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Architecture since 1400

Architecture since 1400

Kathleen James-Chakraborty
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 512
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    Architecture since 1400
    Book Description:

    The first global history of architecture to give equal attention to Western and non-Western structures and built landscapes,Architecture since 1400is unprecedented in its range, approach, and insight. From Tenochtitlan's Great Pyramid in Mexico City and the Duomo in Florence to Levittown's suburban tract housing and the Bird's Nest Stadium in Beijing, its coverage includes the world's most celebrated structures and spaces along with many examples of more humble vernacular buildings. Lavishly illustrated with more than 300 photographs, plans, and interiors, this book presents key moments and innovations in architectural modernity around the globe.

    Deftly integrating architectural and social history, Kathleen James-Chakraborty pays particular attention to the motivations of client and architect in the design and construction of environments both sacred and secular: palaces and places of worship as well as such characteristically modern structures as the skyscraper, the department store, and the cinema. She also focuses on the role of patrons and addresses to an unparalleled degree the impact of women in commissioning, creating, and inhabiting the built environment, with Gertrude Jekyll, Lina Bo Bardi, and Zaha Hadid taking their place beside Brunelleschi, Sinan, and Le Corbusier.

    Making clear that visionary architecture has never been the exclusive domain of the West and recognizing the diversity of those responsible for commissioning, designing, and constructing buildings,Architecture since 1400provides a sweeping, cross-cultural history of the built environment over six centuries.

    eISBN: 978-1-4529-4171-4
    Subjects: Architecture and Architectural History, Art & Art History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-xx)

    The tomb of Timur, known as the Gur-i-Mir, erected in Samarqand in what is now Uzbekistan, and the Glass House in the suburbs of São Paulo, Brazil, would at first appear to have little if anything in common (Figures I. 1 and I.2). The tomb was constructed around 1404 out of load-bearing baked bricks. These are techniques and materials that have been used since prehistoric times. The front of the Glass House, designed in 1950 and completed the following year, is a glass-filled reinforced concrete box. The steel pillars upon which it is perched run through the interior of the...

  5. 1 Ming and Qing China
    (pp. 1-15)

    In 1368 the Ming dynasty seized control of China from the descendants of the Mongol invader Genghis Khan, who had ruled the Middle Kingdom since 1271. The Hongwu emperor, the founder of the new dynasty, shifted his capital from Dadu, present-day Beijing, to Nanjing. Upon his death, his grandson became emperor. After only four years, however, Hongwu’s fourth son seized the throne from his nephew. Already governor of Dadu, the Yongle emperor shifted the capital back to his stronghold there. To confirm his rule, in 1407 he began the construction of the Forbidden City, still the world’s largest palace and...

  6. 2 Tenochtitlán and Cuzco
    (pp. 16-29)

    It can be difficult for us to remember how limited the knowledge of world geography was in the fifteenth century. Europeans, Asians, and Africans were at least vaguely aware of each other, but not of the inhabitants of the two continents that separated the Atlantic Ocean from the Pacific. Nor did the worldview of the people who lived in what we now call the Americas encompass the great Eurasian–African land masses. There had, of course, been contact between these two halves of the world. Vikings from what are now Iceland and Greenland, for instance, had briefly settled in the...

  7. 3 Brunelleschi
    (pp. 30-43)

    In 1418 the city of Florence in what is now Italy held an architectural competition. More than one hundred years after work had begun on Santa Maria del Fiore (Our Lady of the Flower), the city’s cathedral, construction had reached an impasse. How were the Florentines to build the projected dome, which would be the broadest erected in Europe in almost a thousand years? In particular, how could such a dome be realized without the expensive centering used for the pointed rib vaults of the nave, which were neither as wide nor as tall as the space that now needed...

  8. 4 Medici Florence
    (pp. 44-60)

    The ancient forms and construction techniques revived by Filippo Brunelleschi served the modern uses of fifteenth-century Florence, one of the most dynamic cities of the time. For the next century and a half, the organization of elevation, plan, and section according to an ideal mathematics and accented in the revived classical orders continued to be developed by Florentines and others on the Italian Peninsula. This new order was, however, almost never applied to Renaissance cities as a whole. Instead, these schemes remained confined largely to painting. The example in Figure 4.1, attribution of which remains the subject of considerable scholarly...

  9. 5 The Renaissance in Rome and the Veneto
    (pp. 61-74)

    If Brunelleschi’s original goal was to solve technological problems, much of his genius lay in his invention of a new architectural vocabulary capable of expressing social and divine order. He and his talented Florentine successors sought to create a modern architecture tied as well to ancient Roman and medieval Italian precedents. Because there was nothing intrinsically Florentine about its sources, other Italians quickly adopted Renaissance architecture. As it spread, it was transformed to buttress existing institutions, especially the Catholic Church, as well as to express change, such as the new importance to Venetian merchant families of their agricultural hinterland. Indeed,...

  10. 6 Resisting the Renaissance
    (pp. 75-91)

    By the middle of the sixteenth century, Renaissance churches were being erected in Latin America and in Portuguese outposts in Asia. Colonial architecture continued to be a showcase for advanced European design ideas until well after World War II. North of the Alps, however, the Renaissance met considerable resistance. As late as the end of the seventeenth century, the Grand Place in Brussels, Belgium, was rebuilt complete with towering gables that were unlike anything in Italy, but that had—admittedly with considerable variation—been in fashion there for five hundred years. Similar gables also capped the seventeenth-century houses that lined...

  11. 7 The Ottomans and the Safavids
    (pp. 92-108)

    The Netherlands and at times Great Britain aside, across Europe and Asia the fifteenth and especially the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were marked by increasingly centralized governments ruling from ever more splendid courts. The person of the ruler, buttressed by increasingly professional armies and civil servants, assumed progressively more importance, as absolutism pushed both aristocrats and the urban middle class to the side. The courts surrounding these rulers were not only filled with goods purchased on an increasingly international market but also housed in more regularized environments, which symbolized secular as well as sacred control over space. Classicism offered one,...

  12. 8 Early Modern South Asia
    (pp. 109-124)

    New dynasties also transformed the cities of early modern South Asia, whose imperial courts from the middle of the sixteenth to the end of the seventeenth century numbered among the world’s most impressive. Medieval ideas of spatial order grounded in Hindu religious beliefs were, like other indigenous architectural practices, at times supplanted by ideas imported from central and western Asia. The leaders in these developments were two Muslim emperors, Akbar and his grandson Shah Jahan, but a number of Hindu rulers also played an important part in the process.

    Akbar and Shah Jahan were Mughals, members of the third great...

  13. 9 Baroque Rome
    (pp. 125-140)

    From Beijing to Istanbul and from Florence to Tenochtitlán, most new and many existing forms of early modern architectural and urban order were inherently rectilinear. Even in northern Europe, where the classical orders were infrequently deployed as part of a comprehensive system for organizing built space, in the configuration of ambitious works of architecture such as Chambord and Hardwick Hall, axial symmetry increased in importance. At the end of the sixteenth century, however, Renaissance ideas of order began to give way to something new, particularly in Rome. A more dynamic approach to the shaping of architectural and, equally important, urban...

  14. 10 Spain and Portugal in the Americas
    (pp. 141-156)

    Bernini’s piazza fronting Saint Peter’s is the most imposing of the European public spaces whose design may have been unconsciously inflected by an awareness of the great plazas of the Americas. By the middle of the sixteenth century the two most important of these, the Zócalo in Mexico City and its counterpart in Cuzco, were dominated by Christian churches. The European conquerors of the Americas were most successful when they learned enough about the local societies to sense what aspects of their own culture could best be paired with indigenous ones in order to convince the native inhabitants to become...

  15. 11 Northern Baroque
    (pp. 157-172)

    Although the Renaissance had a limited impact on architecture in northern Europe, in the right circumstances the more flexible and theatrical baroque triumphed north of the Alps. Several court-sponsored designs from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries demonstrate that even as it was still being developed in Rome, the baroque was being thoroughly transformed to serve absolutist rulers elsewhere. Kings who sought unprecedented political and spatial authority appreciated the way in which the baroque could be used to create compelling propaganda. The new spatial order, which included suburban estates as well as urban squares, supported and symbolized a top-down political system...

  16. 12 City and Country in Britain and Ireland
    (pp. 173-190)

    By the middle of the seventeenth century, mercantile capitalism had unleashed major changes in the appearance of cities and buildings. From Amsterdam to Edo (present-day Tokyo) and along the seacoasts of Africa and the Americas, cities and their rural hinterlands were increasingly organized to participate in international trading networks. Although the seventeenth century is remembered across Europe and Asia as an age of absolutism, in which powerful emperors such as Louis XIV and Shah Jahan wielded unprecedented authority, the new emphasis on the production and consumption of commodities provided many nobles, merchants, and artisans with exciting new opportunities, even as...

  17. 13 Living on the North American Land
    (pp. 191-207)

    The British sixteenth- and seventeenth-century recolonization of Ireland, parts of which the English had originally seized in the twelfth century, provided a template for the British settlement of lands across the Atlantic, where new cash crops could be raised at great profits to those who supervised the process—profits that seldom benefited the labor they exploited or enslaved. A comparison of the settlements of Native Americans in what is now the United States and Canada with those of the European and African settlers in the British colonies founded along the Mid-Atlantic coast in the seventeenth century reveals that cultural differences...

  18. 14 Court and Dwelling in East and Southeast Asia
    (pp. 208-220)

    Colonization entails the imposition of a foreign power upon a landscape, a process that, although necessarily involving compromises, by definition places outsiders in control of spatial and architectural decisions previously controlled by locals. Influence, or the power of example, operates more subtly. For centuries, China was the world’s most powerful country. Not surprisingly, the Chinese architectural system had an enormous impact on the architecture of neighboring countries. Ringing China were cultures that balanced developing their own architectural solutions with modulating Chinese and other outside paradigms to suit their own purposes. The palaces, temples, and houses of Korea, Tibet, Thailand, and...

  19. 15 Edo Japan
    (pp. 221-236)

    Of all of China’s neighbors, Japan strayed furthest from the Chinese example. This had not been the case when in the eighth century imported Chinese architectural elements dominated the monumental temple and palace complexes of Nara, once one of East Asia’s most important cities. By the seventeenth century, the situation was different. The relative stability of the Chinese imperial architectural system and its oneness with the organization of space for Chinese extended families and religious institutions contrasted with the substantial architectural changes that took place across the course of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in Korea, Tibet, and Thailand. In...

  20. 16 Neoclassicism, the Gothic Revival, and the Civic Realm
    (pp. 237-254)

    The creation of new building types in the eighteenth century was not limited to the appearance of new structures for entertainment and commerce in Edo and London. One aspect of the enormous shifts in European and North American social and political organization that took place from the mid-eighteenth through the mid-nineteenth century was the emergence of civic buildings as the major preoccupation of a rapidly growing architectural profession. In 1776 the Americans declared their independence from Britain. Thirteen years later, the French stormed the Bastille. These were only the two most important of the revolts that resulted in the independence...

  21. 17 The Industrial Revolution
    (pp. 255-272)

    At the end of the eighteenth century, new political ideas began to transform architecture and society in Europe and the Americas. The emergence of civic architecture, however, was not the only force prompting architectural and urban transformation. Another was the Industrial Revolution. Since the seventeenth century, Amsterdam and London had been focal points for European economic modernization. These were mercantile cities, in which international trade and colonization generated a rapidly expanding middle class. Architectural historians have focused on the domestic and religious architecture of these cities’ new districts, but both also featured new environments in which to spend money, such...

  22. 18 Paris in the Nineteenth Century
    (pp. 273-289)

    The most famous Napoleon was emperor of France for ten years, from 1804 until 1814, and then again briefly in 1815 until his final defeat at the Battle of Waterloo. He ruled at his peak over territory stretching from Spain and Portugal to the gates of Moscow, but the goal of exporting the principles of the French Revolution—liberty, equality, and fraternity—gave way to personal conquest. In the end, many of the Revolution’s accomplishments were erased. The brother of the guillotined Louis XVI returned to the throne in 1815. By then France, the richest and most technologically advanced country...

  23. 19 The Domestic Ideal
    (pp. 290-306)

    The same political and technological shifts that spurred the erection of new civic and commercial buildings in cities such as Paris also triggered upheavals in an environment often understood as unchanging: the home. In Paris fashionable apartments were integrated into the same boulevards as the shops that served their residents. Cities in Britain and the United States developed along very different lines from those on the continent of Europe. Throughout the nineteenth century and up to the present, people in English-speaking countries developed a preference for detached or semidetached housing, often surrounded with front as well as rear gardens, on...

  24. 20 Empire Building
    (pp. 307-322)

    At the end of the eighteenth century the colonial empires founded in the wake of Columbus’s voyages to the New World were collapsing. The forces un-leashed by the American and French Revolutions appeared to herald the demise of European rule over distant territories. New political ideas about liberty were reinforced by domestic political challenges to the authority of the colonial powers. The economy of revolutionary France was nearly destroyed by the slave revolts that led to the independence of Haiti, the first black-ruled country in the Americas. Napoleon’s subsequent effort to seize Egypt from the Ottomans was an equally humiliating...

  25. 21 Chicago from the Great Fire to the Great War
    (pp. 323-341)

    Nineteenth-century Berlin, Paris, Calcutta, and Bombay were unlike any earlier cities. All boasted extensive civic infrastructure, which in Paris, in particular, was supplemented by unprecedented opportunities for shopping and entertainment. Although these cities were shaped by global capitalism, they were not simple diagrams of real estate values. Politics clearly mattered, particularly the need to acknowledge without granting the claims of middle-class men to participate in national and local government. From the brute political force occasionally displayed within the colonial city to the more idealistic new civic building types, such as museums, the architectural response to these demands softened the edges...

  26. 22 Inventing the Avant-Garde
    (pp. 342-358)

    Arriving at the architecture of the twentieth century, we confront the origins of the modern movement in the invention of avant-garde architecture. The termavant-garde,a French expression originally used by the military to describe advance troops, came to be applied to all forms of culture that consciously rejected the status quo in favor of new propositions about the path others were ex-pected to follow soon. The avant-garde emerged in mid-nineteenth-century Europe, particularly France, as artists, architects, and writers, as well as their supporters, rebelled against the institutionalized taste that had produced buildings that were uninspired versions of Schinkel’s Altes...

  27. 23 Architecture for a Mass Audience
    (pp. 359-373)

    The avant-garde was but a single facet of the modern movement and its prehistory. As Mies’s German Pavilion demonstrates, architectural reform made particularly strong inroads in the second and third decades of the twentieth century in Germany. Avant-garde buildings were by definition unusual and atypical. In Germany, however, the ornate historicism of the final decades of the nineteenth century was swept aside far more quickly than elsewhere. In many cases, the architecture that replaced it responded directly to conditions of mass culture as well as industrial production; in almost all, it acknowledged a fundamental shift in the audience for architecture....

  28. 24 Imposing Urban Order
    (pp. 374-390)

    The modern movement failed to capture the full impact of modernity on architecture and urbanism in the first half of the twentieth century. Industrial and abstract, functional and rational building was an insufficient response to the pressures on the city and the way in which they were tempered by forces of order. Nowhere in the world did modernism dominate architectural production in the 1920s. Even in the 1930s its full impact was largely limited to cities on the edge of Europe that wanted to prove their modernity through the use of radical architectural forms. Abstract industrial architecture had almost no...

  29. 25 The Modern Movement in the Americas
    (pp. 391-410)

    Nowhere in the world did modernism dominate the alternatives to it in the 1920s. In the 1930s its popularity faded in Germany, the Netherlands, Czechoslovakia, and the Soviet Union but grew in Britain, Scandinavia, the Balkans, and the eastern Mediterranean. Throughout the interwar period the new aesthetic was almost invisible in such obviously modern environments as factories and skyscrapers. The latter in particular remained decorously clad in sometimes understated, sometimes exuberant ornament. The concrete-framed Kavanagh Building in Buenos Aires, commissioned by Corina Kavanagh and designed by the firm of Sánchez, Lagos, and de la Torre, was typical of the art...

  30. 26 Africa: Villages and Cities
    (pp. 411-423)

    Because extensive European acquaintance with the African interior dates only to the nineteenth century, it is often assumed that this is territory without a history. Indeed, earlier written documents are far rarer here than in many other parts of the world. Nonetheless, we know that even when Portuguese sailors first arrived on the African coasts in the fifteenth century, the borders of the territories occupied by various peoples were fluid and often disputed. Only when Africa was colonized by Europeans, a process that began in the fifteenth century and culminated in the Italian conquest of Ethiopia in the 1930s, were...

  31. 27 Postcolonial Modernism and Beyond
    (pp. 424-438)

    Few issues were more prominent in international architectural culture during the last decades of the twentieth century than that of cultural identity, or, to put it very differently, place making. How can one represent one’s own cultural heritage or that of one’s clients in order to create buildings specific to the places in which they are built while simultaneously making those buildings appealing enough to an international audience to achieve fame? What combination of climate, geology, and culture constitutes place? Some of the more sophisticated answers to these complex questions emerged in the Middle East and South Asia. Although modern...

  32. 28 Postwar Japan
    (pp. 439-455)

    For more than half a century, Japanese architects have maintained a balance between the architectural vocabulary of the modern movement and opaque, but nonetheless widely commented upon, references to premodern Japanese architecture. The architecture of postwar Japan demonstrates the ways in which ideas of tradition and innovation have intersected in the first non-Western country whose architects have played starring roles on the international scene. Regardless of national background, architects often have more in common with each other than they do with their own compatriots. Since at least the middle of the twentieth century, and often decades earlier, students in architecture...

  33. 29 From Postmodern to Neomodern: The United States and Europe
    (pp. 456-471)

    Between 1965 and 1985, much of the European and American public turned away from modern architecture. Gradually, the architectural profession returned to the temporarily discredited paradigms, and the public has slowly followed. The reasons that modernism’s original emphasis on technology, as revived in the megastructural movement of the 1960s, fell out of favor included its association of industry and engineering with progress. That idea faded as people became more concerned about what is now known as sustainability and was then termed the environment. Both industrial and engineering imagery had come to stand for economic and civic institutions that were increasingly...

  34. 30 Chinese Global Cities
    (pp. 472-488)

    In 1991, the American sociologist Saskia Sassen published a prophetic book in which she coined the termglobal cities. In her study of the three centers of global finance—New York, London, and Tokyo—Sassen identified the salient characteristics of these cities’ economies during the 1980s. First, she pointed to the transition from industrial to service economies. Second, she focused on the global nature of many of these services, especially those characteristic of finance; she paid less attention to tourism, which would prove almost equally crucial to the appearance of late twentieth- and early twenty-first-century cities. Sassen also noted the...

    (pp. 489-498)
  36. INDEX
    (pp. 499-514)
  37. Back Matter
    (pp. 515-515)