Students will write one short paper on architecture. An example is posted here. A schedule of student postings from spring 2011 is here.

Description: For this assignment, students will analyze an architecturally-interesting building or structure from the time period and cultures covered in Unit Two. This essay should be one-two pages typed (double spaced). It is more important to cover the required components rather than to worry about length.

Use essay format with paragraphs rather than question / answer format or bulleted list format.

Sources are not required, but any used must be documented correctly. Essays must be submitted electronically so that they can be submitted to Safe Assign to check for plagiarism. Please read the syllabus policies on the use of Safe Assign and the consequences of plagiarism. The policies will be strictly enforced.

Components: In the first paragraph, tell the reader about the building. What is its title? Who was the artist / architect? Is it still standing? Where is it / was it? What is its condition? Where did you view it (give specifics: in suchandsuch textbook on page soandso or on the internet at suchandsuch address or at soandso museum on suchandsuch date)? When was its composition? What does it look like (you might include an image of it, though make sure you cite it!)?

Then, in a series of body paragraphs, address as many of the following categories as relevant to the building:

  • Structure: What is the structure of the example? How do the elements you can see suggest how the building is supported?
  • Materials: What materials have been used in the construction? How have various materials been combined to form the structure and decorative elements?
  • Scale and proportion: How does the size of the building relate to the human form / size? What emotional sensations result from the scale? How do each of the elements of the example relate to each other in terms of the proportions?
  • Context: How does the building explore its context? What is the environment in which the building stands / stood? Do the buildings / terrain around it harmonize or conflict with the design elements?
  • Space: How are interior spaces designed? How are the interior spaces reflected in the exterior design of the building—if at all? In what manner does the design of the interior result in traffic patterns that may be advantageous or disadvantageous to the intent of the building?
  • Climate: Does the building make any accommodations to the climate? How does the building create shelter from the elements?

The concluding paragraph should be your Reaction: how do the previous elements combine to create a reaction in you? In other words, what draws your attention? What is your emotional response to the work, and what do you think causes the response?

Questions were taken from page 30-31 of the Artsguide: World and Web by Dennis Sporre (2004)


2 responses to “Architecture

  1. Lee Hudson

    Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris is one of the most amazing architecturally significant structures ever built. Over the years it had numerous architects contribute to its overall design. Construction began in 1163 and it is in excellent condition today. Notre Dame Paris used an innovative design at the time, the flying buttress arched exterior support. The cathedral originally had thin walls and was much lower, but as construction reached higher towards the heavens the need for further support was evident, as stress fractures began appearing in the foundations and support structures.
    The flying buttress was incorporated into the design to gain exterior support for the weight demands of the high towers and also accentuated the overall aesthetic appeal of the cathedral. The pointed arch, which was adapted from Muslim design, can carry and equally distribute heavier loads more effectively than a rounded arch. It is also a more elegant and stylish design, and also permits two varying sized arches to be combined which gives the architect more choice in artistic design.
    Notre Dame Cathedral is primarily made of stone. The foundations are stone and mortar while the exterior consists of many areas of hand-carved stone designs. The gothic style incorporates many angles, geometric shapes and layers giving the depth to any viewpoint. There are hundreds of statues adorning the cathedral, lining the walls and borders, showing breathtaking artistic creativity down to the smallest detail. These statues include many of Christianity’s key figures including St. Michael, the apostles, and the devil himself.
    The scale of Notre Dame is enormous. The statues range in size from half the size of a man, to full life-sized, up to much bigger than a person. The cathedral itself is 128 meters long and 69 meters wide, with an area of 8832 square meters. Its height is approximately 90 meters (295 feet).
    Notre Dame rests in central Paris on the banks of the Seine. It is easily accessible by foot, automobile or metro rail. Its surroundings are very urban and it is located in a very old section of Paris. Notre Dame Cathedral attracts 13 million visitors per year. As the cathedral is more than 1500 years old, many of the surrounding buildings have been built with the cathedral in the background, and are designed to compliment the structure and vice-versa.
    Notre Dame Cathedral is designed in the shape of a cross. The interior design is just as ornate as that of the exterior, with intricately detailed carvings, beautiful tapestry work, and colorful stained glass windows. The design was given thousands of hours of close attention and serves to put the audience in a state of awe towards God.
    The cathedral uses the sunlight to its advantage with the use of its stained glass windows. When it was constructed there was no electricity, so it is filled with natural light. The stone and mortar construction serves to keep out the wind and the rain, as well as provide natural insulation from the heat and the cold. Stone also will not rust or deteriorate like other materials and will continue to serve with minimal upkeep for hundreds of years.

  2. Shari Blair

    The Birth of Venus

    The title of the sculpture is the Birth of Venus. The artist of Birth of Venus is Sandro Botticelli. Yes the Birth of Venus is still standing. Birth of Venus is located in Uffizi Florence. The condition of the Birth of Venus is still in good shape. I viewed the Birth of Venus the internet at Birth of Venus was composition around the 1445 -1510.
    Dimensionality of Birth of Venus is in 3D. Depicts the female nude figure of goddess Venus standing on dry land having emerged from the sea. Sandro Botticelli used tempera paint and used oil. The Birth of Venus is a historic scene.
    From the Medici Villa at Castello painted around 1485. For the Giovanni and Lorenzo di Pier Francesco de’ Medici, the Uffizi since 1815. Tempera on canvas, 172.5×27
    Botticelli’s Primavera was painted under Medici commission, a work depicting classical gods almost naked and life-size and a complex philosophical symbolism requiring deep knowledge of Renaissance literature to interpret. It is also thought that Botticelli’s, Birth of Venice was painted under Medici Commission shortly after, is also a work that can be deeply interpreted, and along with Primavera has influenced not only art, but are referenced throughout popular culture.

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