Twenty Building Projects Discussed Below Essay

  • Length: 12 pages
  • Subject: Architecture
  • Type: Essay
  • Paper: #79782154

Excerpt from Essay :

They were constructed or rather carved as a tribute to Pharaoh Ramses II and his queen Nefertari. The Temple of Edfu (237-57 BC) also shows the expertise and the cultural depth of the Egyptian culture. This temple on the West bank of the Nile in the city of Edfu is the second biggest temple in Egypt after Karnack. The religious foundations of the culture are clearly evident in aspects of the construction. For example, the decorations of the walls of the temple to the god Horus provide a cast array of scientific and mythological knowledge. This temple has also provided archeologists and Egyptologists with knowledge about the culture and its scientific and its advances in fields such as mathematics and astronomy.


In terms of materials and technological processes, the great ziggurats and pyramids show the use of ramps for building upwards and a strong durable material (mud-brick or granite). In the case of the ziggurats, a drainage system of reed and bitumen was embedded in the brick and the whole was rain-proofed, while the pyramids show no sign of such systems. An advance was made in the Hanging Gardens in the use of hidden hydraulic engineering within a terraced design to draw up water. The Giza Pyramid is distinguished by its use of quarrying and the transportation of large stones both over land and up into the building using levers and manual labor. All of these aspects show cultural, technologies as scientific advancements that are reflected in the quality and stature of many of the buildings that these civilizations produced. One should also note that in terms of materials, architectural designs and construction technologies great changes unquestionably occurred from the Ur Ziggurat to the Temple of Edfu. One could refer to the progress evident in the Temple Complex of Karnack, for example. The one area where there was little change was in the use of slaves and skilled craftsmen, although management techniques probably improved over the centuries.

Essay B

The history of construction from the Greek Parthenon to the Roman Pantheon demonstrates a number of important aspects. In terms of working methods, most building during this period shows that the initiation of and payment for construction were arranged by kings or political leaders, while the labour force for the building came from slaves and agrarian peasants. It is certain that vast workshops were set up on the construction sites, perhaps best exemplified on the acropolis of the Parthenon and at the Colosseum. In Roman times, construction was carried out under the orders of the emperor and the skilled labour came primarily from the military, although slaves must have been used as well. In the Colosseum, a particular method of circulating labour was employed in separate groups that enabled simultaneous construction of various areas of the building.

In terms of materials and technological processes, in Roman times, one sees the invention of timber formwork and scaffolding for building vaults upwards, which replaced ramps. The Parthenon replicates quarrying and transportation, but in this case it is of marble and granite columns. Mortar was used for the earliest buildings, but the Greek temple and Roman aqueducts use no mortar. They rely on weight and stone placement in arches and columns for their cohesion, or on iron cramps and dowels at the Colosseum. The Roman buildings are significant for the use of pulleys and hoists in construction, and their innovative techniques for spanning valleys using bridges on piers. They pioneered the use of concrete and the construction of supporting tiers of arches to counteract the effect of wind. These techniques received their greatest expression in the Roman Colosseum. Another advance was in building across water, as demonstrated by the Rhine Bridge. A final notable development occurred with the Pantheon's dome construction. Here material was graded to be lighter as the building went upward. Timberwork was used to pour successive rings of concrete into ribs.

In terms of architectural design, in Greek building, columns came into heavy use to support roof superstructures, as well as the frieze and the pediment. Rome added the vaulted dome and various forms of arches to the architectural palette. Decoratively, the Tower of Babel was painted, while the Parthenon was intricately carved and utilised entasis or swelling in the columns to ameliorate their appearance. The Greeks and Romans used more decorative materials in their designs than earlier, including bronze and marble.

From a cultural perspective the Parthenon (490 -- 432 BC) was the domicile of the gods as well as of the rulers of the society. It therefore represented vital aspects of the values that, as it were, supported and sustained the culture. In a more material sense, the building itself was constructed from quarried marbles, marble roof tiles, and cypress timbers. From Plutarch we learn that a wide range of expertise was drawn on to facilitate the creation of this construction. These included the skills of moulders, masons, bronze casters, goldsmiths, and dyers. This was an indication of the sophistication and specialization of building science that had occurred in this culture. A wide variety of materials were used in infrastructure of the building; which included ivory, marble, gold, bronze, cypress wood, and ebony. Two unique aspects that were to be influential were the use of entasis, as noted above, and the pediments, which distinguished this building for other temples

Many of these technological design and cultural aspects can be seen in one the best-preserved Greek Tempes; namely, the Temple of Hephaestu. It is a Doric peripteral temple and was designed by Ictinus, who also worked on the Parthenon. Constructed in marble it has six columns under the pedimented ends, and has thirteen columns on each side. The design is peripteral, with columns entirely surrounding the central enclosed centre. The design and use of space is a tribute to Greek aesthetic sensibility and an indication of both the cultural and architectural advancement of this society. The quality and vision that went into the design of these buildings verifies one of the reasons why Ancient Greek culture is still considered to be the fountain from which modern European culture originated.

In this regard one could also refer to temple of Erechtheum (421-407 BC), devoted to the Greek hero Erichthonius and the Lighthouse at Alexandria (280-247 BC). In Erechtheum we encounter other aspects of the culture, such as the military need that required its construction for protective purposes. This temple was also constructed of marble with exquisitely executed relief work and statues, which attest to the aesthetic and artistic qualities of Greek culture. We also find a great deal of elaborate ornamentation. .

The Great Lighthouse at Alexandria is known as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It was constructed from very large blocks of light-colored stone and the tower was made up of three phases; namely, a lower square part with a central nucleus, a middle octagonal part, and a circular part at the top. Its construction was complex and necessitated advanced technology and building know-how. For example, the interior of the tower housed a large spiral ramp.

The roman culture was perhaps more structured and hierarchically organized, with more emphasis on extended control and management practices than the Greeks; and this is evident in many of their buildings. The Library of Celsus (117-135 BC) in Ephesus, Asia Minor, was constructed to honour Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus. The library was extensive and was built to store more than twelve-thousand scrolls. It also served as a tomb for Celsus. Attention to detail and the use of marble made this an impressive structure.

Roads to facilitate trade and commerce were an important aspect of Roman society and its burgeoning economy. One of the first important roads that were built was the Appian Way (312 BC). This road linked Rome to Brindisi, Apulia, in southeast Italy. It was difficult to construct and showed the ability and technical knowledge of the Roman engineers, who made ingenious use of natural formations in their design of the roadway.

Another facet of Roman culture was the engineering that facilitated the flow of water in the urban areas. The Aqueduct Pont du Gard (15 BC -- 14 AD) was built to provide bath water to various towns. The technical knowledge acquired from the building of these aqueducts and waterways were to lead to the larger Roman constructions. "It was the combination of gravity flow and the open channel that led to monumental architecture, in the form of bridges and arcades" (Hodge 132). In this regard one could mention the Aqueduct of Segovia, which carried water for eighteen kilometres.

The Roman Colosseum (70 -- 82 AD) was an amphitheatre that was constructed from concrete and stone blocks. Slaves were most likely used to transport the materials and various craftsmen were employed in its construction. The extensive development of the master builder tradition can be seen…

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