Thursday, 8 August 2013

19th Century European Architecture

Out of my entire course, architecture is probably what I like the most, but this particular part was badbadbad. It is too unorganised and hurts.

In the 15th century the classical language of architecture diffused throughout Europe. All of what was to come (e.g Mannerism, Baroque, Neo-classicism) was also a direct result of that initial interest in the classical canon. By the 19th century, this canon had dissolved. There was no longer a distinctive style throughout Europe (as loosely as they were applied before they still provided a template).

Now that there was free range to do anything, the result was a plurality of styles. There was no longer any evolution (just imitation) which meant the classical language was dying whilst also struggling to compete with modern materials; ironically this was just as all styles were coming to be accepted.

Charles Robert Cockerel, the Professor's Dream, 1848
Represents a celebration of art in the past, shows how people in the 19th century looked back on all styles as equals.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Clifton Suspension Bridge, 1864
Representational of the growing tension between architecture at the dawn of the industrial revolution and what came before it.

James Stuart, Greek Revival Doric Temple at Hangley Hall, 1758-9
 Represents the 'beginning of the end'. A quotation of Greek style whilst being stagnant in development.

Schinkel, Altes Museum, 1824 - 30
The façade is essentially an exact copy of the side row of colonnades from a generic a Greek temple - yet another example of the language dissolving.

~19th century gothic revival~
Rather than having a playful tendency, it became a highly politicised style. Used for nationalistic agendas. Gothic perpendicular or Tudor styles were both accepted and used for political purposes because they are English styles.

Charles Barry and A.W.N Pugin, the Houses of Parliament, 1836
classical building encrusted with gothic elements
quotation of past for political puposes meant it had 'lost its soul'

~Exoticism and the Picturesque~
 John Nash, Brighton Pavilion, 1815-26
Some of the 'exotic' stuff to come out of this period is literally an experimentation with absolutely everything the past had created! Chinese and Indian elements were inside and usually confused as one in the same.... Now it is at Buckingham palace, apparently the room where the queen waves from her balcony is full of Asian stuff.

~ The 'Second Empire' in France ~
Charles Garnier, Opera, 1861-75, Paris
Parisians looking back to the time of Louie XIV's reign and seeing it as the golden age - thus, the style used in an attempt to great a 'second great empire' was a quotation of the past.
Mix of Classical and Baroque - eclectic picking without an organic purpose rendered the language dead.

~'Ferrovitreous structure'~
Ferro - Iron; Vitrium - Glass.
A structure made from Iron and Glass (core materials produced in the Industrial Revolution).

Sir Joseph Paxon, the Crystal Palace, 1851
A Palace made solely to hold an exhibition, so that England could portray itself as the centre of the world. Its been described by some as the new age cathedral in an industrialised world. It is 1851 ft long (has to be the same length as the year it was made??)  and is mostly burnt down now!

John and Washington Roebling, Brooklyn Bridge, 1883
Practical and public spaces often had historical facades until the Industrial Revolution took over, the historical tradition was rejected as it became impractical at such large scale. This was the largest bridge in the 19th century and was hanging on to the tradition of having classical architecture incorporated into modern structures. It notably has gothic arches and Egyptian elements in the entablature. It's not geographically European no, BUT it had all derived from us so it counts.

Labrouste, Bibliotheque Nationale, 1862-68, Paris
Another example of a modern building with older stylistic features. This one in particular quotes the Byzantine past in its pendentives.

W.H., R. M., Oridsh, St. Pancras Station, 1863 
George Gilbert Scott St Pancras Hotel, 1868

The practical elements on the inside were essentially hidden by the pretty outside; no longer feasible to cover a space like St. Pancras in vaulting or a coffered ceiling.

This rhetoric of the 19th century slowly marched into modernity.............
Walter Cropius, Fagus Factory, 1911

From this time forward a group of architects rejected the dead styles of the past and purely built buildings that were practical and out the materials from the industrial revolution. So now we're just left with ugly office looking buildings EVERYWHERE. Although my lecturer insists they were revolutionary for their time and therefore good, i'm not sure I agree.

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