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Sample essay topic, essay writing: Gothic Vs. Romanesque Architecture - 1,064 words

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Where are you when wake up? Where are you when you are learning? Where are you when you go to pray? Where are you when you go to work? Where are you when you are having fun? The answer is that you are in a building or structure of some kind and style. All of the buildings and structures that one sees around them is designed and built with much thought and care. They are all designed and built by what we call architecture. According to Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary architecture is "the art or science of building; specifically: the art or practice of designing and building structures and especially habitable ones, a method or style of building". Architecture is a science according to Merriam-Webster because it is "a department of systematized knowledge as an object of study, something that may be studied or learned like systematized knowledge" . This can be seen as that buildings and structures have certain rule and laws that apply to them when they are design, constructed and inhabited.

Architecture is an art according to Merriam-Webster because it is "the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects" . This can be seen as that buildings and structures do not only follow form and function but expression and feeling. Architecture has basically three steps. They are design, construction, and usage of the space or how the space is inhabited. Architecture is to building or structure as literature is to a book or novel. Over the course of western history there has been many periods and styles of architecture, spanning from pre-history where mainly stone and timber were used to the 20th century where glass and steel seem to have seemed to take over. Each style and - 2 -period have given there own part to today's architecture such as the Greek's ideas of columns, to the Roman's usage of arches, to the Industrial Age of building with iron, steel and glass.

When buildings and structures were first constructed there was very little interior space and there was much more emphasis on exterior space, such an example is that of the Greek and Roman architecture. The reason that there was more emphasis on one then another was simply because of the technology and techniques that was available at the time and the limited amount of ideas and understanding of architecture. It wasn't until about 1000 AD that new technology and ideas came about that allowed the shift from exterior to interior. It was finally time that architecture now mastering the interior of buildings and structures. The first two periods of time that this shift was made was the Romanesque style and the Gothic style of architecture. Both of these styles have made great contributions that can still been seen in today's architecture.

With Romanesque being the first stylistic period in time with Gothic immediately following it there is much to be said about the similarities and differences. The Romanesque period of architecture has its roots deep into western civilization. Even though it is said that the Romanesque style of architecture was first since and applied around 1000 AD its history goes back almost 500 years. During the rule of the Roman Empire much of Europe was influenced by the Roman and Greek classical styles, it wasn't until the Roman Empire fell that most of Europe was able to - 3 -diverge from traditional styles and form their own styles. It was only with time and separation that other styles were able to grow. With the Roman Empire gone Europe was breaking apart and developing in small pockets on it own, this caused for greater advancements in many areas such as architecture. Yet with all the growing change there was still one thing that linked much of Europe together, that was the Christian church and Christianity. That is why much of the advancements of architecture can be seen in churches, temples and other religious buildings and structures. Now that there was growing changes in much of Europe and the common link to the Christian church and Christianity that came from the Roman Empire the new period of architecture was called Romanesque, meaning 'in the manner of the Roman.' With each period of architecture in history there are certain characteristics that are first seen.

There were many new ideas and techniques used in the Romanesque style of architecture. The great advancement that the Romanesque period had on architecture was the development of stone vaulted buildings. The reason that this advancement came along was that stone vaulting was needed to replace the wood and timber vaulting of styles of periods before the Romanesque period, which were very flammable. During this time was the first widespread usage of many kinds of vaults, most frequently used was the barrel vault, which was a series of round arches placed on after another (See Appendix Figure 1.1). A barrel vault was also used to form a groin vault, which was - 4 -when two barrel vaults were crossed with each other (See Appendix Figure 1.2). Also at this time domes were widely used in architecture.

By taking numerous round arches and placing them on different axes but with a same apex or top of the arch domes were formed. To support this vaults and domes the walls of Romanesque buildings and structures were made very thick and had projecting piers called buttress, which helped to bare the weight of the heavy stones. The massive size of the stones used in Romanesque buildings and structure is another characteristics of this style. Because of the massive stones vaults, walls and piers most of the Romanesque buildings and structures were composed of many small units called bays that together completed the whole design. When these bays when placed in a long row down the center of a Romanesque building or structure they were called a nave. The naves of the Romanesque period were much higher and narrower then of periods before it.

This allowed for clerestory windows that were larger and higher then ones that came before it but they were still very small and many of them did not contain glass. Almost all of the doors and windows of the Romanesque style were capped with round arches. Towards the end of the Romanesque period decorative moldings and carvings and sculptures were used in many buildings and structures. The period of architecture that immed ....

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