a guide to building styles and materials
Architecture is the story of the buildings we build. It is a story closely connected with our past and our future.
At its essence, architecture involves planning, design, engineering and construction.
Fillipo Brunelleshi was a goldsmith by trade, when in 1418 a competition was held in Florence to create plans for the construction of a cathedral. Although he lacked a formal education in architecture, Brunelleshi's innovative design for the Dome of the Basilica of Santa Maria del Fiore won the competition. By using two connected shells to strengthen the dome, Brunelleshi's design reduces the weight of the dome. It remains the world's largest dome made of stone.
Andrea Palladio was a stonemason and sculptor when his friend Conte Trissino introduced him to architecture. Palladio developed a a unique architectural style by using elements of ancient Greek and Roman architecture. Palladio became well known for using columns with triangular tops called pediments. Palladio used the temple design when designing houses for the wealthy. La Rotunda (above) in Vicenza, Italy is one of Palladio's most well-known buildings. Palladio's book "The Four Books of Architecture" is still used by architects today across the world.
Antoni Gaudi was a Spanish architect who developed his own unique style of design inspired by Gothic and Moorish architecture as well as the natural world. His most well-known work, La Familia Sagrada in Barcelona, Spain has the appearance of a giant sand castle rising from the earth. Gaudi abandoned all other projects near the end of his life and was tragically run over by a streetcar in front of the church. He died three days later and was buried in the crypt of La Sagrada Familia.
Frank Lloyd Wright was an American architect who developed his style around the concept of "organic architecture." Wright believed that buildings should fit into their surroundings and accomodate the ways in which they were used by people who lived and worked in them. Some of his most well-known structures are Fallingwater, a private residence in rural Pennsylvania and the Guggenheim Museum in New York City.
Frank Gehry is a Canadian architect who is famous his use of creative shapes and materials. He designed the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. Made of titanium and has became an important architechural landmark in the city.
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