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The Evolution Christian Architecture
Transcript of The Evolution Christian Architecture
All through the regions that were part of the ancient Roman Empire are ruins of Roman aqueducts and buildings, most of them exhibiting arches as part of the architecture
When Charlemagne was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 800 C.E., Europe began to take its first steps out of the “Dark Ages”. So when Charlemagne wanted to unite his empire and validate his reign, he began building churches in the Roman style–particularly the style of Christian Rome in the days of Constantine, the first Christian Roman emperor.
The architects of Charlemagne’s day looked to the arched, or arcaded, system seen in Christian Roman edifices as a model.
It is a logical system of stresses and buttressing, which was fairly easily engineered for large structures, and it began to be used in gatehouses, chapels, and churches in Europe.
During the Apostolic Era, Churches met primarily in the private homes of wealthier members
House Churches went for a more developed, loving, family-like atmosphere
This provided a sense of intimacy between early memebers
Everything in the New Testament was written to these churches
Synagogue Architecture (6th Century B.C - Present Day)
This type of architecture grew important after the Temple of Jerusalem had been destroyed in 70 AD
The elements that establish a synagogue are:
aron ha-kodesh (‘holy ark’ or niche in the eastern wall, containing the Torah scrolls)
amud (prayer desk, facing the ark)
bima (the pulpit, from where the Torah is read)
Later synagogues adopted the ner tamid (eternal light),
Which represents the Torah's holiness, and also recalls the light that burned in the Temple
Cathedral Architecture (800-1600)
Usually built in the shape of a cross
The main entrance is at the west end of the bottom of the cross
Long central aisle called the nave
Arms of the cross are the transepts and meet the nave
Towers and domes are often built over the crossing
The altar and seats for the choir are at the eastern end of the nave in front of the apse, which looks like a semi-circle
Most famous European cathedrals were Byzantine, Romanesque, Gothic or Renaissance
Cathedrals were filled with carved sculptures
Walls had paintings and stain glassed windows
Constantine and his Church planners needed architecture that had meaning in the Roman world.
Totally new architectural forms would not be as effective as architectural forms that carried meaning.
This led to use of category of Roman building known as the Basilica.
Roman basilicas served places for public gatherings: law courts, financial centers, army drill halls, reception rooms in imperial palaces.
Roman cities would regularly have a Basilica as a central public building. It was, like our City Hall, a center of public power
Easteren Orthodoxy and Byzantine Architecture (500-1450 AD)
Whereas the basilica was the most common form in the west, a more compact centralised style became predominant in the east. These churches were in origin martyria, constructed as mausoleums housing the tombs of the saints who had died during the persecutions which only fully ended with the conversion of the Emperor Constantine.
These buildings copied pagan tombs and were square, cruciform with shallow projecting arms or polygonal.
They were roofed by domes which came to symbolize heaven.
The projecting arms were sometimes roofed with domes or semi-domes that were lower and abutted the central block of the building.
Byzantine churches, although centrally planned around a domed space, generally maintained a definite axis towards the apsidal chancel which generally extended further than the other apses.
This projection allowed for the erection of an iconostasis, a screen on which icons are hung and which conceals the altar from the worshippers except at those points in the liturgy when its doors are opened.
• Many later Eastern Orthodox churches, particularly large ones, combine a centrally planned, domed eastern end with an aisled nave at the west.
• A variant form of the centralized church was developed in Russia and came to prominence in the sixteenth century.
o Here the dome was replaced by a much thinner and taller hipped or conical roof which perhaps originated from the need to prevent snow from remaining on roofs.
The Evolution Christian Architecture
Synagogue Architecture Cont.
Modern Western synagogues tend to place the bima in front of the ark, not in the building's center
After 1200 some European synagogues deliberately imitated secular buildings, not churches
Courtyards decreased due to state restrictions
East European Jews built fortress-synagogues
Where affordable, the mechitsa (curtain dividing men from women) developed into a separate 'women's gallery'
Later, European freedom introduced new styles: Baroque, Romanesque, pseudo-Byzantine and Greek Temple.
Wealthier communities built cathedral synagogues, blending a neo-Gothic template with Moorish
House Churches (1st Century)
Eastern Orthodoxy and Byzantine Architecture Cont.
Many later Eastern Orthodox churches, particularly large ones, combine a centrally planned, domed eastern end with an aisled nave at the west.
A variant form of the centralized church was developed in Russia and came to prominence in the sixteenth century.
Here the dome was replaced by a much thinner and taller hipped or conical roof which perhaps originated from the need to prevent snow from remaining on roofs.
Basilica Architecture (Formally Adopted in the 4th Century)
Cathedral Architecture Cont.
"The Cathedral’s symbolism spans from the building as a whole to the smallest corner of its windows. Designed to create a sense of uplift, awe, and human connection, architecture does its part in the Cathedral mission to be 'a house of prayer for all people and a unifying center of intellectual light and leadership.'" - The Cathedral, They Symbolic
Romanesque Architecture Cont.
As a body of knowledge was eventually re-developed, buildings became larger and more imposing. Romanesque cathedrals from the early Middle Ages
Solid, massive, impressive churches that are often still the largest structure in many towns.
In Britain, the Romanesque style became known as “Norman” because the major building scheme in the 11th and 12th centuries was instigated by William the Conqueror, who invaded Britain in 1066 from Normandy in northern France
The arches that define the naves of these churches are well modulated and geometrically logical
Repeating shapes, and proportions that make sense for an immense and weighty structure. There is a large arcade on the ground level made up of bulky piers or columns.
The piers may have been filled with rubble rather than being solid, carved stone.
Above this arcade is a second level of smaller arches, often in pairs with a column between the two.
Romanesque Architecture Cont.
Decoration is often quite simple, using geometric shapes rather than floral or curvilinear patterns.
Common shapes used include diapers—squares or lozenges—and chevrons, which were zigzag patterns and shapes.
Plain circles were also used, which echoed the half-circle shape of the ubiquitous arches.
Early Romanesque ceilings and roofs were often made of wood, as if the architects had not quite understood how to span the two sides of the building using stone, which created outward thrust and stresses on the side walls
This development, of course led from barrel vaulting (simple, semicircular roof vaults) to cross vaulting, which became ever more prominent in Gothic.
Pictures of Romanesque Churches
Gothic Architecture (1200-1500 AD)
Medieval England that developed from Norman Architecture
Such a large time span meant that a number of styles developed within Gothic architecture and it is common to divide these styles into three sections:
1200 to 1300 is referred to as Early English
1300 to 1400 referred to as Decorated
1400 to 1500, known as Perpendicular
Characterized by large towers and spires
Gothic era coin- greater knowledge of engineering
Increase in knowledge and skills acquired over the years,
Stone was specifically cut so that it fitted next to other stone blocks with precision. Therefore, the large blocks of stone favored by the Normans, were replaced by shaped stone.
Gothic Architecture Cont.
Walls and pillars were solid and this allowed them to cope with much greater weights.
This simple fact allowed churches and especially cathedrals to be much larger than Norman ones
Why the cathedrals and churches of the Gothic era were so much larger than previous ones.
Use of pointed arches
Allowed a much greater weight to be carried when compared to a Norman rounded arch
Cathedral roofs were now much larger than Norman roofs. Therefore, they were a lot heavier.
To ensure that the walls and pillars could take such a weight, the architects in this era developed what were known as buttresses.
These were additions to the main part of the cathedral that allowed the extra weight to be transferred to additional parts of a cathedral than ran alongside the nave and then down into the foundations.
Gotchic Aritecture Cont
The ability to cope with greater weights also allowed Gothic architects to use larger windows
Cathedrals and churches could have large stained glass windows
These new huge buildings cost vast sums of money. Peasants and town dwellers paid numerous taxes to the church – a tax at baptisms, marriages and deaths; tithes and for centuries people had to work for free on church land
Abbey Architecture (13th -16th Century AD)
Three elements, “stability”, “symbol” and “utility”, are what monastery structure focuses on
Stability invites a solid and powerful construction, it is the symbolism that defines the architecture of the monastic space
The cloister takes up the center of the monastery
This is the place that symbolically indicates that monastic life is like communion with God (it is roofless, to experience the sky) and with the brothers. It is from the cloister that one accesses all areas of the monastery.
Abbey Architecture Cont
The church, of striking dimensions, symbolically presents that principle activities of the monk: prayer in choir, known as Dei, the work of God.
This, beginning in the second millennium, is placed (except on very rare occasions) to the north of the cloister.
On the opposite end of the church, on the south part of the monastery, the refectory is normally located.
These two opposite positions, the church to the north and the refectory to the south, probably obey practical functions
The church to the north constitutes a notable barrier to the cold and the refectory to the south guarantees a meal in the warmth even during the wintertime.
It is “symbols” however that remain the fundamental perspective to fully understand the positioning of the rooms and the architectural structure of the monastery, because in the monastic vision the reality of the earth must always refer to that of heaven.
Gothic Revival Architecture (18th and 19th Century)
Castle-like towers, parapets, and tracery windows were common, as well as the pointed Gothic arched windows and entries.
The Carpenter Gothic style is a variation of the Gothic Revival style with vertical board and batten wooden siding, pointed arches and incised wooden trim.
The most commonly identifiable feature of the Gothic Revival style is the pointed arch, used for windows, doors
Characteristic details include steeply pitched roofs and front facing gables with delicate wooden trim called vergeboards or bargeboards.
Gothic Revival style buildings often have porches with decorative turned posts or slender columns, with flattened arches or side brackets connecting the posts
Gothic Revival style churches may have not just pointed arch windows and porticos, but often feature a Norman castle-like tower with a crenellated parapet or a high spire
Mausoleum Architecture (19th and 20th Century)
A square or circular domed structure which housed a sarcophagus.
The Emperor Constantine built for his daughter Costanza a mausoleum which has a circular central space surrounded by a lower ambulatory or passageway separated by a colonnade. Ancient circular or polygonal churches are comparatively rare. A small number, such as the Temple Church, London were built during the Crusades in imitation of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher as examples in England, France and Spain.
The circular or polygonal form lent itself to those buildings within church complexes that perform a function in which it is desirable for people to stand, or sit around,
Centralized focus, rather than an axial one.
In Italy the circular or polygonal form was used throughout the medieval period for baptisteries, while in England it was adapted for chapter houses.
In France the aisled polygonal plan was adapted as the eastern terminal and in Spain the same form is often used as a chapel.