History of Architecture


Classical architecture is what Greek and Romanesque styles of building are referred to as. This stye is typified by quite grand buildings often featuring large pillars in one of three styles (seen below) (Doric, depicting the simplistic, Ionic depicting scrolls and Corinthian depicting curled acanthus leaves)



Examples of Classical Architecture can be seen, most iconically, at The Parthenon on the Athenian Acropolis, Greece.


Roman architecture’s most notable feature was arches. These became most commonly seen in viaducts; bridges used for movement of goods and horses for early traders or, more commonly, train tracks such as the Ribblehead viaduct in North Yorkshire. We are able to see and study these structures due to the fact they are mostly all still standing. The engineering of the Romans is regarded as some of the most influential architecture in history; because they worked and continued to stand tall.


These arches inspired architects to design domes. When arches are pivoted around a central point these incredible dome structures not only provide a spectacular and regal sight, they also become stronger the longer they are. As the brick and reinforced concrete sinks in on itself, the structure becomes more compact and immensely strong.






“Gothic” in modern times brings up a lot of false stereotypes of the “goth” subculture – associated with black hair and makeup, dark stylings and a lot of teenage angst. However “gothic architecture” couldn’t be further from this common misconception.

Pioneered by the French, Gothic is typified by its colourful over the top stylings, gothic intended to push every boundary of architecture. It wanted to be the tallest, lightest, brightest, most colourful, full of glass buildings in sight.



New methods of strengthening structures, Flying Buttresses (seen above spanning out to the sides), transferred the load outwards to allow higher buildings that ca towering glass structures, gaudy, almost Indian, style.


Italy’s attempt of a rebirth of Roman Empire. Pushed forwards with building cities based on the Roman times, w/o imitating.

Big mentality, better than things were before. (Eg. Vatican City)

Britain took this on in a more restrained way



Catholics attempting interior style of heaven on earth. Lavish gold and marble in an attempt to create this heavenly illusion.

This absurdity was taken on in theatres and described as Rococo.


The falsehood and façade  of the Catholic Baroque stylings was adopted by the theatre’s desire for the same style, but in a way that was a little more honest. It was over the top, it was unrealistic; but those are the qualities people sought escapism from – through actors.

The perceived rich persona of a theatre goer in the late 1600s led to the Rococo style being adopted by the wealthy for the purpose of private parties and impressing rich peers. This made a change from the Baroque style of showing off wealth to claim hierarchy above the less fortunate, and instead made it a more honest falsehood.

This honesty allowed for almost budget versions of baroque styling; using painted/waxed/chalk dusted wood instead of marble, or gold. Sculptures that were appealing at first glance, but were in fact worth much less that first perceived.




Following the religious emphasis surrounding Baroque stylings, political controversies led to a trend change. Instead of looking forward to the next style, a point of “Enlightenment” captured architectural attitudes. Hindsight saw that the rationality of classical Greek and Roman structures stood the test of time and their function outweighed the need for a spiritual focus towards building.





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