Vitruvius Timeline

Vitruvius Timeline

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  • c. 90 BCE - c. 20 BCE

    Life of architect Vitruvius, author of De Architectura.

  • 58 BCE - 51 BCE

    Military engineer and architect Vitruvius accommpanies Julius Caesar on campaign.

  • c. 20 BCE

    Military engineer and architect Vitruvius publishes his "De Architectura".

History of lime in mortar

The first mortars were made from mud or clay. These materials were used because of availability and low cost. The Egyptians utilized gypsum mortars to lubricate the beds of large stones when they were being moved into position(ref. i). However, these matrials did not perform well in the presence of high levels of humidity and water.

It was discovered that limestone, when burnt and combined with water, produced a material that would harden with age. The earliest documented use of lime as a construction material was approximately 4000 B.C. when it was used in Egypt for plastering the pyramids(ref. ii). The beginning of the use of lime in mortars is not clear. It is well documented, however, that the Roman Empire used lime based mortars extensively. Vitruvius, a Roman architect, provided basic guidelines for lime mortar mixes(ref. iii).

"… When it [the lime] is slaked, let it be mingled with the sand in such a way that if it is pit sand three of sand and one of lime is poured in but if the same is from the river or sea, two of sand and one of lime is thrown together. For in this way there will be the right proportion of the mixture and blending."

Mortars containing only lime and sand required carbon dioxide from the air to convert back to limestone and harden. Lime/sand mortars hardened at a slow rate and would not harden under water. The Romans created hydraulic mortars that contained lime and a pozzolan such as brick dust or volcanic ash. These mortars were intended be used in applications where the presence of water would not allow the mortar to carbonate properly(ref. iv). Examples of these types of applications included cisterns, fish-ponds, and aqueducts.

The most significant developments in the use of pozzolans in mortars occurred in the 18th century. It was discovered that burning limestone containing clays would produce a hydraulic product. In 1756, James Smeaton developed perhaps the first hydraulic lime product by calcining Blue Lias limestone containing clay. An Italian pozzolanic earth from Civita Vecchia was also added to provide additional strength(ref. v). This mortar mixture was used to build the Eddystone Lighthouse. James Parker patented a product called Roman cement or natural cement in 1796. Natural cement was produced by burning a mixture of limestone and clay together in kilns similar to those used for lime. The resulting product was ground and stored in waterproof containers. Typically, natural cements had higher clay contents than hydraulic lime products, which allowed for better strength development. Natural cement mortar was used in construction where masonry was subjected to moisture and high levels of strength were needed(ref. vi).

Joseph Aspdin, an English mason/builder patented a material called portland cement in 1824. Portland cement consisted of a blend of limestone, clay and other minerals in carefully controlled proportions which were calcined and ground into fine particles. Though some portland cement was imported from Europe, it was not manufactured in the United States until 1871. The consistency and higher strength levels of portland cement allowed it to replace natural cements in mortars. Portland cement by itself had poor workability. Portland cement combined with lime provided an excellent balance between strength and workability. The addition of portland cement to lime mortars increased the speed of the construction process for masonry building due to faster strength development. Mix designs incorporating different amounts of lime and portland cement were developed. In 1951, ASTM published a Standard Specification for Unit Masonry (C270-51). This specification allowed combinations of cement and lime to be specified by volume proportions or mortar properties. ASTM C270 is still in use today. This standard identifies five mortar types based on the phrase MASON WORK S. Type M cement/lime blends have the highest compressive strength and Type K has the lowest.

-- More information on lime mortar specifications.

Until approximately 1900, lime putty was used in construction applications. Limestone was burned in small kilns often built on the side of a hill to facilitate loading(ref. vii). Wood, coal and coke were used as fuel. The quicklime produced from these kilns was added to water in a pit or metal trough and soaked for an extended period of time. The time required for soaking was dependent on the quality of the quicklime and could range from days to years. It was generally thought that the longer the quicklime was soaked, the better it would perform. The Standard Specification for Quicklime for Structural Purposes was developed in 1913. After the turn of the century, the use of hydrated lime products began. Water was added to quicklime at the manufacturing plant to reduce the amount of time required for soaking at the jobsite. In the late 1930's, the production of pressure hydrated dolomitic lime products began. These products required only short periods of soaking (20 minutes or less) prior to use. In 1946 the Standard Specification for Hydrated Lime for Masonry Purposes (ASTM C207) was published. This standard identified two and later four types of lime products that could be used in masonry applications.

-- More information on Mason's Lime specifications.

Lime products have played a significant role in masonry construction for thousands of years. Prior to 1930, most masonry construction utilized lime based mortars. Lime has proven performance that is demonstrated by structures, such as the Great Wall of China, which have lasted for hundreds of years. The reasons for using lime in mortar 2000 years ago still remain valid today.

-- More information on Lime-based mortars in modern masonry construction.


Neolithic construction Edit

The Neolithic, also known as the "New Stone Age", was a time period roughly from 9000 BC to 5000 BC named because it was the last period of the age before wood working began. The tools available were made from natural materials including bone, hide, stone, wood, grasses, animal fibers, and the use of water. These tools were used by people to cut such as with the hand axe, chopper, adze, and celt. Also to scrape, chop such as with a flake tool, pound, pierce, roll, pull and leaver.

Building materials included bones such as mammoth ribs, hide, stone, metal, bark, bamboo, clay, lime plaster, and more. For example, the first bridges made by humans were probably just wooden logs placed across a stream and later timber trackways. In addition to living in caves and rock shelters, the first buildings were simple shelters, tents like the Inuit's tupiq, and huts sometimes built as pit-houses meant to suit the basic needs of protection from the elements and sometimes as fortifications for safety such as the crannog. Built self-sufficiently by their inhabitants rather than by specialist builders, using locally available materials and traditional designs and methods which together are called vernacular architecture.

The very simplest shelters, tents, leave no traces. Because of this, what little we can say about very early construction is mostly conjecture and based on what we know about the way nomadic hunter-gatherers and herdsmen in remote areas build shelters today. The absence of metal tools placed limitations on the materials that could be worked, but it was still possible to build quite elaborate stone structures with ingenuity using dry stone walling techniques such as at Skara Brae in Scotland, Europe's most complete Neolithic village. The first mud bricks, formed with the hands rather than wooden moulds, belong to the Neolithic period and were found in Jericho. One of the largest structures of this period was the Neolithic long house. In all cases of timber framed and log structures in these very early cultures, only the very lowest parts of the walls and post holes are unearthed in archaeological excavations, making reconstruction of the upper parts of these buildings largely conjectural.

Neolithic architecture ranges from the tent to the megalith (an arrangement of large stones) and rock-cut architecture which are frequently temples, tombs, and dwellings. The most remarkable Neolithic structure in Western Europe is the iconic megalith known as Stonehenge, regarded by some archaeologists as displaying methods of timber construction such as at woodhenge translated into stone, [2] a process known as petrification. The now ruinous remains are of post and lintel construction and include massive sandstone lintels which were located on supporting uprights by means of mortise and tenon joints the lintels themselves being end-jointed by the use of tongue and groove joints. [3] There is also evidence of prefabrication of the stonework the symmetrical geometric arrays of stone clearly indicate that the builders of Stonehenge had mastered sophisticated surveying methods. [4] Neolithic villages large enough to have rural and urban features are called proto-cities to distinguish them from cities beginning with Eridu.

Gallery of Neolithic tools Edit

A Neolithic stone axe with a wooden handle.

A sickle for harvesting crops and thatching materials.

Various bone tools from China

Bone hammer from the Linear Pottery Culture

A sledge for moving heavy materials.

The Copper Age is the early part of the Bronze Age. Bronze is made when tin is added to copper and brass is copper with zinc. Copper came into use before 5,000 BC and bronze around 3,100 BC, although the times vary by region. Copper and bronze were used for the same types of tools as stone such as axes and chisels, but the new, less brittle, more durable material cut better. Bronze was cast into desired shapes and if damaged could be recast. A new tool developed in the copper age is the saw. Other uses of copper and bronze were to "harden" the cutting edge of tools such as the Egyptians using copper and bronze points for working soft stone including quarrying blocks and making rock-cut architecture.

During the Bronze Age the corbelled arch came into use such as for beehive tombs. The wheel came into use but was not common until much later. Heavy loads were moved on boats, sledges (a primitive sled) or on rollers. The Egyptians began building stone temples with the post and lintel construction method and the Greeks and Romans followed this style.

The Iron Age is a cultural period from roughly 1200 BC to 50 BC with the widespread use of iron for tools and weapons. Iron is not much harder than bronze but by adding carbon iron becomes steel which was being produced after about 300 BC. Steel can be hardened and tempered producing a sharp, durable cutting edge. A new woodworking tool allowed by the use of steel is the hand-plane.

Ancient Mesopotamia Edit

The earliest large-scale buildings for which evidence survives have been found in ancient Mesopotamia. The smaller dwellings only survive in traces of foundations, but the later civilizations built very sizeable structures in the forms of palaces, temples and ziggurats and took particular care to build them out of materials that last, which has ensured that very considerable parts have remained intact. Major technical achievement is evidenced by the construction of great cities such as Uruk and Ur. The Ziggurat of Ur is an outstanding building of the period, despite major reconstruction work. Another fine example is the ziggurat at Chogha Zanbil in modern Iran. Cities created demands for new technologies such as drains for animal and human sewage and paved streets.

Archaeological evidence has shown the existence of pitched-brick vault [5] s such as at Tell al-Rimah in what is now Iraq.

Materials Edit

The chief building material was the mud-brick, formed in wooden moulds similar to those used to make adobe bricks. Bricks varied widely in size and format from small bricks that could be lifted in one hand to ones as big as large paving slabs. Rectangular and square bricks were both common. They were laid in virtually every bonding pattern imaginable and used with considerable sophistication. Drawings survive on clay tablets from later periods showing that buildings were set out on brick modules. By 3500 BC, fired bricks came into use and surviving records show a very complex division of labour into separate tasks and trades. [ citation needed ] Fired bricks and stone were used for pavement.

Life in general was governed by complex ritual and this extended to rituals for setting-out buildings and moulding the first bricks. Contrary to popular belief the arch was not invented by the Romans, but was used in these civilizations. [ citation needed ] The later Mesopotamian civilizations, particularly Babylon and thence Susa, developed glazed brickwork to a very high degree, decorating the interiors and exteriors of their buildings with glazed brick reliefs, examples of which survive in the Tehran archaeological museum, the Louvre Museum in Paris and the Pergamon Museum in Berlin.

Detail of the Ishtar Gate (575 BC) showing the exceptionally fine glazed brickwork of the later period. Glazed bricks have been found from the 13th century B.C.

The pitched-brick vault is a type found in Mesopotamia circa 2000 BC.

Babylon,the archaeological site in 1932, before major reconstruction work undertaken by Sadam Hussein

Dried bricks stacked ready for firing without the use of a kiln.

Egyptian stonework showing tool marks and butterfly interlocks in the Temple of Kom Ombo begun 180-145 BC

Ancient Egypt Edit

As opposed to the cultures of ancient Mesopotamia which built in brick, the pharaohs of Egypt built huge structures in stone. The arid climate has preserved much of the ancient buildings.

Materials Edit

Adobe (sun-baked mud brick) construction was used for ancillary buildings and normal houses in ancient times and is still commonly used in rural Egypt. The hot, dry climate was ideal for mud-brick, which tends to wash away in the rain. The Ramesseum in Thebes, Egypt (Luxor) provides one of the finest examples of mud brick construction. Extensive storehouses with mud-brick vaults also survive, all constructed with sloping courses to avoid the need for formwork.

The grandest buildings were constructed in stone, often from massive masonry blocks. The techniques used to move massive blocks used in pyramids and temples have been subject to extensive debate. Some authors have suggested that the larger may not be cut stone but fabricated with concrete. [ citation needed ]

Technology Edit

Although the Egyptians achieved extraordinary feats of engineering, they appear to have done so with relatively primitive technology. As far as is known they did not use wheels or pulleys. They transported massive stones over great distances using rollers, ropes and sledges hauled by large numbers of workers. The ancient Egyptians are credited with inventing the ramp, lever, lathe, oven, ship, paper, irrigation system, window, awning, door, glass, a form of plaster of Paris, the bath, lock, shadoof, weaving, a standardized measurement system, geometry, silo, a method of drilling stone, saw, steam power, proportional scale drawings, enameling, veneer, plywood, rope truss, and more. There are no surviving Egyptian manuals so there has been considerable speculation on how stones were lifted to great heights and obelisks erected. Most theories centre on the use of ramps.

Imhotep, who lived circa 2650–2600 BC, is credited with being the first recorded architect and engineer.

Achievements Edit

The pyramids are chiefly impressive for their enormous size and the staggering manpower that must have been employed in their construction. The largest is the Great Pyramid of Giza which remained the tallest structure in the world for 3800 years (see List of tallest freestanding structures in the world). The engineering problems involved were chiefly to do with the transport of blocks, sometimes over long distances, their movement into location and exact alignment. It is now generally agreed that the skilled building workers were respected and well treated, but undoubtedly very large numbers of labourers were necessary to provide the brute force.

The methods used in the construction of the pyramids have been the subject of considerable research and discussion (see: Egyptian pyramid construction techniques).

Great Pyramid of Giza, the tallest building in the world for over 3800 years

Ancient Greece Edit

The ancient Greeks, like the Egyptians and the Mesopotamians, tended to build most of their common buildings out of mud brick, leaving no record behind them. However many structures do survive, some of which are in a very good state of repair, although some have been partly reconstructed or re-erected in the modern era. The most dramatic is the Greek Temples. The Greeks made many advances in technology including plumbing, the spiral staircase, central heating, urban planning, the water wheel, the crane, and more.

The oldest "construction drawing" is in the Temple of Apollo at Didyma. An unfinished stone wall was etched with the profiles of columns and mouldings, and the wall was never finished so the drawing was not erased: a rare glimpse into the history of working construction drawings. [6]

No timber structures survive (roofs, floors etc.), so our knowledge of how these were put together is limited. The spans are, in the main, limited and suggest very simple beam and post structures spanning stone walls. For the longer spans, it is uncertain if the Greeks or Romans invented the truss but the Romans certainly used timber roof trusses. Before 650 B.C.E. the now famous ancient Greek temples were built of wood, but after this date began to be built of stone. [7] The process of a timber structure being repeated in stone is called petrification [8] or "petrified carpentry".

Fired clay was mainly restricted to roofing tiles and associated decorations, but these were quite elaborate. The roof tiles allow a low roof pitch characteristic of ancient Greek architecture. Fired bricks began to be employed with lime mortar. Very prominent buildings were roofed in stone tiles, which mimicked the form of their terracotta counterparts. While later cultures tended to construct their stone buildings with thin skins of finished stones over rubble cores, the Greeks tended to build out of large cut blocks, joined with metal cramps. This was a slow, expensive and laborious process which limited the number of buildings that could be constructed. The metal cramps often failed through corrosion.

Building structures mostly used a simple beam and column system without vaults or arches, which based strict limits on the spans that could be achieved. However, the Greeks did construct some groin vaults, arch bridges and, with the Egyptians, the first "high rise", the Lighthouse of Alexandria, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Greek mathematics was technically advanced and we know for certain that they employed and understood the principles of pulleys, which would have enabled them to build jibs and cranes to lift heavy stonework to the upper parts of buildings. Their surveying skills were exceptional, enabling them to set out the incredibly exact optical corrections of buildings like the Parthenon, although the methods used remain a mystery. Simpler decoration, such as fluting on columns, was simply left until the drums of the columns were cut in place.

The ancient Greeks never developed the strong mortars which became an important feature of Roman construction.

Roman Empire Edit

In striking contrast to previous cultures, an enormous amount is known about Roman building construction. A very large amount survives, including complete intact buildings like the Pantheon, Rome and very well preserved ruins at Pompeii and Herculaneum. We also have the first surviving treatise on architecture by Vitruvius which includes extensive passages on construction techniques.

Materials Edit

The great Roman development in building materials was the use of hydraulic lime mortar called Roman cement. Previous cultures had used lime mortars but by adding volcanic ash called a pozzolana the mortar would harden under water. This provided them with a strong material for bulk walling. They used brick or stone to build the outer skins of the wall and then filled the cavity with massive amounts of concrete, effectively using the brickwork as permanent shuttering (formwork). Later they used wooden shuttering that was removed for the concrete to cure.

An example of a temple made of Roman concrete in the 1st century BC is the Temple of Vesta in Tivoli, Italy. The concrete was made of nothing more than rubble and mortar. It was cheap and very easy to produce and required relatively unskilled labour to use, enabling the Romans to build on an unprecedented scale. They not only used it for walls but also to form arches, barrel vaults and domes, which they built over huge spans. The Romans developed systems of hollow pots for making their domes and sophisticated heating and ventilation systems for their thermal baths. [ citation needed ] .

The Romans substituted bronze for wood in the roof truss(s) of the Pantheon's portico which was commissioned between 27 BC and 14 AD. The bronze trusses were unique but in 1625 Pope Urban VIII had the trusses replaced with wood and melted the bronze down for other uses. The Romans also made bronze roof tiles.

Lead was used for roof covering material and water supply and waste pipes. The Latin name for lead is plumbum thus plumbing. Romans also made use of glass in construction with colored glass in mosaics and clear glass for windows. Glass came to be fairly commonly used in windows of public buildings. [9] Central heating in the form of a hypocaust, a raised floor heated by the exhaust of a wood or coal fire.

Organisation of labour Edit

The Romans had trade guilds. Most construction was done by slaves or free men. The use of slave labour undoubtedly cut costs and was one of the reasons for the scale of some of the structures. The Romans placed a considerable emphasis in building their buildings extremely fast, usually within two years. For very large structures the only way this could be achieved was by the application of vast numbers of workers to the task.

Technology Edit

The invention of the waterwheel, sawmill, and arch were by the Romans. The Romans also began using glass for architectural purposes after about 100 CE and used double glazing as insulated glazing. Roman roads included corduroy roads and paved roads, sometimes supported on raft or pile foundations and bridges. Vitruvius gives details of many Roman machines. The Romans developed sophisticated timber cranes allowing them to lift considerable weights to great heights. The upper limit of lifting appears to have been about 100 tonnes. Trajan's column in Rome contains some of the largest stones ever lifted in a Roman building, and engineers are still uncertain exactly how it was achieved.

A list of the longest, highest and deepest Roman structures can be found in the List of ancient architectural records. Roman building ingenuity extended over bridges, aqueducts, and covered amphitheatres. Their sewerage and water-supply works were remarkable and some systems are still in operation today. The only aspect of Roman construction for which very little evidence survives is the form of timber roof structures, none of which seem to have survived intact. Possibly, triangulated roof trusses were built, this being the only conceivable way of constructing the immense spans achieved, the longest exceeding 30 metres (see List of ancient Greek and Roman roofs).

China Edit

China is a cultural hearth area of eastern Asia, many Far East building methods and styles evolved from China. A famous example of Chinese construction is the Great Wall of China built between the 7th and 2nd centuries BC. The Great Wall was built with rammed earth, stones, and wood and later bricks and tiles with lime mortar. Wooden gates blocked passageways. The oldest archaeological examples of mortise and tenon type woodworking joints were found in China dating to about 5000 BC.

The Yingzao Fashi is the oldest complete technical manual on Chinese architecture. The Chinese followed the state rules for thousands of years so many of the ancient, surviving buildings were built with the methods and materials still used in the 11th century. Chinese temples are typically wooden timber frames on an earth and stone base. The oldest wooden building is the Nanchan Temple (Wutai) dating from 782 AD. However, Chinese temple builders regularly rebuild the wooden temples so some parts of these ancient buildings are of different ages. Traditional Chinese timber frames do not use trusses but rely only on post and lintel construction. An important architectural element are the dougong bracket sets. The Songyue Pagoda is the oldest brick pagoda dating to 523 AD. It was built with yellow fired bricks laid in clay mortar, with twelve sides and fifteen levels of roofs. The Anji Bridge is the world's oldest "open-spandrel stone segmental arch bridge" built in 595-605 AD. The bridge is built with sandstone joined with dovetail, iron joints.

Most of the (restored) Great Wall sections we see today were built with bricks, and cut stone blocks/slabs. Where bricks and blocks weren't available, tamped earth, uncut stones, wood, and even reeds were used as local materials. Wood was used for forts and as an auxiliary material. Where local timber wasn't enough, they had it delivered in.

Stone Great Wall Sections Edit

In mountain areas, workers quarried stone to build the Great Wall. Using the mountains themselves as footings, the outer layer of the Great Wall was built with stone blocks (and bricks), and filled with uncut stone and anything else available (like earth and dead workers).

Soil Great Wall Sections Edit

On the plains Great Wall workers made use of local soil (sand, loess, etc.) and rammed it into compact layers. Jiayuguan's Great Wall section in west China was mainly built with dusty loess soil, claimed as "the most erodible soil on the planet".

Sand (and Reed/Willow) Great Wall Sections Edit

Sand doesn't stick together, so how could a wall be built with sand? Sand was used as a fill material between reed and willow layers.

West China around Dunhuang is desert. Innovative builders there made use of reeds and willow brought in from rivers and oases to build a strong wall. Jade Gate Pass (Yumenguan) Great Wall Fort was built with 20-cm layers of sand and reed, an impressive 9 meters high.

Brick Great Wall Sections Edit

The Ming Dynasty Great Wall was mostly built with bricks. To build a strong wall with bricks, they used lime mortar. Workers built brick and cement factories with local materials near the wall.

The Middle Ages of Europe span from the 5th to 15th centuries AD from the fall of the Western Roman Empire to the Renaissance and is divided into Pre-Romanesque and Romanesque periods.

Fortifications, castles and cathedrals were the greatest construction projects. The Middle Ages began with the end of the Roman era and many Roman building techniques were lost. But some Roman techniques, including the use of iron ring-beams, appear to have been used in the Palatine Chapel at Aachen, c. 800 AD, where it is believed builders from the Langobard Kingdom in northern Italy contributed to the work. [10] A revival of stone buildings in the 9th century and the Romanesque style of architecture began in the late 11th century. Also notable are the stave churches in Scandinavia.

Materials Edit

Most buildings in Northern Europe were constructed of timber until c. 1000 AD. In Southern Europe adobe remained predominant. Brick continued to be manufactured in Italy throughout the period 600–1000 AD but elsewhere the craft of brick-making had largely disappeared and with it the methods for burning tiles. Roofs were largely thatched. Houses were small and gathered around a large communal hall. Monasticism spread more sophisticated building techniques. The Cistercians may have been responsible for reintroducing brick-making to the area [ clarification needed ] from the Netherlands, through Denmark and Northern Germany to Poland leading to Backsteingotik. Brick remained the most popular prestige material in these areas throughout the period. [ citation needed ] Elsewhere buildings were typically in timber or where it could be afforded, stone. Medieval stone walls were constructed using cut blocks on the outside of the walls and rubble infill, with weak lime mortars. The poor hardening properties of these mortars were a continual problem, and the settlement of the rubble filling of Romanesque and Gothic walls and piers is still a major cause for concern.

Design Edit

There were no standard textbooks on building in the Middle Ages. Master craftsmen transferred their knowledge through apprenticeships and from father to son. Trade secrets were closely guarded, as they were the source of a craftsman's livelihood. Drawings only survive from the later period. Parchment was too expensive to be commonly used and paper did not appear until the end of the period. Models were used for designing structures and could be built to large scales. Details were mostly designed at full size on tracing floors, some of which survive.

Labour Edit

In general, medieval buildings were built by paid workers. Unskilled work was done by labourers paid by the day. Skilled craftsmen served apprenticeships or learned their trade from their parents. It is not clear how many women were members of a guild holding a monopoly on a particular trade in a defined area (usually within the town walls). Towns were in general very small by modern standards and dominated by the dwellings of a small number of rich nobles or merchants, and by cathedrals and churches.

Techniques Edit

Romanesque buildings of the period 600–1100 AD [ clarification needed ] were entirely roofed in timber or had stone barrel vaults covered by timber roofs. The Gothic style of architecture with its vaults, flying buttresses and pointed gothic arches developed in the twelfth century, and in the centuries that followed ever more incredible feats of constructional daring were achieved in stone. Thin stone vaults and towering buildings were constructed using rules derived by trial and error. Failures were frequent, particularly in difficult areas such as crossing towers.

The pile driver was invented around 1500.

Achievements Edit

The scale of fortifications and castle building in the Middle Ages was remarkable, but the outstanding buildings of the period were the Gothic cathedrals with thin masonry vaults and walls of glass. Outstanding examples are: Beauvais Cathedral, Chartres Cathedral, King's College Chapel and Notre Dame, Paris.

The Renaissance in Italy, the invention of moveable type and the Reformation changed the character of building. The rediscovery of Vitruvius had a strong influence. During the Middle Ages buildings were designed by the people that built them. The master mason and master carpenters learnt their trades by word of mouth and relied on experience, models and rules of thumb to determine the sizes of building elements. Vitruvius however describes in detail the education of the perfect architect who, he said, must be skilled in all the arts and sciences. Filippo Brunelleschi was one of the first of the new style of architects. He started life as a goldsmith and educated himself in Roman architecture by studying ruins. He went on to engineer the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence.

Materials Edit

The major breakthroughs in this period were to do with the technology of conversion. Water mills in most of western Europe were used to saw timber and convert trees into planks. Bricks were used in ever increasing quantities. In Italy the brickmakers were organised into guilds although the kilns were mostly in rural areas because of the risk of fire and easy availability of firewood and brickearth. Brickmakers were typically paid by the brick, which gave them an incentive to make them too small. As a result, legislation was laid down regulating the minimum sizes and each town kept measures against which bricks had to be compared. An increasing amount of ironwork was used in roof carpentry for straps and tension members. The iron was fixed using forelock bolts. The screw-threaded bolt (and nut) could be made and are found in clockmaking in this period, but they were labour-intensive and thus not used on large structures. Roofing was typically of terracotta roof tiles. In Italy they followed Roman precedents. In northern Europe plain tiles were used. Stone, where available, remained the material of choice for prestige buildings.

Design Edit

The rebirth of the idea of an architect in the Renaissance radically changed the nature of building design. The Renaissance reintroduced the classical style of architecture. Leon Battista Alberti's treatise on architecture raised the subject to a new level, defining architecture as something worthy of study by the aristocracy. Previously it was viewed merely as a technical art, suited only to the artisan. The resulting change in status of architecture and more importantly the architect is key to understanding the changes in the process of design. The Renaissance architect was often an artist (a painter or sculptor) who had little knowledge of building technology but a keen grasp of the rules of classical design. The architect thus had to provide detailed drawings for the craftsmen setting out the disposition of the various parts. This was what is called the process of design, from the Italian word for drawing. Occasionally the architect would get involved in particularly difficult technical problems but the technical side of architecture was mainly left up to the craftsmen. This change in the way buildings were designed had a fundamental difference on the way problems were approached. Where the Medieval craftsmen tended to approach a problem with a technical solution in mind, the Renaissance architects started with an idea of what the end product needed to look like and then searched around for a way of making it work. This led to extraordinary leaps forward in engineering.

Vitruvius, "De architectura", the First Printed Work on Classical Architecture

The first printed edition of Vitrivius was unillustrated except for a few diagrams.

Printer Eucharius Silber issued the editio princeps of Vitruvius, De architectura in Rome between 1486 and August 16, 1487. The edition was edited by the Italian Renaissance humanist and rhetorician Fra Giovanni Sulpizio da Veroli (Johannes Sulpitius Verulanus).

"In 1486 Sulpizio prepared the first printed edition of Vitruvius' De Architectura for the press the work had long circulated in manuscripts, some of them corrupt. The volume, which also includes the text of Frontinus' De aquaeductu describing the aqueducts of Rome, was dedicated to Cardinal Riario, an enthusiastic supporter of the ideals of the Pomponian sodalitas the dedicatory epistle urges Riario to complete the recovery of classical Roman buildings with a theatre. In his preface Sulpizio urges readers to send him emendations of the notoriously crabbed and difficult text. With Vitruvius' text in hand, Sulpizio directed the erection of a reproduction open-air Roman theater in front of Palazzo Riario in Campo dei Fiori, Rome there, in 1486 or 1488 his students mounted the first production of a Roman tragedy that had been seen since Antiquity, in the presence of Pope Innocent VIII. The play they chose was Seneca's Phaedra, which they knew as Hippolytus" (Wikipedia article on Giovanni Sulpizio da Veroli, accessed 01-04-2010).

Regarding Vitruvius's text and its manuscript transmission, see the entry in this database for Vitruvius circa 800 CE. For the earliest illustrated editions see the Vitruvius entries for 1511 and 1521.

Carter & Muir, Printing and the Mind of Man (1967) no. 26. ISTC no. iv00306000. In November 2013 a digital facsimile was available from the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek at this link.

What is Architectural Style?

An architectural style is a representation of an art form in a building making its features and structures historically identifiable. Based on the architectural style, there are different features and genres. The style talks about the various aspects such as materials, regional character, form, method of making, and so on. There&rsquos a complete chronology for the buildings and styles that keep on changing over the time period. It is usually because of the changes in belief, religion, fashion, and of course the technology and innovation in new materials and tools for construction, that the architecture always keeps on exploring new horizons.

Timeline of Architectural Style

The styles of the different chronological era are listed under architectural history. Based on the fashion of the period, the architects have contributed to adapting newer ideas. These architectural styles have, however, seen gradual development over time with different twists based on the area it spreads. The revival of a new or old genre in architecture is pretty common. For instance, neoclassicism eventually brought back classicism.

Vernacular architecture has also found its way in modern architecture and is often considered as a different part. The vernacular architecture, however, varies from one state, country to another. It, however, gives birth to the national and international styles as well. Vernacular architecture is very much prominent in India as well as in western society.

Also Read: Importance of Vernacular Architecture


Origins Edit

Classical architecture is derived from the architecture of ancient Greece and ancient Rome. With a collapse of the western part of the Roman empire, the architectural traditions of the Roman empire ceased to be practised in large parts of western Europe. In the Byzantine Empire, the ancient ways of building lived on but relatively soon developed into a distinct Byzantine style. [7] The first conscious efforts to bring back the disused language of form of classical antiquity into Western architecture can be traced to the Carolingian Renaissance of the late 8th and 9th centuries. The gatehouse of Lorsch Abbey (c. 800), in present-day Germany thus displays a system of alternating attached columns and arches which could be an almost direct paraphrase of e.g., that of the Colosseum in Rome. [8] Byzantine architecture, just as Romanesque and even to some extent Gothic architecture (with which classical architecture is often posed), can also incorporate classical elements and details but do not to the same degree reflect a conscious effort to draw upon the architectural traditions of antiquity for example, they do not observe the idea of a systematic order of proportions for columns. In general, therefore, they are not considered classical architectural styles in a strict sense. [9]

Development Edit

During the Italian Renaissance and with the demise of Gothic style, major efforts were made by architects such as Leon Battista Alberti, Sebastiano Serlio and Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola to revive the language of architecture of first and foremost ancient Rome. This was done in part through the study of the ancient Roman architectural treatise De architectura by Vitruvius, and to some extent by studying the actual remains of ancient Roman buildings in Italy. [10] Nonetheless, the classical architecture of the Renaissance from the outset represents a highly specific interpretation of the classical ideas. In a building like the Ospedale degli Innocenti in Florence by Filippo Brunelleschi, one of the earliest Renaissance buildings (built 1419–45), the treatment of the columns for example has no direct antecedent in ancient Roman architecture. [11] During this time period, the study of ancient architecture developed into the architectural theory of classical architecture somewhat over-simplified, one could say that classical architecture in its variety of forms ever since have been interpretations and elaborations of the architectural rules set down during antiquity. [12]

Most of the styles originating in post-Renaissance Europe can be described as classical architecture. This broad use of the term is employed by Sir John Summerson in The Classical Language of Architecture. The elements of classical architecture have been applied in radically different architectural contexts than those for which they were developed, however. For example, Baroque or Rococo architecture are styles which, although classical at root, display an architectural language very much in their own right. During these periods, architectural theory still referred to classical ideas but rather less sincerely than during the Renaissance. [13]

The Palladian architecture developed from the style of the Venetian architect Andrea Palladio (1508–1580) had a great influence long after his death, above all in Britain, where it was adopted for many of the grander buildings of the Georgian architecture of the 18th and early 19th century.

As a reaction to late Baroque and Rococo forms, architectural theorists from circa 1750 through what became known as Neoclassicism again consciously and earnestly attempted to emulate antiquity, supported by recent developments in Classical archaeology and a desire for an architecture based on clear rules and rationality. Claude Perrault, Marc-Antoine Laugier and Carlo Lodoli were among the first theorists of Neoclassicism, while Étienne-Louis Boullée, Claude Nicolas Ledoux, Friedrich Gilly and John Soane were among the more radical and influential. [14] Neoclassical architecture held a particularly strong position on the architectural scene c. 1750–1850. The competing neo-Gothic style however rose to popularity during the early 1800s, and the later part the 19th century was characterised by a variety of styles, some of them only slightly or not at all related to classicism (such as Art Nouveau), and Eclecticism. Although classical architecture continued to play an important role and for periods of time at least locally dominated the architectural scene, as exemplified by the Nordic Classicism during the 1920s, classical architecture in its stricter form never regained its former dominance. With the advent of Modernism during the early 20th century, classical architecture arguably almost completely ceased to be practised. [15]

As noted above, classical styles of architecture dominated Western architecture for a very long time, roughly from the Renaissance until the advent of Modernism. That is to say, that classical antiquity at least in theory was considered the prime source of inspiration for architectural endeavours in the West for much of Modern history. Even so, because of liberal, personal or theoretically diverse interpretations of the antique heritage, classicism covers a broad range of styles, some even so to speak cross-referencing, like Neo-Palladian architecture, which draws its inspiration from the works of Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio, who himself drew inspiration from ancient Roman architecture. [16] Furthermore, it can even be argued that styles of architecture not typically considered classical, like Gothic, can be said to contain classical elements. Therefore, a simple delineation of the scope of classical architecture is difficult to make. [17] The more or less defining characteristic can still be said to be a reference to ancient Greek or Roman architecture, and the architectural rules or theories that derived from that architecture.

In the grammar of architecture, the word petrification is often used when discussing the development of sacred structures such as temples, mainly with reference to developments in the Greek world. During the Archaic and early Classical periods (about the 6th and early 5th centuries BC), the architectural forms of the earliest temples had solidified and the Doric emerged as the predominant element. A widely accepted theory in classical studies is that the earliest temple structures were of wood and the great forms, or elements of architectural style, were codified and rather permanent by the time we see the Archaic emergent and established. It was during this period, at different times and places in the Greek world, that the use of dressed and polished stone replaced the wood in these early temples, but the forms and shapes of the old wooden styles were retained, just as if the wooden structures had turned to stone, thus the designation "petrification" [18] or sometimes "petrified carpentry" [19] for this process.

This careful preservation of the primitive wooden appearance in the stone fabric of the newer buildings was scrupulously observed and this suggests that it may have been dictated by religion rather than aesthetics, although the exact reasons are now lost in the mists of antiquity. Not everyone within the great reach of Mediterranean civilization made this transition. The Etruscans in Italy were, from their earliest period, greatly influenced by their contact with Greek culture and religion, but they retained their wooden temples (with some exceptions) until their culture was completely absorbed into the Roman world, with the great wooden Temple of Jupiter on the Capitol in Rome itself being a good example. Nor was it the lack of knowledge of stone working on their part that prevented them from making the transition from timber to dressed stone.

The Greek Orders of Architecture

When studying an era-by-era timeline of ancient Greece, the height of Greek civilization was known as Classical Greece, from about 500 B.C. The inventive ancient Greeks developed three architecture orders using three distinct column styles. The earliest known stone column is from the Doric order, named for architecture first seen in the Dorian area of western Greece. Not to be outdone, the builders in the eastern Greece area of Ionia developed their own column style, which is known as the Ionic order. Classical orders are not unique to each area, but they were named for the part of Greece where they were first observed. The most ornate Grecian order, the latest developed and perhaps the most well-known by today's observer is the Corinthian order, first seen in the central area of Greece called Corinth.

Encyclopedia Britannia credits Roman architect and engineer Vitruvius with inventing the odometer in 15 BCE. It used a chariot wheel, which is of standard size, turned 400 times in a Roman mile and was mounted in a frame with a 400-tooth cogwheel. For each mile, the cogwheel engaged a gear that dropped a pebble into the box. You knew how many miles you went by counting the pebbles. It was pushed by hand, though it may never have been actually built and used.

Blaise Pascal (1623 - 1662) invented a prototype of an odometer, the calculating machine called a "Pascaline." The Pasacaline was constructed of gears and wheels. Each gear contained 10 teeth that when moved one complete revolution, advanced a second gear one place. This is the same principle employed in the mechanical odometer.

Thomas Savery (1650 - 1715) was an English military engineer and inventor who patented the first crude steam engine in 1698. Among Savery's other inventions was an odometer for ships, a device that measured distance traveled.

Ben Franklin (1706 - 1790) is best known as a statesman and writer. However, he was also an inventor who invented swim fins, bifocals, a glass harmonica, watertight bulkheads for ships, the lightning rod, a wood stove, and an odometer. While serving as Postmaster General in 1775, Franklin decided to analyze the best routes for delivering the mail. He created a simple odometer to help measure the mileage of the routes that he attached to his carriage.

An odometer called the roadometer was invented in 1847 by the Morman pioneers crossing the plains from Missouri to Utah. The roadometer attached to a wagon wheel and counted the revolutions of the wheel as the wagon traveled. It was designed by William Clayton and Orson Pratt and built by carpenter Appleton Milo Harmon. Clayton was inspired to invent the roadometer after developing his first method of recording the distance the pioneers traveled each day. Clayton had determined that 360 revolutions of a wagon wheel made a mile, he then tied a red rag to the wheel and counted the revolutions to keep an accurate record of the mileage traveled. After seven days, this method became tiresome, and Clayton went on to invent the roadometer that was first used on the morning of May 12, 1847. William Clayton is also known for his writing of the pioneer hymn "Come, Come, Ye Saints."

In 1854, Samuel McKeen of Nova Scotia designed another early version of the odometer, a device that measures mileage driven. His version was attached to the side of a carriage and measured the miles with the turning of the wheels.

Watch the video: How To Be A Successful Architect - Vitruvius 12 (October 2022).

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