pyramids at Giza, Sphinx. Architecture of ancient civilisations evolved from civil rather than religious or empirical ideals. Style developed in the form of Classical Orders of which there was 5.

Historical origins behind styles particularly revival styles such as the Gothic revival period in Victorian era or Neoclassicism in 18th century inspired by Ancient Greece and Rome e.g. the British museum with its columns was founded in 1750s. (grand tour of Europe

1 30 Second Architecture by Edward Denison