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Classical Architecture .

Renaissance, Baroque, and Rococo Architecture

Dr. Khaled Mohamed Dewidar Professor of Architecture. Ain Shams University Cairo Egypt.

:A) Renaissance Architecture)

The Renaissance of Classical Architecture that started in Italy by the early 15th century propagated through Europe and its Eastern Empire. Geographical and climatic conditions all over Europe were not a major influence for the spread of the Renaissance ideas, thoughts and philosophies. On the contrary religious ideas were highly affected by the invention of printing and the consequent spread of knowledge, freedom of thought and inquiry. All these ideas lead to:

Reformation in religion * .Renaissance in art, literature, and architecture * .A consequent break in the art of building and architecture *

The social impact had a great influence on the spread of these ideas. This was manifested in the readings of Dante and Petrarch. Both aided in the spread of newly discovered ideas in literature that prepared the ground for a revolt against the medieval art and architecture in favor for a revived ancient Roman art and

architecture. The fall of Ottoman Empire helped the fled of Greek Scholars to Rome and their knowledge helped the society and prepared the people for a new age and era which we may call the Renaissance Era. Among the classical Greek and Roman literature that were brought to the light were the treatise on classical architecture by both Leon Batista Alberti and Paolo Vitruvius. Similarly. The writings of Erasamus by 1450 directed the people to the reading of the original text of the New Testament, and the Greek philosophy as alternative for the medieval mythical philosophies, readings and writings. The soil was fertile for a new culture and ideologies. Beside all the previous influences, the society was influenced by three major inventions:

* The invention of the gun powder that changed the methods of the warfare and thus making all medieval city walls obsolete.

* The discovery of America by Christopher Columbus in1492 and the cape of Good hope by Diaz in 1487. All the discoveries opened the way for new colonies and new markets for the goods. Thus preparing the society, for a new age of discoveries and inventions.

* The invention of printing that helped and promoted the spirit of inquiries and the spread of architectural knowledge all over Europe.

* Galileo challenged the intellectual life in1530 simply by arguing that the Earth is not the center of the universe but it is merely a small planet in the solar system.

Renaissance ideas and concepts appeared in various forms and shapes, in England: in the form of domestic architecture, in Italy: in the form of churches, cathedrals and palaces, while in France: in the form of palaces and chateaux. The Jesuits, who led movement called a movement called the Counter Reformation, carried the Renesaissance ideas all over the European continent.

The Renaissance Architectural Character

This movement started in Italy as a continuum of the classical Roman Architecture. Italy was the birth place for the early Renaissance architecture, since the Gothic architecture never had an upper hand in its heritage. Renaissance architecture; in spite it helped to recover all the classical ideas, it remained fundamentally different. Classical only 0on its external expression, it was characterized by the re-introduction of Roman classical orders, that were not used for nearly a century. These columns were used as rational and as decorative elements in the design and sometimes as structural work and sometimes as merely ornamental work on the faade. As a summary: the Roman historical precedent was followed with new combinations of classical elements that were progressively developed. The Renaissance as an architectural style was not an outcome of a structural method as the Gothic architectural style, but it is largely a decorative style that evolved from an ancient precedent and thus opening the way to different schools and followers in the form periods.

(A-1) The Early Renaissance Period.

In this era the true nature of the Renaissance as an architectural style began to emerge due to regional characters that started to spread all over Europe. All the different Renaissance eras led to another antiquarian phase that combined all different phases and styles in one single whole that we may call as the Neo Classical Architecture.

The early Renaissance Era that started in Florence as its birth place was characterized by a new building type: the PALACE. This architectural style could be characterized by: (A) Rusticated and rugged surfaces. (B) Massiveness of the architectural form (C) Internal courts and circular arcades. (D) No use of pilaster as a decorative element on the faade. (E) No ornamentations. (F) Concentration on main features of the structure. (G) Architecture of simplicity and boldness. (H) Projected roof cornices that crowns that top of the building. (I) External arcades. (J) Fanciness of sculptures and paintings. (K) Architecture at this period is the product of an individual architectural thought rather than a school or a style to be followed. It waited till the High Renaissance period to an independent architectural style of its own.

(L) The dependence on ratios derived from music, 1:1, 1:2, 2:3, and 3:4. They believed that these ratios are cosmic or divine oriented ratios that had to be expressed as a mathematical proportion all over the structure. (M)The human body is the center of the universe. (N) The centrally planned church or the circular design is the most perfect and absolute reflecting God on Earth. The early renaissance architects were very much interested in geometry. They favored the simple and the straight forward forms instead of the complex medieval shapes. They relied on the circle as a perfect geometrical form. They inserted the human body inside a circle and a square, thus demonstrating that human body is a reflection of the divine proportions. Thus illustrating that the human body was proportioned according .the divine ratios

Different Periods of Renaissance Architecture

First Phase: Learning and copying from the antiquity. (Housing Projects)

Second Phase: Renaissance became an independent style of its own. (Civic

buildings, palaces, and gardens.)

Third Phase: The purist school headed by Andrea Palladio. It is characterized by

being logical, serene and symmetrical architecture.

Fourth Phase: Proto Baroque. It was headed by Michel Angelo and characterized
by: 5

* Stucco as a plastering medium * Large ornamentations instead of brick works. * Vivid architecture. * Intense and heavy architecture. * Restless architecture. * Human proportions and scale.

Fifth Phase: The Mannerist school in architecture.

Renaissance Architecture could be classified into four eras:

(A) The Early Renaissance Era. (Filippo Brunelleschi) (B) The High Renaissance Era. (Michel Angelo, Bram ante, Palladio, Leonardo Da Vinci)) (C) The Baroque era. (Bernini) (D) The Rococo Era. (Fransco Boromini)

Filippo Brunelleschi (1377 -1446).


Filippo Brinelleschi looked up on architecture as an art of form and construction that will finally lead to a new concept of beauty based on the human proportion as a reflection of the divine ratio. His architecture could be classified as follows: Rugged and rusticated masonry walls. The use of classical orders as a reflection of antiquity. The external baluster as an inseparable of the external decoration. Pendentived domes as a dominating architectural feature. Square bays that could be used as a repeated module. The use of a drum underneath the dome as a dominating feature for the dome above the city sky line and a method of illuminating the interior of the church. Double and tripled domed shell from the inside of the structure to decrease the final weight of the structure. Circular arches instead of the pointed Gothic arches. The lantern and an oculus over the dome. Semi circular vaults and cross vaults instead of the groined gothic vaults. Vaults with equal heights and elliptical interactions. Latin cross plans based on the Christ Dimensions and proportions.

He Left to Rome from Florence after losing the architectural competition to design the bronze doors of Florence Baptistery. In Rome he studied the ancient city and its monuments. He discovered the principles of Linear Perspective. Thus making it possible to represent a three dimensional object on a two dimensional plane. His first application for a linear perspective was a drawing by the master Masaccio (1401)

were he applied the laws of linear perspective on a fresco painting entitled "The Trinity," it depicts God the father sitting on a chair and holding the Christ on the cross and surrounded by St. Mary and St. John and beside them to kneeling donors. The whole figure is framed by an Ionic columns supporting an arch that creates a coffered barreled vaulted chapel. In 1407, Filippo returned to Florence, where the cathedral was under construction. The first construction of the cathedral started in 1292 for the design of Arnofolo di Cambio. He produced a building with Gothic characters with the following features: (A) Pointed arches. (B) Ribbed vaults. (C) Piers. (D) Flying buttresses.

Di Cambi, indented to build a huge dome on an octagonal layout with an average height of 150 feet. He did not have any idea of how to build such a dome, due to the excessive thrust that would burst the dome outside its confinements. These constraints required, tension members and huge buttresses and a new idea of scaffolding that could be used to center and raise the dome up. Brunelleschi, influenced by massive Roman constructions and Gothic innovative structural systems was capable to built and raise such a huge structure: He employed Gothic pointed arches and cross sections instead of the semicircular one in order to reduce the outward thrust of the dome. He created a double shelled dome to reduce the final dead load of the huge dome. He used radial and concentric masonry ribs.

He invented a movable scaffolding system that helped in centering the masonry courses. He used the finished masonry courses as scaffolding for the next courses, until he successfully completed the whole dome.

The dome is composed of 8 main sandstone ribs rising from each of the eight corners of the octagonal drum of 11x11 cross section. They taper upwards to the final apex, where there is a ring covered by a lantern. Between these 8 main ribs there is a pair of intermediate secondary ribs. Making a total number of 24 vertical sandstone ribs.

To hold the double shell of the domes, he placed 5 horizontal iron chains. Near the base of the dome he placed 24 chestnut timber rods each one foot by 24 foot long that are bolded together in continuous tension rings. These resist the outwards thrust of the dome.

Brunelleschi invented various machines to facilitate the dome construction and to raise the masonry blocks to the working platform.

He used models to experiment, test and demonstrate his final calculations. He built a huge model beside the original cathedral of scale 1/12 of the original form. For him the model helped to study the final architectural and structural solution.

The final completion of the dome was done after his death, but he laid the structural foundations of how to built and raise such a huge structure.

The Foundling Hospital


He expressed in this project his love for ancient Rome. This hospital is the first example of the Renaissance architecture in its early phases (early Renaissance). It was built in1421 to continue the link with classical tradition that was maintained in Florence. It has a continuous arcade based on Corinthian columns across its main faade and around the internal court yard. The arcade is a three dimensional extension in space with a domed loggia in each bay. Semi circular arches are used to span the width of the loggia.

St. Lorenzo Church (1421)

A Latin cross plan. Corinthian circular columns on the aisles of the church. Coffered ceiling. Pilasters on the walls of the church. Semi circular openings.

The Church of St. Spirto (1445)


Circular arches and colonnades. Half circular columns instead of wall pilasters. Unified system of proportion. Square bays. In St. Lorenzo (4 square bays makes the nave (4:1), while in St Spirito 2 square bays makes the nave (2:1)

The same module running all over the church plan. Attention to minor details. Coffered ceilings. Corinthian columns.

Pazzi Chapel (1433)

Square bays and numerical proportions Repeat ion of modules and grids Circular arches and grids. The plan is generated by placing a circle of a dome over a square divided into 3 bays. A barrel vault covering the main space. Three main domes covering the three internal square bays. Corinthian columns and pilasters.


(A-2) The High Renaissance Era. (THE AGE OF HUMANISM)

(1) Leonardo Da Vinci:

He was a master in nearly every thing (water currents, air movements, anatomy etc.) Architecturally he was interested in the centrally planned churches. The church of St. Maria at Todi by Bramante is based on one of Leonardo's sketches. It is a square in plan with one semi circular apse and 3 polygonal side apses. The square generated a cube while the semi circle generated a dome on a drum. In 1482, while Leonardo in Milan; he became a close friend to Bramante.

Bramante's architecture could be characterized by the following items:

Highly decorative interiors Externally detailed architecture. Coffered vaulted interiors. Domes with lanterns.

Bramante utilized anew concept of the optical illusions in presenting his interiors especially in the church of St. Maria Satiro (1492) due to the existence of a street


behind and flush with the choir. He designed an illusionist choir, that when vied from the main church axes would provide with the convincing appearance of a barrel vault extending through the wall. This is done by using the illusion of one vanishing point linear perspective. He simulated the space he wished to build in actuality. He based the foundation principles of the tromp l'oiel drawings on walls and ceilings that would be used extensively in the future. In 1499, Bramante left Milan due its French invasion. He went to Rome where he studied ancient architecture and antiquity. In 1502, King Ferdinand and his wife Queen Isabella hired Bramante to design a church on the same site where St. Peter was martyred. His plan for the Tempietto is based on the following: * Circular colonnade. * Centrally designed church. * Ribbed dome. * Oculus. * Balustrades. * A two storey cylinder covered by a semi circular dome and surrounded by one storey Roman Doric columns. * An external projected cornices.

In 1505, Nicholas the fifth was the acting Roman Pop. He asked Bramante to make the first attempt to design and build the cathedral of St. Peter, on the bases of a Greek cross plan that could accommodate the tomb of the Pop. Instead of copying from ancient ideas and from the Roman Heritage especially from the Pantheon, Bramante intended to out do all the Roman past structures and proposed a domed structure more


daring than any other edifice. It was dome on a drum and supported on circular arches. Structurally, this dome could never be build based on the size of the piers proposed by Bramante that would have made it structurally unsafe and unstable. Bramante died in 1514, while the church of St. Peter was under construction. It waited for the next 150 years to be fully completed. In this church every architect from the Renaissance till the end of the Baroque and the Rococo worked in its execution.

The High Renaissance Period could be characterized architecturally by:

Massiveness. Three dimensional spatial constructions. New building techniques especially in the f lying scaffoldings and at the same time maintaining the spirit of antiquity. Bay and grid modules. The efficient use of the space.

(A-3) The Late Renaissance Period. (Mannerism) (1520)

Architects of the Early and High Renaissance studied the buildings of ancient Rome and antiquity and made hem models to be copied from. Those of the Late Renaissance (called Mannerism) achieved a personal artistic expression based on imagination to


produce a classical architecture of their own. Mannerism comes form the Italian word MANIERA; meaning refined, grace and order. The most important architects of this period are: Raphael (1521), Guilio Romano (1574), Gorgio Vasari (1546), Michelangelo (1564), and Andrea Palladio (1580).

Important Projects of the Late Renaissance Period.

(1)The Villa Madama Rome (1516):

Raphael designed this villa for the Pop Clement vii. It is considered a signature building for the Late Renaissance period. It a design based on an n open loggia or an open vista plan that over looks on a beautiful garden. It is characterized by the following items: * A circular courtyard. * Superimposed colonnade of bricks. * The concept of movement or dynamism that offers beautiful view points through out the villa. * A new theory of design based on the idea of design by opposites, (In /out, horizontal/ vertical.)


(2) Palazzo Del Te. (1534):

This palace was designed for a couple who are newly married, it is considered as honey moon villas. It was designed by Gulio Romano who: Studied ancient Roman buildings and structures Represented the ruined condition of ancient monuments as his contribution to the 16 Century architecture. All Roman and classical details are shown in his architectural work Rooms surround the central court yard. Extended cornices all over the structure. Doric pilasters. The building appears to be in an unfinished condition, as shown in the unfinished wall niches and the removal of all statues from the walls. Cracked walls and fishers are painted on the walls as a sense of the ruined condition of the edifice. All these previous features create a sense of tension and unbalance through the whole structure. (The concept of instability within the whole structure.)


Michel Angelo
Michelangelo lived in Rome during the era of Pop Leo x. His architectural projects are:

(1) Laurentian Library (1524)

It was placed within the cloister of the church of St. Lorenzo. Michelangelo wanted to utilize the skylight to illuminate the reading rooms of the library, but the Pop rejected this idea because he was afraid that it would leak water in the interior of the library and the reading rooms underneath the skylight. So Michelangelo utilized a clear storey window concept to illuminate the vestibule of the library. The vestibule with its clear storey windows that separated by paired recessed columns are a mannerist invention by Michelangelo. He emphasized on the concept of instability of the whole structure by making these paired recessed columns to be supported on consoles so that the columns appear be carried on a weak element and thus the sense of instability is emphasized. Here all this visual drama would create a sense of tension and compressed energy within the wall. This is the concept that Michelangelo called Restless Space Concept... This concept is further emphasized by a triple dynamic stair case leading to the reading room. This stair is divided into three flights as it pours from one flight into three flights. The inner stair has a hand rail while the outer ones do not. Michelangelo transferred the stair case into a dynamic sculpture.


(2) The Compidoglio Rome (1534)

It is the second project by Michelangelo. It was intended to reestablish the grandeur of Rome by developing the Compidoglio, which was the ancient seat of the Roman government. Pop Paul III transferred the equestrian bronze statue of Marcus Aureoles to be the center piece of this square. Michelangelo was asked by the Pop to bring order and to produce a setting for the square and to find an ideal solution for the two buildings framing the square and to design two new facades for them. Especially that the two buildings are on acute angles with each other. In spite of all these constraints, it provided an opportunity for Michelangelo to design a civic plaza with the confinements of a major city. He produced a brilliant idea based on a trapezoidal plaza to regulate the difficult geometries established by the existing buildings and designed an oval marble pavements that be the focus of the equestrian statue in its center. This plaza is characterized by the following:

1) Axiality 2) Symmetry. 3) Architectural Details. 4) Linear perspective in points of vision.

Behind the equestrian statue, Michelangelo extended the trapezoidal plaza with a new building type (ramp-stair) to link the piazza with city center beneath it.


(3) The Church of St. Peter Rome (1546).

In 1546, Michelangelo was appointed as a chief architect to complete the church of St. Peter. He completed the work previously done by Bramante that was based on a Greek cross plan. He increased the thickness of the central piers that was the main defect of Bramante initial architectural work. Michelangelo was influenced by Filippo Bruneleschi's dome of Florence Cathedral, and intended to build a dome bigger and higher than that of Florence. This dome is characterized by the following: 1) Hemi spherical dome. 2) 16 main ribs. 3) Circular layout. 4) Drum wit horizontal windows. The dome of Florence Cathedral is characterized by the following: 1) Gothic profile. 2) Octagonal 8 main ribs. 3) Layout. 4) Drum with circular windows.

The dome according to Michelangelo's ideas and concepts was never constructed, since the thrust due to the length of the dome was enormous and the drum of the dome according to Michelangelo's concept can not take it. Giacomo Della Porta, employed a slightly taller profile to decrease the trust as much as possible and to increase the weight of the lantern to direct the forces of the dome


directly downwards to the drum. He used double attached columns attached to the drum to act as a new concept of buttresses that would force the trust forces downwards to the great piers underneath. Giacomo della Porta also utilized steel tension chains within the brick works of the dome to give more stability and balance to the dome. In1606, Carlo Moderno completed the whole setting of St. Peter by adding an arcade around the central court of St. Peter and also added an Egyptian obelisque surrounded by two fountains designed by Berrnini.

Andrea Palladio (1508)

He was born in 1508 and trained as a stonemason. He traveled extensively to Rome for classical architectural education and to measure ancient and classical structures. He highly influenced all Western architecture through: His buildings. His writings. He wrote a major book on classical architecture," The Four Books of Architecture", or IL Quattro Libri. He formalized the Renaissance most coherent system of proportion, where he determined the entire dimension from the musical consonances, and arranged the rooms according a modulated grid. Convenience of architectural design was the basis for a good design Delight is an important issue in architectural design. Palladio interpreted ancient and classical theoreticians as Vitruvius, by saying that the Greek Temples had evolved from houses and domestic architecture.


An observation that refers to the similarity between the house and the temple in all of Palladio's designs. It appeared in his designs, by Adding classical columns on the external faade. Adding a pediment and all the classical vocabulary on the building front and exteriors. He believed that by copying from Greek Temples he was following the classical tradition; but in fact he was making a new architectural language that is still in use up till today. He is considered to be the first modern architect who based the principles of unity, clarity and logical planning in architecture that still influence modern architecture till today.

The first public commission for Palladio was to add a new skin for a medieval market place. He added a two storey arcade of Doric and Ionic columns one on top of the other. The most important feature of this design was a repeated unit of 3 openings of a central arcaded one supported on a pair of small columns and set off by a large half column between each bay. This unit was known historically as a Serlian Bay Window.

Palladio was given his fame by the design of villas and palaces all over Rome and Venice. He built them for nobles and very wealthy Venetian merchants.


Palazzo Chiericati
In this project Palladio, treated the external faade as a Roman temple. The palace is divided into three pavilions. The central bay is projected and accentuated by clustered columns, thus creating an impression of strength and power. The other two recessed bays flank the central bay and all of the three bays over look the central forum. In this palace he used the following items as his architectural vocabulary: Projected cornices. Balustrades. Roman god statues flanking the outer cornice. Doric orders on the ground floor followed by Ionic orders on the first floor, and his intention was to build a third floor with Corinthian orders.

Villa Barbaro (1557-1558)

This villa is characterized by the following: Symmetrical Architectural design. Tri-partite division of the faade. (A central bay flanked by two side bays). External arcade to connect the external bys, Large windows for natural illumination. The use of shade and shadow due to a number projecting elements on the faade, thus giving a sense of depth on the faade. Broken and split pediment on the main entrance of the villa.


The use of sculpture and base reliefs on the main pediment above the main villa entrance.

The application of the temple front concept (columns and pediments) on the main building faade.

Villa Foscari (1559-1560) Venice

In this villa, Palladio invented a new building type, "The Dog Leg Stair Case," that would lead to the main portico on the ground floor. This will lead to a vaulted cruciform space that extends to the full depth of the building .He used a consistent proportion system through out the whole structure. All the rooms have the ratios of 1:1, 2:3, 1:2, and 3:4. The plan of the building if measured by comparing the length to its width, it would conform to the golden section.

Villa Rotonda (1566-1570) - Vincenza.

It is considered to be the most important villa ever designed by Palladio that gave him his fame all over the history of architecture. It is identified by the following aspects: Square in the plan and in the layout. Central two storey rotunda. Loggias on the four sides of the villa. Internally, there is a cruciform space covered by a dome on a drum. Temple front elevation.


Projected cornice. Axiality and symmetry. The existence of statues of gods on the faade. The villa is a basic cube covered by a dome.

The Church of St. Giorgio Maggiore. (1565)- Venice.

It is considered to be the most significant church in Venice. It has a double classical temple front. It represents a new solution of placing a classical temple faade if front of a bassilican cross section. Palladio combined two temple fronts in this church: * A tall one consisting of 4 Corinthian columns on pedestals that supports the main church pediment. * A wide secondary temple faade with small Corinthian pilasters matching the sloping of the double aisle roof. This church represents a new concept of a double faade (screens) that was represented earlier in the Pantheon of Rome. * Volumetric unity s achieved all over the church, internally and externally, this is done by painting the two superimposed faade with a white color, thus emphasizing the concept of unity and clarity.


(B) Rococo Architecture (1700 1750)

Bold Architecture. Impressive. Full of curvature. Cut up pediments. Ornamented Architecture Visual and play with forms. Overlapping of shapes and forms. Multiple foci rather than a consistent rhythm as in the Renaissance period. Highly enriched play and flow of forms. Multiplicity of forms and not a single consistent shape. Overlapping of orders. Free standing pilasters. Circular and triangulated pediments. The use of scrolls and volutes as an end design element. Visual concentration on the final form. The index of curvature and sinuous lines in the final architectural composition. The play of light and shade. Dramatic effect of the exterior. Concealed windows in the interior. Interiors are conceived in terms of volumes and not surfaces. Vigorous and robust interiors. 25

Multiple centers and foci. Volumes contained within volumes.

All these architectural styles were adopted in Europe based on its closeness to Italy:

* In the year 1500 Renaissance architecture was introduced to Italy.

* In 1589 it was introduced to France.

* In 1603 in was introduced to England.

Dr. Khaled Mohamed Dewidar.