Western Europe After the Roman Empire

The cities of western Roman Empire have suffered from a lot of conquests, plagues and financial problems from fifth century to the year of 1000. As a result of these issues, the population had been decreased day  by day so as well as the international trade had been declined too. Because of the feudal political system divided the whole society into three groups. The ones who fought, the ones who prayed and the one who were working as slaves.

As the years passed, the new feeling of cultural and economic acceptance promoted the journeys of pilgrims of Christianity. They had journeys from England, Germany and France to either Jerusalem, Rome, or Santlago de Compostela, Spain. The huge churches, hospitals, monasteries and castles built all over the Europe. This has began after the millennium represented an optimistic architectural expression of a progressive social order.

All along the period of Charlemagne, the Franks merged together the regions of France, Germany, Switzerland, Czechoslovakia and Austria. Charlemagne’s short winded vision of Renovatio Romanae Imperii, the reawaking of the unity and greatness of Roman Empire of Constantine, affected fervent several decades of architectural patronage. Apart from various royal palaces built for his itinerant court, he promoted for the constuctio of many cathedrals and very huge number of monasteries, Similar to the rulers of outhwest Asia called Khamer, Charlemagne trusted on the support of the monastic settlements to promote the regime of him. With this way, he encouraged the religious orders, and by the eleventh century the network of Benedictine monasteries, developing under the authority of the Abbey of cluny. It played the deciding role in hole European politics.

Charlemagne’s palace and chapel was a key project for his most known efforts to reawake the Roman Empire. It is located in Aix la Chapelle and now it is know as Aachen.

On This Earth / Pre-Jury Reviews

For this semester, we have visited Tuz Gölü and then Göreme sites for our new project. In Tuz Gölü we have produced a lot of maps by analyzing certain qualities and according to our experiences. On the other hand, in Göreme we were expected to produce some sketches and diagrams again according to our experiences and this time we focused on the architectural elements and their usage. The reason of this work is that we were expected to graft certain features of Göreme onto Tuz Gölü.

According to my analysis from Tuz Gölü, I have realized that the visitors were tended to go through the Josephin which is the line that sky and the ground intersects. So that, people were tended reach that vast area. The other thing that I have realized is that in the evenings, people were directed towards to sun set. So, I took these two features as references for my design. I have tried to produce two main spaces that carries different vista conditions. To connect them, I created a bridge-like path. This bridge-like path was connecting the spaces that has two totally different vistas. And the sides of this path were not transparent because I wanted to create a dramatic transition between those two different vistas. It was only open from the top that again creates a different vista which is the sky. People who visits here were directed by the effects of these two references and they were tended to reach the vista. I tried to produce different kinds of openings and spaces while considering the experiences of humans. The sizes of these two main spaces were different than each other. The sizes were changing due to the vista conditions and human scale was affecting it.

As far as I have understood from the critiques of the jury members, the liked the scenario of my design. However, it was not working well how it should have been. They found some parts that were designed well. For instance, there were main two axes in my design that represents the Josephine and sun set directions. Because, the two axis were not working in a contrast way. They were not differentiated from each other. However, they should have been working in a contrast manner to differentiate the functions of those two main spaces. It was not that obvious that they were placed there for different functions. I think that it is caused by shape and angles of those shapes too. They were not representing the directions obviously. I could produce more obvious edges and angles. The other thing is that I could improve the definitions of the spaces. Because they commented that my designed was finished in that level so it was limiting me to improve it and add something more in it. I think they appreciated how I have used the extreme conditions of the spaces and the vistas. They have added that every decision should carry a reason behind of it such as proportions, shapes, scales and etc. Controlling the spaces in terms of the scenario and spatial conditions that I have created is significant and could be worked on that more.

For my drawings they commented that it would be way more better and help me more to put human figures in my drawings to understand the scale of my design.

After the critiques of the jury members, I have realized that some parts of my design should be worked again. I have decided to change the shape and the form of my two main spaces. I hope this time I can  apply my strategy into my design. Because while I was working I had some struggles while I was applying my ideas in a three dimensional design.

600-800 / Spread of Islam

The religion Islam which is developed aound the guidance of Prophet Muhammad, has began spread from Arabia to Southwest Asia, Persia and also to North Africa. The spread of Islam is related with the success of conquests and the racial movements. They produced multicolumned prayer places called mosques. The mosques provided new reliogous focus of cities. To add new vertial axis to the architecture to them, they built minarets where the muezzin prays and calls for the other believers. Against the irregularity of the plans, the Islam gave importance to the sense of order  in the radial orientation of religous places such as mosques, tombs and Mecca.

Mecca and Medina

These cities also known as the city of Muhammad and his followers. Even though the cities of Mecca and Medina had an  urban civilizations from the earlier ages, they tried to keep the cities as the part of the most migrant culture. All along around the seventh century Islam started to spread very immediately and they seperate the pagan cults by the force of military.

Mecca had been the center of attracting the believers to pilgrims to the Kaaba. The Kaaba is the building that is a cubical granite house and icludes an inexplicable black meteorite. After having various battles Muhammed conquered the Medina. And then he simplified the Kaaba from its representation of pagan culture. He believed that the angel Gabriel gave that sacred black stone to Abraham and then he built the original structure. The Muslims circumambulate  the Kaaba 7 times in pilgrims. So that, it is the focus point of the Muslims. So this focus point became a symbol of the unity of the faithful. Muhammad transformed his own house in Medina into the mosqued called “place of prostration”. He promoted the vernacular methods for mud bricks walls and palm-trunk roofs. A long portico was protecting the north side from the sun. Previously, he oriented the first prayer hall to Jerusalem which is known as the qibla. After the coquest of Mecca he redirected the qibla to the Kaaba. The believers added a second portico to thw south side of the Prophet Muhammad’s mosque. The mosque was a representation of small trader’s caravansary. As well as the Christians, the first believers of the Islam were against the form of pagan temples. They preferred the base their cult buildings on secular structures.The initial ones took the place of the foru and basiliicas of Roman age. The firts mosques were having a simple architectural settings such as they didnt have any apses, side chapels, ambulatories, cyrpts, baptisteries nor choirs.

İlgili resim

The Ummayad Period: Jerusalem and Damascus

The Umayyads settled in the Greco Roman city where they have a perfect urban culture inspired by the Byzantines. As well as the all migrat people, Arabs had lack of knowledge of masonry architecture. They inspired by the techniques from Persian, Roman and Byzantine cultures. The master of the first great Umayyad monumennt called Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, most probably hired an architect while designing it from Byzantine and mosaic artist from Constantinople. They created an elevated terrace directed to the center o Temple Mount. The new religion was against the representation and using  the human figures ad also glorification to the things. They were supporting the decorative inscriptions instead of narrative scenes with human figures. The arcade had two other characteristics which became common in Islamic architecture such as pointed arches and ablaq.

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Gupta India

In that era that Indian Empire had been growing, the megalith builders tried ways of using pure stone. They carved out stone cliffs and pilled out the stones to gather making the art of subtraction. Subtraction is something that allows people to give up on functional criteria such as foundations, support systems and roofs. However, it provides organization of materials as well. Once they removed the materials, it was nt easy to replace it again. The rock-cut temples were relied upon the things what nature gave to them.

In the Gupta period, the builders were known as their success of the rock-cutting traditions. They were affected from the great cave monasteries by carving single masses of stones. The examples of initial temples were built seem like pyramids over small sanctruaries.

Their architects designed their buildings according to their religious beliefs. The multiple sources of religious and secular authority, however,  continued to discourage national unity. The Buddishm that they believed has provided a lot of different prototypes. So that, they have worked again on the buildings according to Hindu and Jain buidings. Buddhists promoted their projects for chaitya halls and viharas (monasteries). However, few of them built with permanent materials. The examples that has remained are the ones in the carved in the cliffs. The Ghats, hills formed from horizontal shelves of stone in the central western regions of India near Mumbai, served as the site for many of the great rock-cut works. The caves that are located in Bhaja, were almost the earliest Indian Rock-cut temples. The most ornamented examples of the early rock chaitya halls were located in Karli. The designers of the screen doors and clerestory windows of the halls made with the combination of stone with wooden details. The designers used pointed and flat chisels to carve the stone.   The Temple 17, looked like it was extracted from a cliff and transferred to a site. The columns that have rose frome square bases created a level of complexity, similar to the ones at the chaitya. The monasteries with Buddhist affect which Ajanta, Maharashastra in the 5th century, have the marvelous decoration that had coprus statues of Buddha. The palaces at that location had open varendhas decorated with wooden columns. The horzontally placed vaults titled the city  gates.

200 BCE-300CE / Ancient Rome

Ancient Rome, ancient China and ancient Mexico are the three of the large empires that dominated the whole world history of the first century in BCE. The three of those cultures are regulated their cities and their buildings according to a grid layout. Despite the fact that Rome is located in a topography with mostly hills, they used a strict grid systems while they are building ther cities and buildings instead of a rational structures. The Romans gave a huge importance to their cities as their religious approaches and the victory of the military was having religious meanings for them.

In the most of the ancient cultures, there were very less examples of high quality buildings that represents religious or political approaches. Nonetheless, some of the cities that were governed with Hellenistic regimes,  had  a lot of highly qualified architectural works. Roman Empire sophisticated itself with a comprehensive approach urban architecture. So that, they gained stunning results of this approach. They built a lot of cities that were well served and furnished with colonnades.

The city of Rome, regarded itself as “caput mundi” namely  “head of the world”. The Roman generals used architectural projects to to dictate the power of the empire. They produce a lot of new colonnaded enclosures with different architectural elements yet, by taking Hellenistic cities as model. All through the Roman Empire age, the designers and architects built up cities of a brand new type. Such as, public space and public architecture provided a formal envelope for daily existance. Roman people  were not cruel people. They tried to serve a good life to inhabitants that lives in the conquered lands by Romans. Romans, served them a equitable system, market places, great infrastructure of roads and aqueducts, public baths and etc. Their most striking fature is the talent of mastering space with using arches, vaults and new the new technology of concrete consturction.

In the first two centuries of Rome, the king  borrowed regulations and religious practices and architecure from Etruscans culture. Because Etruscans were more developed than the Roman culture. The other thing that is good of developing Etruscan culture is that, the Etruscan architects brought technology of arches and vaults that is very usefull for such works such as arched gateways. Most of the Roman temples repeated the Etruscan of frontal orientation.

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A city that includes a lot of one of the best preserved examples of Roman architecture, called Pompeii. However, because of the eruption of Vesuvius the city has been destroyed. Unfortunately, the streets and buldings of the city embedded uner the ashes of volcanic eruption. This small city were having the complete urban system that exemplifies the importance of public space to Roman daily life. The pattern of city of Pompeii is a combinated version of different cultural ideas such as Oscan, Etruscan, Greek and Roman. For instance, the blocks that are long and orthogonal are taken reference from both Greeks and typicall Roman square blocks. The public space that is called th Forum of Pompeii showes the Roman preference for axial orientation. Roman cities, like Pompeii, were always having a public space like forums also a temple and a basilica too. The Basilica of Pompeii had a covered hall used for the administirative business. Mostly tha gates of basilicas were put in the long edge of the buildings, however, in the Basilica of the Pompeii the gate was put in the short edge of the bulding. This approach enhances the axiality of the structure from the foru to colonnades toward tribunal. The centeral space is elevated double height and framed by columns. The openings above at the walls were creating a natural light.

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In additional to the temples and tombs that they built for citizens needs, they also produced a lot of secular monuments such as baths and theaters. Greeks ere building their theaters to the contours of sloping sites. However, Romans were building them as freestanding monuments using arches and concrete vaults. Those Roman theaters were usully ncluding a temple. First of the theater in Rome was built for the general Pompey. It had a small tempe which was overlooking to te cavea. Cavea is a sloped seat that is formed as semi-cycle for sitting. Unlike the Greeks, Romans filled the orchestra with patrician seating.

Romans invented a new form of theater called amphitheater. An amphitheater is something that combinatio of two theaters to form an ellipse. They included greate stones and concrete shells. The arenas were important for those amphitheaters too. It was a continuous stone bleacher held behind retaining walls or on an elaborate syste of concrete vaulted substructures.


“…poetically man dwells…”

     For this week of the course I had a chance to read a little part of a book called “Poetry, Language, Thought” written by Martin Heidegger. The name of the chapter is “Poetically Man Dwells”. Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) was a very prominent German philosopher of existential philosophy. It is obvious that he is influenced by his teacher Edmund Husserl and philosophy of phenomenology on his works. He made a huge contribution to philosophy with his new notions such as “apprehension, distress, curiosity, death, fear” and etc.

     In the artcicle he is trying to give and add new meanings to a phrase from a poem of Friedrich Holderlin. He is concerning the relation between the notions of poetica and dwelling. He claims that dwelling is not just about  buildings but also related with poetica too. He alleges that the relation between human and world is always in alteration, almost impossible to capture in a completeness. A poetic thinker never escapes from his environent to think but he locates himself in there. He thouches upon the word “measuring”. He alleges that measuring something limited between earth and the sky, however the poetica is something between heaven and earth.