As I walk along the street, I cant help but notice some of the big buildings around me. As I marvel at the vision of the builder, I often think about the source of this grand design.
In such times I recall what I read in the fantastic book ‘The Fountainhead’ by Ayn Rand. The book had mentioned in many ways that most buildings were inspired by famous old building styles.
As such, I decided to look up some of the Architectural styles that we find in history. The next time I see a familiar design, atleast I will be aware of something other than the old deja vu feeling 🙂

  1. Ancient Egypt :
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    Timeline : 3,050 BC-900 BC
    Location : Egypt
    Famous Architects : Imhotep.
    Famous Buildings : The Pyramids
    Info :
    • The ancient Egyptians didn’t use mortar, so the stones were carefully cut to fit together.
    • The development of the pyramid form allowed Egyptians to build enormous tombs for their kings.
    • The sloping walls could reach great heights because their weight was supported by the wide pyramid base.
  3. Classical :
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    Timeline : 850 BC-476 AD
    Location : Greece,Rome
    Famous Architects : Marcus Vitruvius
    Famous Buildings : Parthenon,Roman Colosseum
    Info :
    • From the rise of ancient Greece until the fall of the Roman empire, great buildings were constructed according to precise rules.
    • In his writings, Marcus Vitruvius introduced the Classical orders, which defined column styles and frieze designs used in Classical architecture. The earliest Classical orders were Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian.
    • The Romans borrowed heavily from the earlier Greek and Hellenistic styles, but their buildings were more highly ornamented.
  5. Gothic :
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    Timeline : 1100-1450
    Location : France
    Famous Architects :
    Famous Buildings : Chartres Cathedral, Church of St. Denis, Notre Dame Cathedral, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Adare Friary
    Info :
  7. Renaissance :
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    Timeline : 1400-1600
    Location : Italy and northern Europe.
    Famous Architects : Filippo Brunelleschi, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Giacomo da Vignola, Andrea Palladio,
    Famous Buildings : St. Peter’s Basilica, The Louvre, The Redentore, The Rotunda, The Basilica, San Giorigo Maggiore
    Info :
    • Classical ideas were reborn in Italy and northern Europe. This period is known as the Renaissance, which means born anew in French.
    • Before the dawn of the Renaissance, Europe was dominated by asymmetrical and ornate Gothic architecture. During the Renaissance, however, architects were inspired by the highly symmetrical and carefully proportioned buildings of Classical Greece and Rome.
    • Features of Renaissance Buildings:
      • Symmetrical arrangement of windows and doors.
      • Extensive use of Classical columns and pilasters.
      • Triangular pediments
      • Square lintels
      • Arches
      • Domes
      • Niches with sculptures
  9. Baroque :
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    Timeline : 1600-1830
    Location : Europe
    Famous Architects : Christopher Wren
    Famous Buildings : Palace of Versailles, The Trevi Fountain in Rome, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Casa del Prado
    Info :
    • In Italian, the word barocco means bizarre, and Baroque architecture certainly was extravagant.
    • The style involves lavished buildings with complex shapes, extravagant ornaments, opulent paintings, and bold contrasts.
    • Buildings in the Baroque style have many of these features:
      • Complicated shapes
      • Large curved forms
      • Twisted columns
      • Grand stairways
      • High domes
      • Trompe l’oeil paintings
  11. Art Deco :
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    Timeline : 1925-1937
    Location : Many parts of the world.
    Famous Architects : William Van Alen
    Famous Buildings : Empire State Building, Chrysler Building.
    Info :
    • With their sleek forms and zigzag designs, Art Deco buildings embraced the machine age.
    • The austere shapes of the Bauhaus School and streamlined styling of modern technology combined with patterns and icons taken from the Far East, classical Greece and Rome, Africa, Ancient Egypt, India, and Mayan and Aztec cultures.
    • Art Deco buildings have many of these features:
      • Cubic forms
      • Ziggurat shapes: Terraced pyramid with each story smaller than the one below it
      • Complex groupings of rectangles or trapezoids
      • Bands of color
      • Zigzag designs
      • Strong sense of line
      • Illusion of pillars
  13. Modernist :
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    Timeline : 1900-Present
    Location : Many parts of the world.
    Famous Architects : Berthold Luberkin, I.M. Pei.
    Famous Buildings : Seagram Building, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University.
    Info :
    • Modernist architecture emphasizes function. It attempts to provide for specific needs rather than imitate nature.
    • Modernist architecture has these features:
      • Little or no ornamentation
      • Factory-made parts
      • Man-made materials such as metal and concrete
      • Emphasis on function
      • Rebellion against traditional styles

Ref :
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6 thoughts on “Types of Buildings : Lessons from History

  1. so Imhotep was an architect, besides a magician WOW
    he could have been my superhero 🙂
    nice informative post.. btw, the most read forums on the internet pertain to skyscrapers, cos ppl are fascinated by them !

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