Tag Archives: architecture

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Pure Freedom

Frank Gehry’s design for the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain is so completely unhindered by traditional rules that regulate architectural design that the building has a sculptural appearance that is totally independent of any school of architecture from history. Gehry … Continue reading

Leon Battista Albert, Façade of Santa Maria Novella, Florence, 1448-1470, Photo by Georges Jansoone via Wikimedia Commons, GNU Free Documentation License.

Just a Second: Façade

Façade (noun) From the French word for “face,” a façade is the front of a building that faces the street where people enter. Leon Battista Alberti’s early Renaissance design for the façade of Santa Maria Novella used many colors of … Continue reading

Detail of the stone vault in the staircase to the Refectory of Christ Church College, Oxford, 1847, Photo by Fr Lawrence Lew, O.P. via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic License.

Just a Second: Tracery

Tracery (noun) Ornamental interlacing and branching lines in architecture. Sometimes tracery is openwork decorating a window as in Gothic cathedrals and other times it spreads across flat surfaces like ceiling vaults.  Tracery can be carved in wood or made from … Continue reading

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The Roman Colosseum: A Great Space for a (Completely) Different Kind of Game

Nothing brings an empire together like a good mock naval battle – at least, that’s what the Roman emperor Vespasian always said.  Following the welcome demise of the reign of the Julio-Claudian emperors with the death of Nero and a … Continue reading

Flying buttresses at Amiens Cathedral, France, c. 1220-1270, Photo by Holly Hayes, Creative Commons Attribution license via Flickr.

Just a Second: Flying Buttress

Flying Buttress (noun) A segmented (partial) arch on the exterior of a building that supports the walls.  Architects and builders first used flying buttresses in the Gothic era which allowed them to keep the interior open and pierce the walls … Continue reading

Kallikrates and Iktinos, The Parthenon, 447-438 BCE, marble, Acropolis, Athens, photo by Florestan via Wikimedia Commons, GNU Free Documentation license.

The Wonky Parthenon

Okay, it’s grossly incorrect to call the Parthenon “wonky,” but the truth is that the horizontals and verticals in the structure are not straight. Actually, the architects did that on purpose. The Parthenon, which stands atop the highest point of the … Continue reading

Frank Lloyd Wright, Robie House, 1910, Chicago, IL, photo by Dan Smith, Creative Commons attribution license via Wikimedia Commons.

Frank Lloyd Wright: The Robie House

It’s hard to believe that Frank Lloyd Wright designed and built this modern home over 100 years ago. The popular style of architecture at the time was the Edwardian style, which was slightly more pared down than the Victorian style, … Continue reading

Shrine of Hazrat Ali, also know as the Blue Mosque, 15th century, Mazari Sharif, Afghanistan. Photo by Michal Hvorecky, Creative Commons license via Wikimedia Commons.

Just a Second: Horror Vacui

Horror vacui (noun) Fear or dislike of empty space in the visual arts.  Many accuse artists from the Ancient Egyptian era to Jackson Pollock of suffering from horror vacui.  The term frequently is used to describe Islamic art in which … Continue reading

Anonymous Artist, The Emperor Hadrian, c. 127, marble, Musée du Louvre, Paris. Photo by Marie-Lan Nguyen, Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain.

The Pantheon: Making Connections

The Roman emperors surely did not invent political propaganda, but they were experts at it. The Emperor Hadrian paid for and may have designed The Pantheon which is a religious temple dedicated to all of the Roman Gods and members … Continue reading