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Posted by bender 03/16/2009 @ 22:11

Tags : architecture, fine arts

News headlines
Architecture Review Renzo Piano Embraces Chicago - New York Times
In some ways Mr. Piano's refined, risk-averse architecture may be more appealing than ever. He is not out to start a revolution. His designs are about tranquillity, not conflict. The serenity of his best buildings can almost make you believe that we...
The Prince of Wales on architecture: his 10 'monstrous carbuncles' -
WHAT THE PRINCE SAID: On 30 May 1984 Prince Charles sent shock waves through architecture when he used a speech to the 150th anniversary of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) to lambast modern design, describing a scheme by Peter Ahrends...
Intel Aims To Extend Its Architecture - PC Magazine
Intel CEO Paul Otellini talked about "extending the Intel architecture" from the Atom processor used in the Netbook, Handheld, Embedded, and Consumer electronics market through the "Core" brand used in traditional PC markets to the Xeon processors...
Meier Architecture to be featured at business event Thursday - Mid Columbia Tri City Herald
By Pratik Joshi Meier Architecture Engineering will showcase its business May 14 to members of the Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce and guests at Business After Hours event. The free networking program, sponsored by the chamber, runs from 5 to 7...
DC Lets Church Tear Down Brutalist Atrocity - Washington Post
....Although the Church's present predicament results from design choices it agreed to, albeit reluctantly, those choices were made in the hope of achieving breakthrough architecture. To force this congregation to live with, and almost certainly die as...
County, UTSA architecture students collaborate - UTSA Today
(May 12, 2009)--Bexar County Commissioner Kevin Wolff (Precinct 3), the UTSA College of Architecture and construction professionals celebrated May 11 the completion of the second successful design-build project at Raymond Russell Park....
3 Tales of Systems Architecture Dilemmas -
In this first installment, we hear from three IT professionals about three different challenges with systems architecture. How many of your critical systems and applications have a web interface? According to Phil Dolbow, a principal with CyberDefenses...
Brian Lubben joins Genesis Architecture -
by Jim Brubaker Brian Lubben has joined Genesis Architecture, based in Minneapolis, as senior vice president and director of architecture. Lubben will lead a team of architects, planners and interior designers in his new position....
A look at the Nvidia GT300 architecture - Inquirer
Let's clear some air on this Larrabee-lite architecture. First of all, almost everything you have heard about the two upcoming DX11 architectures is wrong. There is a single source making up news, and second rate sites are parroting it left and right....
Welsh announces deals, new architecture director - Finance and Commerce
In other news, Welsh's Genesis Architecture hired Brian Lubben as senior vice president, director of architecture to lead the Genesis team of planners, architects and interior designers. Prior to joining Welsh, Lubben had been with Collaborative Design...


Vernacular architecture in Denmark.

The term architecture (from Greek αρχιτεκτονική, architektonike) can refer to a process, a profession or documentation.

As a process, architecture is the activity of designing and constructing buildings and other physical structures by a person or a computer, primarily to provide shelter. A wider definition often includes the design of the total built environment, from the macro level of how a building integrates with its surrounding landscape (see town planning, urban design, and landscape architecture) to the micro level of architectural or construction details and, sometimes, furniture. Wider still, architecture is the activity of designing any kind of system.

As a profession, architecture is the role of those persons or machines providing architectural services.

As documentation, usually based on drawings, architecture defines the structure and/or behavior of a building or any other kind of system that is to be or has been constructed.

Architects have as their primary object providing for the spatial and shelter needs of people in groups of some kind (families, schools, churches, businesses, etc.) by the creative organisation of materials and components in a land- or city-scape, dealing with mass, space, form, volume, texture, structure, light, shadow, materials, program, and pragmatic elements such as cost, construction limitations and technology, to achieve an end which is functional, economical, practical and often with artistic and aesthetic aspects. This distinguishes architecture from engineering design, which has as its primary object the creative manipulation of materials and forms using mathematical and scientific principles.

Separate from the design process, architecture is also experienced through the senses, which therefore gives rise to aural, visual, olfactory, and tactile architecture. As people move through a space, architecture is experienced as a time sequence. Even though our culture considers architecture to be a visual experience, the other senses play a role in how we experience both natural and built environments. Attitudes towards the senses depend on culture. The design process and the sensory experience of a space are distinctly separate views, each with its own language and assumptions.

Architectural works are perceived as cultural and political symbols and works of art. Historical civilizations are often known primarily through their architectural achievements. Such buildings as the pyramids of Egypt and the Roman Colosseum are cultural symbols, and are an important link in public consciousness, even when scholars have discovered much about a past civilization through other means. Cities, regions and cultures continue to identify themselves with (and are known by) their architectural monuments.

The word "architecture" comes from the Latin architectura and that from Greek αρχιτέκτων (architectu), "master builder", from the combination of αρχι- (archi-), "chief" or "leader" and τέκτων (tekton), a "builder" or "carpenter". While the primary application of the word "architecture" pertains to the built environment, by extension, the term has come to denote the art and discipline of creating an actual (or inferring an implied or apparent) plan of any complex object or system. The term can be used to connote the implied architecture of mathematics or of abstract things such as music, the apparent architecture of natural things, such as geological formations or the structure of biological cells, or explicitly planned architectures of which preserves the relationships among the elements or components.

According to Vitruvius, the architect should strive to fulfill each of these three attributes as well as possible.

Leone Battista Alberti, who elaborates on the ideas of Vitruvius in his treatise, De Re Aedificatoria, saw beauty primarily as a matter of proportion, although ornament also played a part. For Alberti, the rules of proportion were those that governed the idealised human figure, the Golden Mean. The most important aspect of beauty was therefore an inherent part of an object, rather than something applied superficially; and was based on universal, recognisable truths. The notion of style in the arts was not developed until the 16th century, with the writing of Vasari. The treatises, by the 18th century, had been translated into Italian, French, Spanish and English.

The 19th century English art critic, John Ruskin, in his Seven Lamps of Architecture, published 1849, was much narrower in his view of what constituted architecture. Architecture was the "art which so disposes and adorns the edifices raised by men ... that the sight of them" contributes "to his mental health, power, and pleasure". For Ruskin, the aesthetic was of overriding significance. His work goes on to state that a building is not truly a work of architecture unless it is in some way "adorned". For Ruskin, a well-constructed, well-proportioned, functional building needed string courses or rustication, at the very least.

On the difference between the ideals of "architecture" and mere "construction", the renowned 20th C. architect Le Corbusier wrote: "You employ stone, wood, and concrete, and with these materials you build houses and palaces: that is construction. Ingenuity is at work. But suddenly you touch my heart, you do me good. I am happy and I say: This is beautiful. That is Architecture".

The great 19th century architect of skyscrapers, Louis Sullivan, promoted an overriding precept to architectural design: "Form follows function".

While the notion that structural and aesthetic considerations should be entirely subject to functionality was met with both popularity and skepticism, it had the effect of introducing the concept of "function" in place of Vitruvius "utility". "Function" came to be seen as encompassing all criteria of the use, perception and enjoyment of a building, not only practical but also aesthetic, psychological and cultural.

Nunzia Rondanini stated, "Through its aesthetic dimension architecture goes beyond the functional aspects that it has in common with other human sciences. Through its own particular way of expressing values, architecture can stimulate and influence social life without presuming that, in and of itself, it will promote social development.

To restrict the meaning of (architectural) formalism to art for art's sake is not only reactionary; it can also be a purposeless quest for perfection or originality which degrades form into a mere instrumentality".

Among the philosophies that have influenced modern architects and their approach to building design are rationalism, empiricism, structuralism, poststructuralism, and phenomenology.

In the late 20th century a new concept was added to those included in the compass of both structure and function, the consideration of sustainability. To satisfy the modern ethos a building should be constructed in a manner which is environmentally friendly in terms of the production of its materials, its impact upon the natural and built environment of its surrounding area and the demands that it makes upon non-sustainable power sources for heating, cooling, water and waste management and lighting.

Architecture first evolved out of the dynamics between needs (shelter, security, worship, etc.) and means (available building materials and attendant skills). As human cultures developed and knowledge began to be formalized through oral traditions and practices, architecture became a craft. Here there is first a process of trial and error, and later improvisation or replication of a successful trial. What is termed Vernacular architecture continues to be produced in many parts of the world. Indeed, vernacular buildings make up most of the built world that people experience every day.

Early human settlements were mostly rural. Due to a surplus in production the economy began to expand resulting in urbanization thus creating urban areas which grew and evolved very rapidly in some cases, such as that of Çatal Huyuk in Anatolia and Mohenjo Daro in Pakistan. In many ancient civilizations, like the Egyptians' and Mesopotamians', architecture and urbanism reflected the constant engagement with the divine and the supernatural, while in other ancient cultures such as Persia architecture and urban planning was used to exemplify the power of the state.

The architecture and urbanism of the Classical civilizations such as the Greek and the Roman evolved from civic ideals rather than religious or empirical ones and new building types emerged. Architectural styles developed.

Texts on architecture began to be written in the Classical period. These became canons to be followed in important works, especially religious architecture. Some examples of canons are found in the writings of Vitruvius, the Kao Gong Ji of ancient China and Vaastu Shastra of ancient India.

The architecture of different parts of Asia developed along different lines to that of Europe, Buddhist, Hindu and Sikh architecture each having different characteristics. Buddhist architecture, in particular, showed great regional diversity. In many Asian countries a pantheistic religion led to architectural forms that were designed specifically to enhance the natural landscape.

Islamic architecture began in the 7th century CE, developing from the architectural forms of the ancient Middle East but developing features to suit the religious and social needs of the society. Examples can be found throughout the Middle East, North Africa and Spain, and were to become a significant stylistic influence on European architecture during the Medieval period.

In Europe, in both the Classical and Medieval periods, buildings were not attributed to specific individuals and the names of the architects frequently unknown, despite the vast scale of the many religious buildings extant from this period. During the Medieval period guilds were formed by craftsmen to organise their trade and written contracts have survived, particularly in relation to ecclesiastical buildings. The role of architect was usually one with master builder, except in the case where a cleric, such as the Abbot Suger at Saint Denis, Paris, provided the design. Over time the complexity of buildings and their types increased. General civil construction such as roads and bridges began to be built. Many new building types such as schools, hospitals, and recreational facilities emerged.

With the Renaissance and its emphasis on the individual and humanity rather than religion, and with all its attendant progress and achievements, a new chapter began. Buildings were ascribed to specific architects - Brunelleschi, Alberti, Michelangelo, Palladio - and the cult of the individual had begun. But there was no dividing line between artist, architect and engineer, or any of the related vocations. At this stage, it was still possible for an artist to design a bridge as the level of structural calculations involved was within the scope of the generalist.

With the emerging knowledge in scientific fields and the rise of new materials and technology, architecture and engineering began to separate, and the architect began to lose ground on some technical aspects of building design. He therefore concentrated on aesthetics and the humanist aspects.

There was also the rise of the "gentleman architect" who usually dealt with wealthy clients and concentrated predominantly on visual qualities derived usually from historical prototypes, typified by the many country houses of Great Britain that were created in the Neo Gothic or Scottish Baronial styles.

Formal architectural training, in the 19th century, at, for example Ecole des Beaux Arts in France, gave much emphasis to the production of beautiful drawings and little to context and feasibility. Effective architects generally received their training in the offices of other architects, graduating to the role from draughtsmen or clerks.

Meanwhile, the Industrial Revolution laid open the door for mass production and consumption. Aesthetics became a criterion for the middle class as ornamented products, once within the province of expensive craftsmanship, became cheaper under machine production. Vernacular architecture became increasingly ornamental. House builders could use current architectural design in their work by combining features found in pattern books and architectural journals.

The dissatisfaction with such a general situation at the turn of the twentieth century gave rise to many new lines of thought that served as precursors to Modern Architecture. Notable among these is the Deutscher Werkbund, formed in 1907 to produce better quality machine made objects. The rise of the profession of industrial design is usually placed here.

Following this lead, the Bauhaus school, founded in Germany in 1919, consciously rejected history and looked at architecture as a synthesis of art, craft, and technology.

When Modern architecture was first practiced, it was an avant-garde movement with moral, philosophical, and aesthetic underpinnings. Immediately after World War I, pioneering modernist architects sought to develop a completely new style appropriate for a new post-war social and economic order, focused on meeting the needs of the middle and working classes. They rejected the architectural practice of the academic refinement of historical styles which served the rapidly declining aristocratic order.

The approach of the Modernist architects was to reduce buildings to pure forms, removing historical references and ornament in favor of functionalist details. Buildings that displayed their construction and structure, exposing steel beams and concrete surfaces instead of hiding them behind traditional forms, were seen as beautiful in their own right. Architects such as Mies van der Rohe worked to create beauty based on the inherent qualities of building materials and modern construction techniques, trading traditional historic forms for simplified geometric forms, celebrating the new means and methods made possible by the Industrial Revolution.

Many architects resisted Modernism, finding it devoid of the decorative richness of ornamented styles. As the founders of the International Style lost influence in the late 1970s, Postmodernism developed as a reaction against the austerity of Modernism. Robert Venturi's contention that a "decorated shed" (an ordinary building which is functionally designed inside and embellished on the outside) was better than a "duck" (a building in which the whole form and its function are tied together) gives an idea of this approach.

Part of the architectural profession, and also some non-architects, responded to Modernism and Postmodernism by going to what they considered the root of the problem. They felt that architecture was not a personal philosophical or aesthetic pursuit by individualists; rather it had to consider everyday needs of people and use technology to give a livable environment. The Design Methodology Movement involving people such as Christopher Alexander started searching for more people-oriented designs. Extensive studies on areas such as behavioral, environmental, and social sciences were done and started informing the design process.

As the complexity of buildings began to increase (in terms of structural systems, services, energy and technologies), architecture started becoming more multi-disciplinary. Architecture today usually requires a team of specialist professionals, with the architect being one of many, although usually the team leader.

During the last two decades of the twentieth century and into the new millennium, the field of architecture saw the rise of specializations by project type, technological expertise or project delivery methods. In addition, there has been an increased separation of the 'design' architect from the 'project' architect.

Moving the issues of environmental sustainability into the mainstream is a significant development in the architecture profession. Sustainability in architecture was pioneered in the 1970s by architects such as Ian McHarg in the US and Brenda and Robert Vale in the UK and New Zealand. There has been an acceleration in the number of buildings which seek to meet green building sustainable design principles. It is now expected that architects will integrate sustainable principles into their projects. An example of an architecturally innovative green building is the Dynamic Tower which will be powered by wind turbines and solar panels.

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Colonial Revival architecture

Colonial  Revival home of Henry M. Jackson in Everett, Washington

The Colonial Revival was a nationalistic architectural style and interior design movement in the United States.

In the early 1890s Americans began to value their own heritage and architecture. This also came after the Centennial Exhibition of 1876 rewakened Americans to their colonial past. Colonial Revival sought to follow the American colonial architecture of the period around the Revolutionary War, usually being two stories in height with the ridge pole running parallel to the street, a symmetrical front facade with an accented doorway and evenly spaced windows on either side of it.

The books and atmospheric photographs of Wallace Nutting helped spur the style.

Features that make them distinguishable from colonial period houses of the similar style of the early 1800s are elaborate front doors, often with decorative crown pediments and overhead fanlights and sidelights, but with machine-made woodwork that had less depth and relief than earlier handmade versions. Window openings, while symmetrically located on either side of the front entrance, were usually hung in adjacent pairs or in triple combinations rather than as single windows. Side porches or sunrooms were common additions to these homes, introducing modern comforts. Also distinctive in this style are multiple columned porches and doors with fanlights and sidelights. To go along with the Colonial Revival style of architecture, owners often seek to furnish the house with furnishings that are preferably antique but often are reproductions.

Three localities that feature larger neighborhood tracts of colonial revival style residences are the Windsor Farms area in the west end of Richmond, Virginia; the Country Club District of Edina, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis; and the Country Club District in Kansas City, Missouri, a residential district lying south and built around the former grounds of the Kansas City Country Club (now Loose Park), and which the J. C. Nichols Company began developing in 1906 to become what is now the largest master-planned community in the United States. All were built in the 1920s.

Successive waves of revivals of British colonial architecture have swept the United States since 1876. In the 19th century, the Colonial Revival took a more eclectic style, and columns were often seen. But with the popularity of research-based history attractions like Colonial Williamsburg in the 1930s, the subsequent "colonial" architecture took a more scholarly and less ostentatious turn, and columns fell out of favor. By the 1976 United States Bicentennial, Colonial architecture merged with the then popular ranch-style house design, and created yet another iteration of the Colonial Revival, one that often featured eagle, cannon or drum motifs and sometimes wooden shake roofs. In the early part of the 21st century, styles evolved again, with "colonial" in the United States suggesting a more Anglo-Caribbean or British Empire feel.

In California and the American Southwest, revival architecture looked back to Spanish, rather than Georgian prototypes.

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Modern architecture

Trellick Tower, London featuring the brutalist architecture of Ernő Goldfinger.

Modern architecture is a set of building styles with similar characteristics, primarily the simplification of form and the elimination of ornament. The first variants were conceived early in the 20th century. Modern architecture was adopted by many influential architects and architectural educators, however very few "Modern buildings" were built in the first half of the century. It gained popularity after the Second World War and became the dominant architectural style for institutional and corporate buildings for three decades.

The exact characteristics and origins of Modern architecture are still open to interpretation and debate.

Some historians see the evolution of Modern architecture as a social matter, closely tied to the project of Modernity and thus the Enlightenment. The Modern style developed, in their opinion, as a result of social and political revolutions.

Others see Modern architecture as primarily driven by technological and engineering developments, and it is true that the availability of new building materials such as iron, steel, and glass drove the invention of new building techniques as part of the Industrial Revolution. In 1796, Shrewsbury mill owner Charles Bage first used his 'fireproof' design, which relied on cast iron and brick with flag stone floors. Such construction greatly strengthened the structure of mills, which enabled them to accommodate much bigger machines. Due to poor knowledge of iron's properties as a construction material, a number of early mills collapsed. It was not until the early 1830s that Eaton Hodgkinson introduced the section beam, leading to widespread use of iron construction, this kind of austere industrial architecture utterly transformed the landscape of northern Britain, leading to the description of places like Manchester and parts of West Yorkshire as "Dark satanic mills".

The Crystal Palace by Joseph Paxton at the Great Exhibition of 1851 was an early example of iron and glass construction; possibly the best example is the development of the tall steel skyscraper in Chicago around 1890 by William Le Baron Jenney and Louis Sullivan. Early structures to employ concrete as the chief means of architectural expression (rather than for purely utilitarian structure) include Frank Lloyd Wright's Unity Temple, built in 1906 near Chicago, and Rudolf Steiner's Second Goetheanum, built from 1926 near Basel, Switzerland.

Other historians regard Modernism as a matter of taste, a reaction against eclecticism and the lavish stylistic excesses of Victorian Era and Edwardian Art Nouveau. Note that the Russian word for Art Nouveau, "Модерн", and the Spanish word for Art Nouveau, "Modernismo" are cognates of English word "Modern" though they carry different meanings.

Whatever the cause, around 1900 a number of architects around the world began developing new architectural solutions to integrate traditional precedents (Gothic, for instance) with new technological possibilities. The work of Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright in Chicago, Victor Horta in Brussels, Antoni Gaudi in Barcelona, Otto Wagner in Vienna and Charles Rennie Mackintosh in Glasgow, among many others, can be seen as a common struggle between old and new. An early use of the term in print around this time, approaching its later meaning, was in the title of a book by Otto Wagner.

A key organization that spans the ideals of the Arts and Crafts and Modernism as it developed in the 1920s was the Deutscher Werkbund (German Work Federation) a German association of architects, designers and industrialists. It was founded in 1907 in Munich at the instigation of Hermann Muthesius. Muthesius was the author of a three-volume "The English House" of 1905, a survey of the practical lessons of the English Arts and Crafts movement and a leading political and cultural commentator. The purpose of the Werkbund was to sponsor the attempt to integrate traditional crafts with the techniques of industrial mass production. The organization originally included twelve architects and twelve business firms, but quickly expanded. The architects include Peter Behrens, Theodor Fischer (who served as its first president), Josef Hoffmann and Richard Riemerschmid. Joseph August Lux, an Austrian-born critic, helped formulate its agenda.

By the 1920s the most important figures in Modern architecture had established their reputations. The big three are commonly recognized as Le Corbusier in France, and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Walter Gropius in Germany. Mies van der Rohe and Gropius were both directors of the Bauhaus, one of a number of European schools and associations concerned with reconciling craft tradition and industrial technology.

Frank Lloyd Wright's career parallels and influences the work of the European modernists, particularly via the Wasmuth Portfolio, but he refused to be categorized with them. Wright was a major influence on both Gropius and van der Rohe, however, as well as on the whole of organic architecture.

In 1932 came the important MOMA exhibition, the International Exhibition of Modern Architecture, curated by Philip Johnson. Johnson and collaborator Henry-Russell Hitchcock drew together many distinct threads and trends, identified them as stylistically similar and having a common purpose, and consolidated them into the International style.

This was an important turning point. With World War II the important figures of the Bauhaus fled to the United States, to Chicago, to the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and to Black Mountain College. While Modern architectural design never became a dominant style in single-dwelling residential buildings, in institutional and commercial architecture Modernism became the pre-eminent, and in the schools (for leaders of the profession) the only acceptable, design solution from about 1932 to about 1984.

Architects who worked in the International style wanted to break with architectural tradition and design simple, unornamented buildings. The most commonly used materials are glass for the facade, steel for exterior support, and concrete for the floors and interior supports; floor plans were functional and logical. The style became most evident in the design of skyscrapers. Perhaps its most famous manifestations include the United Nations headquarters (Le Corbusier, Oscar Niemeyer, Sir Howard Robertson), the Seagram Building (Ludwig Mies van der Rohe), and Lever House (Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill), all in New York. A prominent residential example is the Lovell House (Richard Neutra) in Los Angeles.

Detractors of the International style claim that its stark, uncompromisingly rectangular geometry is dehumanising. Le Corbusier once described buildings as "machines for living", but people are not machines and it was suggested that they do not want to live in machines. Even Philip Johnson admitted he was "bored with the box." Since the early 1980s many architects have deliberately sought to move away from rectilinear designs, towards more eclectic styles. During the middle of the century, some architects began experimenting in organic forms that they felt were more human and accessible. Mid-century modernism, or organic modernism, was very popular, due to its democratic and playful nature. Alvar Aalto and Eero Saarinen were two of the most prolific architects and designers in this movement, which has influenced contemporary modernism.

Although there is debate as to when and why the decline of the modern movement occurred, criticism of Modern architecture began in the 1960s on the grounds that it was universal, sterile, elitist and lacked meaning. Its approach had become ossified in a "style" that threatened to degenerate into a set of mannerisms. Siegfried Giedion in the 1961 introduction to his evolving text, Space, Time and Architecture (first written in 1941), could begin "At the moment a certain confusion exists in contemporary architecture, as in painting; a kind of pause, even a kind of exhaustion." At the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a 1961 symposium discussed the question "Modern Architecture: Death or Metamorphosis?" In New York, the coup d'état appeared to materialize in controversy around the Pan Am Building that loomed over Grand Central Station, taking advantage of the modernist real estate concept of "air rights", In criticism by Ada Louise Huxtable and Douglass Haskell it was seen to "sever" the Park Avenue streetscape and "tarnish" the reputations of its consortium of architects: Walter Gropius, Pietro Belluschi and the builders Emery Roth & Sons. The rise of postmodernism was attributed to disenchantment with Modern architecture. By the 1980s, postmodern architecture appeared triumphant over modernism; however, postmodern aesthetics lacked traction and by the mid-1990s, a neo-modern (or hypermodern) architecture had once again established international pre-eminence. As part of this revival, much of the criticism of the modernists has been revisited, refuted, and re-evaluated; and a modernistic idiom once again dominates in institutional and commercial contemporary practice, but must now compete with the revival of traditional architectural design in commercial and institutional architecture; residential design continues to be dominated by a traditional aesthetic.

Although relatively young, works of Modern architecture may be lost because of demolition, neglect, or alterations. While an awareness of the plight of endangered Modern buildings is growing, the threats continue. Non-profit groups such as the World Monuments Fund, Docomomo International and the Recent Past Preservation Network are working to safeguard and document imperiled Modern architecture. In 2006, the World Monuments Fund launched Modernism at Risk, an advocacy and conservation program. Since Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans modernist structures have been increasingly slated for demolition. Currently plans are underway to demolish many of the city's modernist public schools, as well as large portions of the city's Civic Plaza. FEMA funds will contribute to razing the State Office Building and State Supreme Court Building, both designed by the collaborating architectural firms of August Perez and Associates; Goldstein, Parham and Labouisse; and Favrot, Reed, Mathes and Bergman. The New Orleans Recovery School District has proposed demolitions of schools designed by Charles R. Colbert, Curtis and Davis, and Ricciuti Associates. The 1959 Lawrence and Saunders building for the New Orleans International Longshoremen's Association Local 1419 is currently threatened with demolition although the union supports its conservation.

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Roman architecture

The Colosseum in Rome, Italy.

The Architecture of Ancient Rome adopted the external Greek architecture for their own purposes, which were so different from Greek buildings as to create a new architectural style. The two styles are often considered one body of classical architecture. This approach is considered reproductive, and sometimes it hinders scholars' understanding and ability to judge Roman buildings by Greek standards, particularly when relying solely on external appearances. The Romans absorbed Greek influence, apparent in many aspects closely related to architecture; for example, this can be seen in the introduction and use of the Triclinium in Roman villas as a place and manner of dining. The Romans, similarly, were indebted to their Etruscan neighbors and forefathers who supplied them with a wealth of knowledge essential for future architectural solutions, such as hydraulics and in the construction of arches.

Social elements such as wealth and high population densities in cities forced the ancient Romans to discover new (architectural) solutions of their own. The use of vaults and arches together with a sound knowledge of building materials, for example, enabled them to achieve unprecedented successes in the construction of imposing structures for public use. Examples include the aqueducts of Rome, the Baths of Diocletian and the Baths of Caracalla, the basilicas and perhaps most famously of all, the Colosseum. They were reproduced at smaller scale in most important towns and cities in the Empire. Some survivals ., are almost complete, such as the town walls of Lugo in Hispania Tarraconensis, or northern Spain.

Political propaganda demanded that these buildings should be made to impress as well as perform a public function. The Romans didn't feel restricted by Greek aesthetic axioms alone in order to achieve these objectives. The Pantheon is a supreme example of this, particularly in the version rebuilt by Hadrian and which still stands in its celestial glory as a prototype of several other great buildings of Eastern architecture. The same emperor left his mark on the landscape of northern Britain when he built a wall to mark the limits of the empire, and after further conquests in Scotland, the Antonine wall was built to replace Hadrian's Wall.

The Roman use of the arch and their improvements in the use of concrete facilitated the building of the many aqueducts throughout the empire, such as the magnificent Aqueduct of Segovia and the eleven aqueducts in Rome itself, such as Aqua Claudia and Anio Novus. The same idea produced numerous bridges, such as the still used bridge at Merida.

The dome permitted construction of vaulted ceilings and provided large covered public space such as the public baths and basilicas. The Romans based much of their architecture on the dome, such as Hadrian's Pantheon in the city of Rome, the Baths of Diocletian and the Baths of Caracalla.

Art historians such as Gottfried Richter in the 20's identified the Roman architectural innovation as being the Triumphal Arch and it is poignant to see how this symbol of power on earth was transformed and utilised within the Christian basilicas when the Roman Empire of the West was on its last legs: The arch was set before the altar to symbolize the triumph of Christ and the after life. It is in their impressive aqueducts that we see the arch triumphant, especially in the many surviving examples, such as the Pont du Gard, the aqueduct at Segovia and the remains of the Aqueducts of Rome itself. Their survival is testimony to the durability of their materials and design.

Although less visible level to the modern observer, ancient Roman developments in housing and public hygiene are impressive, especially given their day and age. Clear examples are public and private baths and latrines, and under-floor heating in the form of the hypocaust, double glazing (examples in Ostia Antica), and piped water (examples in Pompeii).

Possibly most impressive from an urban planning point of view are the multi-story apartment blocks called insulae that catered to a wide range of residential situations. These buildings, solely intended for large scale accommodation, could reach several floors in height. Insulates were often dangerous, unhealthy, and prone to fires. There are examples in cities like the Roman port town of Ostia, that date back to the reign of Trojan and show how Roman architects met residential needs in a variety of situations.

As an example, consider the housing on Via della Focette: a large-scale real estate development that catered to up-and-coming middle class entrepreneurs. Rather like modern semi-detached housing, these residences had repeated floor plans intended for easy, economical, and repetitive construction. Internal spaces were designed to be relatively low-cost, yet functional and with decorative elements reminiscent of the detached houses and villas to which the buyers might aspire later in their lives. Each apartment had its own terrace and private entrance. External walls were in "Opus Reticulatum" and interiors in "Opus Incertum", which would then be plastered and sometimes painted. Some existing examples show that a relatively popular choice of interior decor was to paint panels in alternating red and rainbow.

Roman architecture was sometimes determined based upon the requirements of Roman religion. For example, the Pantheon was an amazing engineering feat created for religious purposes, and its design (the large dome and open spaces) was made to fit the requirements of the religious services. Some of the most impressive public buildings are the amphitheatres, over 220 being known and many of which are well preserved, such as that at Arles, as well as the progenitor, the Colosseum in Rome. They were used for gladiatorial contests, public displays, public meetings and bullfights, the last of which survives in Spain. They are among the most impressive remains of the Roman empire at its height, and many of them still used for public displays and performance.

Many lighthouses were built around the Mediterranean and around the shores of their expanding empire, including the Tower of Hercules at A Coruña in northern Spain, a structure which still survives to this day. A smaller lighthouse at Dover, England also still exists as a ruin about half the height of the original. The light would have been provided by a fire at the top of the structure.

Tile covered concrete quickly supplanted marble as the primary building material and more daring buildings soon followed, with great pillars supporting broad arches and domes rather than dense lines of columns suspending flat architraves. The freedom of concrete also inspired the colonnade screen, a row of purely decorative columns in front of a load-bearing wall. In smaller-scale architecture, concrete's strength freed the floor plan from rectangular cells to a more free-flowing environment. Most of these developments are ably described by Vitruvius writing in the first century AD in his work De Architectura.

Although concrete had been used on a minor scale in Mesopotamia, Roman architects perfected it and used it in buildings where it could stand on its own and support a great deal of weight. The first use of concrete by the Romans was in the town of Cosa sometime after 273 BC. Ancient Roman concrete was a mixture of lime mortar, sand, water, and stones, and stronger than previously-used concrete. The ancient builders placed these ingredients in wooden frames where it hardened and bonded to a facing of stones or (more frequently) bricks. When the framework was removed, the new wall was very strong with a rough surface of bricks or stones. This surface could be smoothed and faced with an attractive stucco or thin panels of marble or other coloured stones called revetment. Concrete construction proved to be more flexible and less costly than building solid stone buildings. The materials were readily available and not difficult to transport. The wooden frames could be used more than once, allowing builders to work quickly and efficiently.

On return from campaigns in Greece, the general Sulla returned with what is probably the most well-known element of the early imperial period: the mosaic, a decoration of colourful chips of stone inset into cement. This tiling method took the empire by storm in the late first century and the second century and in the Roman home joined the well known mural in decorating floors, walls, and grottoes in geometric and pictorial designs.

Though most would consider concrete the Roman contribution most relevant to the modern world, the Empire's style of architecture, though no longer used with any great frequency, can still be seen throughout Europe and North America in the arches and domes of many governmental and religious buildings.

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Source : Wikipedia