Ancient Greek Age Architectural style

1. INTRODUCTION

1.1 Aim and Scope of the Study

Ernst Gombrich starts his famous book “The Story of Art” with this sentence: “There really is no such thing as Art. There are only artists” (Gombrich, 1995, pg: 1). Like Gombrich's quote, this study will not interest with artist, will interest with art. This study's aim that to search Ancient Greek Age Architectural style and to compare with present time architecture. In this way this study will search Post-Modern Architecture and its theoretical background.

Scope of the Study is that the Ancient Greek Age and its architectural style and elements, and Present Time [1] Architectural and its styles.

1.2 Methodology of the Study

Methodology of the Study is that; first of all analyses of the Ancient Greek Age and its Architecture and its structural and decorative elements. After that analyse of the present time architecture[2] and show example to compare present time architecture with Ancient Greek Age Architecture. Than analyses of whole sources and having a theory about subject.

2. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

2.1. Ancient Greek Age (Classical Antiquity) Architecture Period.

Orhan Hançerlioğlu defines Antique Age in his book, Düşünce Tarihi:

“Antique Age is a period; starting seventh century BC, ending fifth century AC and including Greek and Roman Culture. This Period is also named Classical Age.”[3] (Hançerlioğlu, 1995, pg: 46-47)

Beginning of this period which Hançerlioğlu (Hançerlioğlu, 1995, pg. 46-47) define is named Mycenaean Period[4]. It's the starting point of Architecture at Greek Colonization.

2.2. Mycenaen Period

"Treasury of Atreus," tholos (round) tomb; Late Bronze Age, 1300-1250 BC corbelled "beehive" dome; megalith (=big rock)

Lion Gate, main entry into citadel of Mycenae; Late Bronze Age,1250-1200 BC” (Connors, 2002)

2.3. Fundamental Principle of Architecture at Antique Age

According to The Ten Books on Architecture (Vitruvius, 1914, pg: 13)

“Architecture depends on Order (in Greek τἁξις), Arrangement (in Greek διἁθεσις), Eurhythmy, Symmetry, Propriety, and Economy (in Greek οἱκονομἱα).”

And Vitruvius also define that in his book The Ten Books on Architecture (Vitruvius, 1914, pg: 16)

“There are three departments of architecture: the art of building, the making of timepieces, and the construction of machinery. Building is, in its turn, divided into two parts, of which the first is the construction of fortified towns and of works for general use in public places, and the second is the putting up of structures for private individuals. There are three classes of public buildings: the first for defensive, the second for religious, and the third for utilitarian purposes. Under defence

comes the planning of walls, towers, and gates, permanent devices for resistance against hostile attacks; under religion, the erection of fanes and temples to the immortal gods; under utility, the provision of meeting places for public use, such as harbours, markets, colonnades, baths, theatres, promenades, and all other similar arrangements in public places.”

Thankst to these quotes of Vitruvius we can understand some rules and style of Architecture at Antique Age thanks to these references. We understand that Order is an important concept for their architecture. They use Eurhythmy, Symmetry, Propriety, and Economy in their architectures. And also we understand their part of architecture: the art of building, the making of timepieces, and the construction of machinery.

3. ARCHITECTURAL ELEMENTS FROM BUILDINGS OF ANTIQUE GREEK AGE

3.1. Important Buildings and Elements of Antique Age

This chapter research about Important Buildings of Antique Greek Age (Forum, Temple, House and Basilica) and elements which use to these buildings. Thanks to this chapter research gives information about basic Greek Architecture construction.

3.1.1. Forum

Forum was the public area of the Greek Cities and it was located the center of their city.

“The Greeks lay out their forums in the form of a square surrounded by very spacious double colonnades, adorn them with columns set rather closely together, and with entablatures of stone or marble, and construct walks above in the upper story. But in the cities of Italy the same method cannot be followed, for the reason that it is a custom handed down from our ancestors that gladiatorial shows should be given in the forum.”

Therefore let the intercolumniations round the show place be pretty wide; round about in the colonnades put the bankers' offices; and have balconies on the upper floor properly arranged so as to be convenient, and to bring in some public revenue.

The size of a forum should be proportionate to the number of inhabitants, so that it may not be too small a space to be useful, nor look like a desert waste for lack of population. To determine its breadth, divide its length into three parts and assign two of them to the breadth. Its shape will then be oblong, and its ground plan conveniently suited to the conditions of shows. (Vitruvius, 1914, pg: 151-152)

3.1.2. Basilica

Basilica was the public building and it was located at the forum of the city. After the Ancient Age most of the basilica transformed a church whole the world. At the Ancient Age Vitruvius wrote that about Basilicas:

“Basilicas should be constructed on a site adjoining the forum and in the warmest possible quarter, so that in winter business men may gather in them without being troubled by the weather. In breadth they should be not less than one third or more than one half of their length, unless the site is naturally such as to prevent this and to oblige an alteration in these proportions. If the length of the site is greater than necessary, Chalcedon porches may be constructed at the ends, as in the Julia Aquiliana.” (Vitruvius, 1914, pg. 153)

3.1.3. House

In the beginning of the history people have been living somewhere. In Ancient Greek Age they lived houses like us. Vitruvius wrote that about House:

“The Greeks, having no use for atriums, do not build them, but make passage-ways for people entering from the front door, not very wide, with stables on one side and doorkeepers' rooms on the other, and shut off by doors at the inner end.” (Vitruvius, 1914, pg. 176)

3.1.4. Temple

Temple is the more important buildings of all the time. People always have a gods/goddesses all these pagan ages. For this reason every temples of these age are different. We must give quote an Ancient Greek Age architecture: Vitruvius again:

“A temple will be peripteral that has six columns in front and six in the rear, with eleven on each side including the corner columns. Let the columns be so placed as to leave a space, the width of an intercolumniation, all round between the walls and the rows of columns on the outside, thus forming a walk roun the cella of the temple, as in the cases of the temple of Jupiter Stator by Hermodorus in the Portico of Metellus, and the Marian temple of Honour and Valour constructed by Mucius, which has no portico in the rear.” (Vitruvius, 1914, pg. 99)

3.2. Structure Elements of the Antique Greek Age Period

This chapter research about Structural Elements of The Antique Greek Age Periods. Structural elements used to provide to create a opening areas in Greek Architecture.

T. Roger Smith defines the characteristic of the openings in Greek Architecture in his book “Greek Architecture and Greek Sculpture” (Smith & Redford, 1892, pg: 46)

“The most important characteristic of the openings in Greek buildings is that they were flat-topped, covered by a lintel of stone or marble, and never arched. Doors and window openings were often a little narrower at the top than the bottom and were marked by a band of moldings, known as the architrave,on the face of the wall, and, so to speak, framing in the opening.”

Columns are the basic structural elements in the Antique Greek Architecture. T. Roger Smith wrote about columns in his book “Greek Architecture and Greek Sculpture” (Smith & Redford, 1892, pg: 46)

“These features, together with the superstructure or entablature, which they customarily carried, were the prominent parts of Greek architecture, occupying as they did the entire height of the building. The development of the orders (which we have explained to be really decorative systems, each of which involved the use of one sort of column, though the term is constantly understood as meaning merely the column and entablature) is a very interesting subject and illustrates the acuteness with which the Greeks selected from those models which were accessible to them, exactly what was suited to their purpose and the skill with which they altered and refined and almost redesigned everything which they so selected.”

In addition to the columns walls are important for structure of Antique Greek Architecture. They supported to columns.

“The construction of the walls of the Greek temples rivaled that of the Egyptians in accuracy and beauty of workmanship and resembled them in the use of solid materials. The Greeks had within reach quarries of marble, the most beautiful material which nature has provided for the use of the builder ; and great fineness of surface and high finish were attained. Some interesting examples of hollow walling occur in the construction of the Parthenon. The wall was not an element of the building on which the Greek architect seemed to dwell with pleasure ; much of it is almost invariably overshadowed by the lines of columns which form the main features of the building.” (Smith & Redford, 1892, pg: 44)

3.3. Decoration Elements of the Antique Age Periods

T. Roger Smith wrote about Decoration Element of the Antique Age Periods in his book;

“Greek ornaments have exerted the same wide influence over the whole course of Western art as Greek columns; and in their origin they are equally interesting as specimens of Greek skill in adapting existing types and of Greek invention where no existing types would serve.” (Smith & Redford, 1892, pg: 49)

3.4. Miscellaneous Structural and decorative Elements of the Antique Age Periods Caryatid Columns

Caryatid Columns are structural elements like the other columns but they also are a sculpture.

T. Roger Smith wrote in his book “Greek Architecture and Greek Sculpture about Caryatids:

“In the later and more voluptuous style of the Ionic temples we find sculpture made into an architectural feature, as in the famous statues, known as the caryatids, which support the smallest portico of the Erechtheum, and in the enriched columns of the Temple of Diana at Ephesus.” (Smith & Redford, 1892, pg: 51)

He also defines caryatids at the same book:

“The columns are replaced by standing female figures, known as caryatids, and the entablature rests on their heads. This device has frequently been repeated in ancient and in modern architecture, but, except in some comparatively obscure examples, the sculptured columns of Ephesus do not appear to have been imitated.” (Smith & Redford, 1892, pg: 35)

4. REFLECTION OF ANTIQUE AGE ARCHITECTURAL ELEMENTS TO TODAYS BUILDINGS

This Chapter explain the reflection of Antique Age Architectural Elements to todays Architecture. Before present century we must look past. First half of 19th Century Revivalism was the dominant architectural style. Revivalism is the use historical building and it create antique building again. On the other hand Cast Iron Age was started at the 19th Century. This style used a new technology but it had a connection with past. But with starting to modern style, Architecture ignore to copy past and create its original building. Walter Goupies, Le Corbusier, Miss Van Der Rohe are the outstanding artist of this style. But after de Modern Style, a new style named Post-Modernism was born.

“Architectural imagination seemed to divide itself between an elaboration of a futuristic technological symbolism, prevalent in the work of European architects like Norman Foster, Richard Rogers, and Renzo Piano, and a return to either historical sources or abstract formalism. Nevertheless, there was in the architectural discourse of the late 1960s a sense "of rupture and discontinuity, of crisis and generational conflict." In the work of Venturi, Charles Moore, and many other known and unknown architects, there is a populist attack on the idea of "architecture as art," a "vigorous, though . . . largely uncritical attempt to validate popular culture" and become at last organically attached to a client of democratic origins” (Larson, 1993, pg. 59)

4.1. Examples of Post-Modern Architecture

In this chapter will show examples of postmodern architecture and will give information about these buildings and their architectures. Thanks to these routes we can understand theoretic background of Post-Modernism.

If we look the buildings of some post-modern architecture we can understand relationship between post-modernism and past and we can also understand that post-modernism is the neo-eclectic architecture.

4.1.1. Piazza d ‘Italia, Charles Moore

In this Building (Figure 4.1.1.1) Charles Moore tried to create an irony. For this reason he use steel columns, and it is not a structural elements. It is only decorative elements. And also Moore use water fall like an ancient times decorative elements but he use his own face to create an irony. This building likes a collage building for this reason.

4.1.2. Sainsbury Wing of the National Gallery, Robert Venturi

Robert Venturi one of the outstanding Post-Modern Artist. He wrote in his book Las Vegas Strip to main theory of the Post- Modern Architecture. In thie building (Figure 4.1.2.1) he use a modern column and ornaments like an antique age architecture in his National Gallery Buildings in London. On the other hand Columns is not a classical order in this building. He use this style because of it's an additional buildings of National Gallery and he tried to create a communication between additional building and main building.

4.1.3. Town Hall, Philip Johnson

One of the most style changeble architecture Philip Johnson create a modern building (Figure 4.1.3.1) but he influence from antiqu age temples. Modern columns and modern pediments are the signification of this. But on the other angle he created a modern time building, center of the these building.

4.1.4. Portland Building, Michael Graves

Micheal Graves is one of the extraordinary Post-Modern Architecture. His building (Figure 4.1.4.1) we can see he uses a decorative elements which belongs to Antique Age. But they are only decorative elements. They are not structural elements.

5. CONCLUSION

From the beginning of the history people needs to a closed are to live. Sometimes this is a cave, sometimes this is a skyscraper. Architect has been change geography to geography and age to age.

Post-Modern Architecture and its effects continue to live present time. It was born against to the Modern Movement and one day a new movement will come and kill the Post-Modern Movement.

But on the other hand technology is changed and a new possibilities born and Post-Modern Architecture use them. But on the other hand This Architecture uses its heritages. For this reason ın my opinion Post-Modernism has a neo-eclectic style and its background depends to Popular Culture. It wills not death easily but it cannot create an original buildings.

Post Modern Architecture use Antique Age Elements and style because the movement said that: “Everything has created before, there is no new to create”. In my opinion it is not a true tease. There will be new always and forever. Although we cannot ignore to use past but on the other hand we cannot asylum the back of past.

6. REFERENCES

Chitham, R. (2005). The Classical Orders of Architecture. Burlington: Architectural Press.

Connors, P. J. (2002). Lecture 3. M. T. Isabelle Hyman içinde, Architecture (s. 77-81;83-92). Newyork: Harry N Abrams Inc.

Gombrich, E. H. (1995). The Story of Art (16th b.). London: Phaidon Press Ltd.

Hançerlioğlu, O. (1995). Düşünce Tarihi. İstanbul: Remzi Kitapevi.

Larson, M. S. (1993). Behind the Postmodern Facade: Architectural Change in Late Twentieth-Century America. London: University of California Press.

Pollio, M. V. (1914). Vitruvius: The Ten Books on Architecture. Boston: Harvard University Press.

SMITH, T. R., & REDFORD, G. (1892). Greek Architecture and Greek Sculpture. Meadville: The Chautauqtia Century Oress.

[1] Present Time means there end of 20th century to present (21th) century

[2] Especially Post-Modern Architecture Style

[3] Translated by Ozan YILDIRIM

[4] Mycenaean Period is an Late Helladic Period.

[5] (Vitruvius, 1914, pg. 152)

[6] (Vitruvius, 1914, pg. 153)

[8] (Chitham, 2005, pg. 55)

[9] (Smith & Redford, 1892, pg: 32)

 

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