||Architecture is the combination of the design and
construction of a building which is satisfying in both a
practical and an aesthetic sense. Many of the earliest
civilizations built on a huge scale to honour their gods and
idols; the pyramids are just one example.
The Greeks were the
first to use the perception of proportion and harmony, a concept
that continues to influence architecture to the present day.
Roman architects and engineers became masters in the use of
arches and domes, which offered considerable flexibility for
spacious design. Medieval European architecture reached its
zenith with Gothic art and architecture, which flourished from
the mid-12th to the end of the 15th centuries.
The Gothic style
is primarily associated with church design, characterised by rib
and shaft ceilings, the pointed arch and flying buttresses.
Renaissance, the intellectual and cultural movement dedicated to
reviving classical art and architecture, began in Italy in the
14th century, spread to northern Europe and flourished up to the
mid-16th century. Baroque architecture dominated architectural
styles mainly in European Catholic countries in the 17th and
early 18th centuries. This had its roots in Italy and was a
reaction against classicism.
The Baroque style was typified by
curved and broken lines and ornate decoration. The early 19th
century saw the advent of Gothic revival, an architectural style
initially associated with Romanticism and pronounced in both the
USA and northern Europe. Over 170 churches were built in Gothic
revival style in England. One of the last buildings to be built
in this style was the London Law Courts.
The technical advances
of the 20th century, especially in concrete technology, opened
the way to the simplistic cubic style of Bauhaus, a German
school of design that was closed by the Nazis in 1933, and the
more flamboyant Art Deco style, which influenced architecture
and all areas of design throughout the 1930s until the beginning
of World War II.