The Popes As Planners: Rome, 1450-1650

Feudal system brought duality to authority (duality between aristocracy and church). In the end of middle ages, the popes gained importance on all issues: social, political and architectural. I mean, in this period ,  men of the god had enlarged power on management to affect all economy, education, design of cities and building etc. So they built grand churches in the center of cities. Large and high churches was build in city centers to show the power of god and show the strength of Christianity. By building cathedrals, they ignored planning of the city as whole. However, they reorganized streets, residential and urban areas according to the location of churches. Therefore, they created a main axis that stretch aloung the churches.

The Renaissance: Ideal and Fad

The Islmaic culture were realized  and spread. It takes its part from the as of now exists culture and some of the monuments lost its place and some of the building’s interiors, exteriors or both of them were adopted in Islamic culture. For example, Gothic chapel turned into the mosque of Cordoba.

In the beginning of 1500s, ancient Rome traditions were reinterpreted and modernized. Leon Battista Alberti was the fountainhead of the new architecture of the new way of thinking in this period. In the city there was a past we could disassemble ourselves from and look at critically. We could analize by looking two types of the past, one is glorious past and the other is  the study of humanities. Therefore, it compounded the modernization fact not just in architecture also in art. For example, there were examples that Brunellesci learnt from art and applied to architecture. After the Brunelleschi, Gothic architecture functioned according to an abstract system of proportions. Individual elements of the building had no fixed proportions within themselves or with respect to overall measurements, but instead relied on internal correlations that followed from initial geometric choices. Therefore, we can interpret that people became getting away Gothic architecture trends and they were approaching the architecture with an innovative perspective.

Alberti says that Architecture cannot be the consist of only function. Because if it was be like that people do not need architect, a builder can build the structures.

After the some development in the architecture, we can say that architect, armed with the science of linear perspective and new mathematics. The Piccolomini palace as the example of the largest structure. At the same time, the church has the central place of honor. At the visual level, seen form within the piazza, the papal block obscures most of itself in order to insure bilateral symmetry. The main entrance shifts for relating and centering the square. Also, the proportions of buildings defined and locked in place by the intervening space and its grid. Therefore, we can observe the foundation of rational and proportional order in this structure.

Draft Proposal For The Final Assignment of The History of Architecture Course

From the past to present, we can see alteration and improvement of the courts. While the term court transforms a semi-open space where the political meeting and judgements did like Basilicas in The Roman Forums and we can see this transformation from the late 12 century. For example, The Scandinavian Mead Hall or Westminister Hall in England used a typical meet hall for king’s judgement or as an assembly of King. However the usage of courts transforms as a garden. Also we can easily see the change from private to the semi-public usage of courts.

In Ancient Roman Insula, which is a kind of today’s apartment, there was a court at the centre of the insula and the court surrounded with vertical and horizontal circulation so they can always reach the court for fresh air and get light inside the Insula and also it becomes a semi-public space that they used a kind of semi-public garden. Also in Roman Domus we can observe the variation of courtyards like atrium and peristylium. However, peristylium was more like court garden. It has opening to the sky and flowers and shrubs, fountains, benches and sculptures. It is also centre of the house and spaces which are important for people like dining room, bedrooms are located around it so it creates a transition space between them and also helps them to complete horizontal circulation.

In Greek house the court has not directly entered from the street to increase the level of privacy. The courts are the space where the daily life take place. There is also transition between the room and court but an inner balcony surround the whole strengthen this transition idea.

In the typical house of Athangudi -an Indus Valley civilization-, also, the central courtyard is surrounded by a corridor which provides transition (access) to the rooms and the other parts of the house. The courts were generally designed for lightning, ventilation and thermal comfort but in here people also use courts to collect rain water for regular usage.

Evolving over the centuries, courtyards have been used for a variety purpose. It also plays a major role in creating a social space rather than just for lightning and ventilation.

Therefore, I interpret the courts as the central space and there was a circulation around it. It creates always a transition space between the other parts of the house and between exterior and interior (from the heat, noise and sometimes smell of the streets to the cool, shaded and quite central space).

The Urbanization of Europe, 1100-1300

In the 12.Century, at the Rome there was a revolution to the patriarchs. Therefore, in this situation, France made some changes in religious to not undergo this revolution and France is affected from this situation in a positive way. At the same time, the changes about the Feudal structure create a new society class. People were against to the nobility and the church. They worked on trade so they built new structure styles such as; guild halls, tore houses, market building, shop etc. and also streets and public places were getting shape with the help of these structures.

In the old towns, we see the significant effect of the gothic structure. Although, in some parts we saw the imitation of Roman Empire, in the other parts we saw the imitation of Germanic Kingdom. At the Europe, we see the significant marks of the Roman Legacy. These cities were getting more safety for the pilgrims. Protection (protection of people) is an important idea in there and there was another important thing which was the stopping the increase of the population. At this situation, circular form of the cities became more suitable because it gives a chance to the natural growing of the city.

If we turn back to the individual structures from the broad urban canvases , we see two general observation. The first one is variation of building types, the other one is the town that is defined with the user and the client. Some situations (like the decline of the urban milieu and the rise of the Christian ethic) made some styles of buildings more general. Therefore, some buildings started to be used more such as, theatres, baths and circuses, amphitheatres, basilicas, forums, administrative buildings of all kinds, warehouses and brothels. This important change affected to the architectural thought in two ways. A divorce between form and function began to occur. At the same time, several functions could be gathered under a single roof. I mean as Kostof said, a hospital can be also a poorhouse, orphanage, almshouse etc.

The Birth of Nations: Europe After Charles

Romanesque architecture is the first style that can be found all parts of the Europe but there is some regional variations inside. In Carolingian Europe we see architectural products which carried both traces of tradition and tendency for modernity. Therefore, there is an architectural approach that was a temperate mix of past and that day.  In that period feudalism came to forward (the main reason behind feudalism was based on concerns for the defense of territories).

In the Romanesque, there are three main structure typology : churches, monasteries and castles. church was a significant building type with its unifying power. Castles were defensive constructions. They were generally in steep places due to increase the defense and it became easily defendable.

The Triumph of Christ

In the third century, Rome faced many problems and went through several changes. The balance between the rich and poor felt into decay. The rich was getting more rich and the poor was getting in deeper. Else, after the Christianity was legitimized, social structures had changed significantly. It has its influence over architecture.

There were many important architectural structures in Rome and one of them is Hadrian’s Villa which is used as senatorial and imperial villa. Hadrian’s Villa is a complex architectural structure that contains over 30 buildings and it is a great example of Alexandrian gardens and its complexity has strong relations with the landscape.

With Christianity, generated concepts which are baptism and cemetery required new organization. Thus we can understand that the religion shapes the way of living and their architecture.

In Roman architecture, producing apse, that had been used at long axes of halls, in the temples was a common approach. Dome form integrated with Christianity. Also in the apse, there are some important human figures and anglel representations. One example of these apse is in San Vitale. By using mosaic, they prefer to illustrate Bishop Ecclesis’s power.

The nave is the main body of the church which provides the central approach to the high altar. Also it is long, narrow, high and part of the churches. Hagia Sophia has an effective nave in itself. Hagia Sophia is an important church for the Roman architecture which is located at the top right of the center in the area of the Great Palace of the Byzantine emperor.  It has a strong axial path passing from different heights and enclosure levels and also there is a different approach of the dome usage. Dome is not there to mark an object of veneration.

Rome: Caput Mundi

Because of some characteristic forms (like vaulting and arch) and applications, we can distinguish Roman architecture in many ways. We can see these forms in substructures of terrace buildings, baths, warehouse are some of the structures. The material quality is important because it affects the perception of structure. Thus, in order to produce vaults, they prefer to use stone or brick face concrete . In this way, they could produce vaults with a single shelled way. This approach is really efficient for more light. Besides, producing and rising vaults in different heights create levels of lighting conditions which also differentiate space from one another.

In order to comprehend Roman architecture and their basis of urbanism, we should analyse  two important cities which are Rome and Pompeii in that time. Pompeii was a port town that sits on an isolated volcanic mountain and overlooking Sarno river. Pompeii was preferred and used summering place for the rich people because of landscape qualities. The walls enclosed the city which were risen all along the boundary. The streets of Pompeii were paved with dark lava stones. With lava stone’s orientation the streets are defined.

Roman domus is a typical house in cities owned by higher middle class. Producing court in the house is still a common approach however there is evolution and variation of courtyard. There is Atrium which is ‘Selamlık’ part of Roman house. It is where the entre the house and it has opening to the sky and has a pool where the opening is. Peristylium is another courtyard. It has column series inside. It is like a backyard garden.

The Hellenistic Realm

Greek cities spread over new regions because of wars and overpopulation in Greece in the fourth century. Greeks’ king the Alexander the Great expended his territories to Anatolia (even near to India). This expansion called for the end of the classical period.

Architecture was moving from Classical to Hellenistic style. Axial approach of Hellenistic structured was adopted from Akropolis of Athens. Also, column and the wall that used to be thought separately, were now combined together. Parthenon has two rows of columns dividing a space into three and cella surrounded by frieze has strong columns invites its visiters. I mean, these styles are conglomeration of older achievements and changes in coexist styles.

The temple of Apollo pursues for three dimensional appeerance and strong sunlight emphasizing the statue. Design of light and shadow condition is linked with religion and deity of light. Corinthian which is  new architectural order appeared in the temple of Apollo. This order has a capital with natural attrubitions added on the Ionic and Doric columns. Its aims are more grounded on decorative purposes. Cella has dominated the plan with continuous frieze along the three sides and cella columns molded into the walls. It creates sense of expension by increasing open space of cella. Cella columns that used to carry roof now passed its job on the walls. In so doing it also passed its meaning and became more figurative element of the design.

Polis and Acropolis

Because of the fame and safety of Athens and also developing construction industry, the population became really overcrowding. However, vast majority of Greek cities were small in size and they look really unpretentious in appearance but when several villages became united as a single community, quite enough of them were self-sustained and the polis comes into existence. In my opinion, the society was democratising. They all had some responsibilities in society.

The Greek houses turned inset like Mesopotamia. I mean the courts were not looking outside. The rooms were not definitely defined in terms of function. However we can see some functional differentiation. For example, the andron was more like a public space (main dining room and entertainment room).

The normative grid provided a straight way to divide the land, shape the structure of the city and also control future growth of the city. In the Greek, the grid system lined in the social superiority of a title holder class. Orthogonal planning is as old as Egypt. However none of the Greek grids can be considered completely planned systems of public and residential structures with coherently organized blocks but at the same time the grid determined the size and the shape of public buildings, temples etc. There was really strict grid layout that adopted city. Hierarchically agora which is the open gathering place have higher importance rather then the other structures. Agora was the public meeting and marketing place in the city. There was also public gathering which is called Stoa. It provides an open space without fully enclosed it. It was used with various purposes like shopping, accommodation for travellers etc. Stoa consists of long row of columns defining long aisle ended with a back wall and roof.

Miletus was located on the hill and it was using really advanced grid system and its planner was Hippodamia who believed to be founder of grid system.