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A Study Of Ancient And Modern Architecture

1736 words - 7 pages

Behind every architectural work there is an architect, whether the architect is one man or woman, a small group, or an entire people. The structure created by any of these architects conveys a message about the architect: their culture, their identity, their struggles. Because of the human element architects offer to their work not just a building is made, but a work of art, a symbol of a people, a representation, is also created.
“The history of the world’s great architecture is the astonishing story of how individuals and groups have taken that basic necessity of building and transformed it into possibly the greatest manifestation of the human spirit—more profound, more lasting, more inexhaustible than any other art, a vital and truly wonderful expression of the experience of mankind, in every part of the world (Nuttgens 9).”
As Nuttgens eloquently expressed, architecture is a “vital…expression of the experience of mankind.” It is more than just buildings used for storage, housing, religious purposes, simple functionality; it is a great manifestation of the commonality of man, the great connecting factor of humankind. However, it can be argued that the ancient and classic forms or architecture are in essence more “profound…lasting… [and] inexhaustible” than those of their modern counterparts, because of some key differences in the ways ancient and modern architecture are practiced.
Ancient architecture: the beginning of a great art form; the source of simple techniques; the harbinger for all architectural works; a beautiful, incredible, and almost unimaginable era of artful richness in architecture; beginning with the very first construction of man to (what is argued to be) the early twentieth century, when modernism emerged and certain principles of architecture were lost (Rowe). This epoch of architecture is associated to such civilizations as the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Mayans, Incas, Aztecs, Christian/Byzantine, Middle-East cultures (Palestinian, Israeli, Islamic, Buddhist, etc.), Asians, and European, just to name a few. Arguably, the most successful or recognizable would be the works of the Greeks and Romans. Creating classic styles with the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian orders, the Greeks and Romans set many precursors to more ancient and modern approaches. To define these orders: Doric is the “first and simplest of the classical orders,” has no base (Greek; Roman’s used bases in their Doric styles), is relatively inornate, with a short shaft that meets in an arris. Ionic is the second classical order with a decorously fashioned base, “tall, slender shafts separated by flutes and fillets,” usually with a volute, or spiraled capital (the pinnacle of a column). Corinthian, being the last of the three orders, has a higher base than the first two orders, a “slender fluted shaft with fillets” similar to the Ionic order, and a highly ornate capital (Nuttgens 312-13). Using these orders, the...

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