Architecture… Is an extremely interesting to see, how it develops over time, how each region of the world has its own type, and the amazing effort they took to construct. Some of these edifices is nothing short of amazing. For example, the Pyramids of Giza, the Roman Calcium, and the Great Wall of China are all pieces of architecture that are astounding in their design and structure. I choose to write about Egyptian architecture and Roman architecture. The Egyptians are most notably known for building there pyramids but that’s not all they developed they also constructed tombs, temples and palaces. The pyramids were ornamented with hieroglyphs, paintings, three-dimensional statues, and carved stone images. Roman architecture was known for its ingenuity in the creation of the arch which helped support heavy structures that which would crumble overtime due to its poor structural integrity without the use of arches such as bigger buildings, longer roads, and better aqueducts. Roman’s also created many other structures beside the arch for instance the dome, etc. Usually when someone says Chinese architecture people automatically think about the Great Wall. Now that’s not to say that the Great Wall of China is not astonishing but that there is more than just a wall that stretches 3,700 miles to the architecture of china for example beams, wooden posts, and lintels are what made the frame of the house which focuses all the weight on the beams and wooden posts allowing the walls to be free of the weight of the house this is quite unique because this permits you remove walls without compromising the physical integrity of the roof.
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One of the first and greatest civilizations to arise near the Mediterranean basin was Egypt. Ancient Egypt is a civilization in the northeastern region of Africa that dates from to 3100 BCE. Most of the civilization was located near the Nile river. The Nile provided the Egyptians with an everlasting source of water perfect for animals and fish to hunt as well as transporting materials from a quarry to a building site. Ancient Egypt at the time ruled over territory outside of modern-day Egyptian borders, they controlled the area in what is known today as Sudan, Cyprus, Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine. Ancient Egypt was a giant stepping stone in every aspect of culture but one of the most noticeable ones is the architecture with everything they did. It was amazing to see the astronomic achievements completed by this ancient society and for many years. It was believe to be impossible to create most of the buildings with the limited technology available at the time, for example, the pyramids. A pyramid is “a huge stone tomb of ancient Egyptian royalty with a square base and triangular walls that slope to meet in a point at the top” (Edwards 11) or a geometric structure with a square base and four triangular sides. This is considered one of the most structurally stable shapes for projects involving heights and large amounts of stone. Other cultures such as the Aztecs also created pyramids but not like the Egyptians they took it to a whole new level with the creation of Giza the workers used 2.3 million blocks of limestone and granite to build the Pyramid, which stands 146 meters high, weighs about 6.5 million tons, and has been standing for roughly 4,500 years. The first pyramid created in Egypt was a stepped pyramid which is an architectural structure that uses flat platforms or mastabas and gradually adds on top of it creating a pyramid like construction this type of pyramid was quite prevalent in central America, but for the Egyptians it didn’t work to well and it soon collapsed and the idea abandoned. Through the process of creating pyramids they would make them taller and taller and with that they made them smoother. As the pyramids got taller the more problems they faced because as they add stone they heavier it got creating such an immense weight that it would compromise the base of the building making them create a much stronger foundation to support such monumental construction. Unfortunately, this was discovered after the foundation of one of the pyramids started to cave in on its self and the pyramid was two thirds the way done so the builders at this point tried to reduce the angle of the top portion so that they could complete it and make it more stable, and this pyramid is known as the bent pyramid or the bent pyramid of Sneferu. Not much is known about the construction progress of the pyramids since there is no found recorders of the construction methods. Archaeologists and engineers have been debating this topic for centuries and there are countless ideas of how they were made. The Egyptians were not just known for the pyramids they also created Obelisk long pointed monolithic pillars, which are originally constructed in pairs at the entrances of ancient Egyptian temples. Obelisk were carved from a single piece of stone; the earliest ones are located in Cairo it once stood in front of a temple at a height of 80 feet tall. Obelisk have carvings of hieroglyphs that characteristically include religious dedications, usually to the sun god, and commemorations of past rulers.
The Roman Empire began in 27 B.C.E and grew to be known as one of the greatest ancient civilization in the world. It spanned from the Britain all the way to Egypt and parts of the southeast coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Romans were practical people when it came to architecture and engineering their main focus was the military which in a kingdom this large is quite difficult since the sheer size of empire made it difficult to transport goods and services including the transportation of soldiers. But this didn’t stop them from pursuing their goals. Roman architecture in its practicality served the roman state which is important for an increasing population that was centered mainly in urban areas. With so many people in such a confined area complications would soon arise such as drainage was a common problem, as was security. This, in addition with Rome’s desire for increasing power to lands beyond Italy, required their public structures to be grandly fortifying as well as purposeful. This is shown in one of the biggest and most well-known roman architectural achievements – the Arch. The Arch was extremely revolutionary and was also considered the ancestor of modern architecture because of the way it displaces weight. The way an Arch displaces weight is by directing its pressure throughout the sides of the Arch and down towards its base, this creates a strong channel underneath it which allows for support of substantial buildings. This is known as compressive stress and it can also be defined as the pressure of the weight is compressed by the shape of the arch, because the stress is focused both down and outwards, walls or other structures were often required to reinforce the arch. The Arch allowed ancient builders to make larger, more complex buildings that could hold more space and people which intertwines itself with the practicality of Roman architecture.
- Edwards, I. E. S. The Pyramids of Egypt. Penguin Books, 1993.