Firstly I would like to apologize for the discontinuity in my sequential reviews of the world of architecture series. This was because of the extreme time schedule that is concentrated with lots of events and activities outside of classes that I need to organize ASAP. With this out of the way, I can continue this week’s reading review hopefully 😀
This time, we are looking at the Gupta Dynasty in India that has a very interesting quality to it which is the act of subtracting from nature and producing designs that resemble additive structural organizations. This requires an intricate level of planning to construct from top to bottom and still obtain the look of a ground-up process of intervention. With the Bhaja example, we can see a crossover of wooden architecture to the stone. In this case, the language of the construct was rather sculptural symbolizing the divinity of the Buddha that translates into columns that resemble wooden counterparts.
- Image 1: The singular rock- cut, two partied temple that has “structural and wooden” columns
At this point, I want to make the analysis that this was kind of an imitation of the religious meaning behind the structural system of an additive process that represents an everlasting, structurally stable and preservable building. After these temples, we start to observe the examples of the transition from the cave-like experience to the free-standing temple ideology. Therefore, the temples also become more differentiated in itself that creates a diversion in the south and the north part of the dynasty. The iconic Shikhara present in only the Buddhist Temples range from the curvilinear convex decorations in the Nagara to the Pyramidial decorations in the Pravida.
Then we enter the Islamic architecture with originating with the start of the religion itself. Without summarizing the whole part about this era, I want to mention the specific things that took my attention. The mentality of a monotheistic approach to religion reflects the main architecture of the mosques. Although early examples of the mosques take elements from previous cultures, there is a common understanding and approach about the minimalization of spaces and converting different scaled constructs ranging from small rooms to mega-churches of all sizes. This becomes possible because of the singular ideology that governs the religion. The additional parts that make a religious building, strip away to form a large hall that serves as a prayer space for the non-hierarchical order of the mosque. The religious order of power is much simplified and all believers can experience a similar spiritual experience with the religious leader. This is not the case in most ceremonial spaces which provide a more complicated relationship within the building with the use of different functional parts. The idea of a more simplified mentality with the emergence of a singular symbolical Kaaba that abstracts the singularity condition into a Black solid box can also be seen this way.
This time we are studying a very interesting exercise that can transform and study our 3D observational skills and help us think in an innovative manner.
To start off, we are assigned a plan of a building in which the orientation is irrelevant, and asked to interpret it as a section drawing that can be the basic starting point of our new volumetric design. The final product should have this sectional cut more or less and the rest is up to our interpretation. This exercise allows for the exemplification of the spatial relations present in the now section and produces a challenge that can help us get familiar with solving problems apparent in one section in designing the other dimensions of the design.
As I mentioned before, after our trip to Kolej-in, followed by our analysis of the relations inside them, we were required to establish a thought-through abstracted model that transfers our findings and discoveries to a three-dimensional medium that can enable us to further develop our understanding the potential of the building and its design principles. In this process, I produced 3 slabs like surfaces to refer to the main controlling roof like structures present in Kolej-in. The lines that pass through provide a transition in identity while defining spaces that allow for an enclosure.
Firstly we start with the observation about the grid structure. The 9 square grid that comes from cultivation appears. Cities are mostly in flat land. Square city formed by 9 squares. There is a persistence in repetition. This is because of the preservance of the society.
Than we started to see wood. Even monumental architecture have wooden structures. There is restoration constantly than there is reference of perfection.
In the neo-assyrian period near mosul there is an ideal city
This week we are examining the architectural history between 1500-750 BCE that brings us the Cretan people who are a peace-loving society, merged and has lack of fortification. In their cities, they don’t have much of a hierarchical dispute, therefore, their indirect circulation throughout the city results in the labyrinth-like organizations that function as an interrelated physical web, unlike any societal dwellings.These people have a large sympathy for the natural landscape of that area which protects them from outsiders and exemplifies an understanding of an integration into the land. They only have Fortified towers that protect the whole civilization which suggests some kind of organizing factors that gets rid of inland disputes. In their communities, there is a tight mesh of narrow streets that connect together in a complex urban textured manner. With this much densely packed area there’s also a technology that enables them to introduce an indoor plumbing system which is very sophisticated for its nature. Minoan Crete’s another distinct quality is the ceiling windows which was also unheard of.
Throughout centuries these monumental structures made by Minoans got destroyed several times caused by natural disasters despite that the fact that they perished the nature and its potential. After the eruption of a volcano, the city got very weakened and shortly after, got taken over by the Mycenaeans. They had a very militaristic approach to their society and their architects designed lithic, solid and hierarchical structures stemming from this approach which was very different from the nonhierarchical Minoans. Their houses lacked big openings and relationships with nature. A shift from pleasure towards dread occurred. This situation lasted for some time and also shifted towards the Hittites in now Turkey.
Now we move on to Ancient Egypt where the pyramids limited the spatial discoveries and complexities to develop for centuries. With the change of power with notably Hatshepsut, she transformed architecture into a new spatial organization that function to bolster her rule. With the emergence of advanced technologies, new temples and residential developments also transformed. Sequences from open spaces to closed spaces became evident in the use of gigantic columns and colossal statues. After the queen’s rule, with the rule of Akhenaten temples and buildings gained more light with the new idea of the sun religion-related with Ra. Consequently, Pharaohs that followed them became obsessed with their afterlife image and became god-like symbols. Their paintings and their monumental statues saturated the cities. In these times, the religion became more involved with the public and temples began to be located on both sides of the rivers and be connected by a “fastigium” that passes through a general axis that relates itself to the temples and the city.
In the start of the period of 3000-1500 BCE, cultures started gathering around the two rivers that give life to the Mesopotamia region.
In here there were very strong communal practices that yielded from religious beliefs. These religious views stem from the understanding of the heavens as a sacred place and their cities that need protection and sacred conditions from their gods. Therefore architectural designs mostly function as sacred spaces. They also served as food surplus and stock. They used baked clay to accomplish the step pyramid structures that are the abstraction of mountains.
In Egypt, there was a similar approach with the pyramids. Egyptian people were also obsessed with the idea of an afterlife that pushed them to achieve big monumental structures.
On the other hand, other civilizations produced their buildings in a more different approach which is rather motivated by functional properties of their daily lives in a communal society founded in the basic need for a human to dwell.