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Give a concise account of the origin and development of arcades. Explain their significance in 19th and early 20th century archi - Essay Example

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Arcades: From Conception to Modern Day Introduction An arcade is basically two side by side buildings with a glass roof above them. The characteristics of this fully developed arcade were “longitudinal space, central space, frontal house, inner and exterior facades, continuous glass vault, and glass dome.”1 This is the simplistic explanation for the arcade…
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Give a concise account of the origin and development of arcades. Explain their significance in 19th and early 20th century archi
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Download file to see previous pages Arcades changed this, as they provided shoppers a comfortable atmosphere to shop. The consumers were sheltered from the elements in the shopping arcades, while being given a leisurely place to browse. While the true arcades did not come into being until the early 19th Century, they have their origins in Muslim bazaars, which were enclosed spaces where people could gather and shop. These bazaars enclosed not just shopping, but mosques and schools. The arcades were modeled after these bazaars, as the arcades provided the same service to consumers as the bazaars – shelter from the elements, and a collective meeting ground. The arcades flourished throughout the 19th Century, then fell out of favour in the 20th Century, as fewer buildings were constructed symmetrically with a narrow alleyway between them. Officials by then had recognized the health hazard of tightly compacted spaces. Although the arcades diminished, they did not die, as the writings of Walter Benjamin revived interest in them. Benjamin saw the arcades as being a way to provide insight that might elude us in our waking hours, as he thought that they provided “rare shafts of insight [to] illuminate the ruins of our energies that time has passed by.”2 One can now shop in enclosed spaces in both shopping malls and modern-day arcades. The Donegall Arcade in Belfast is just one example of a modern-day arcade. This essay will trace the origins and characteristics of the arcade, explain why they were important to urbanism, how Walter Benjamin reconceived them, and how they are a part of the modern-day fabric. The Social History of the Arcade The arcade, according to Geist (1983)3, has its origins in the Islamic Bazaars (Figure 1).4 Figure 1 – Islamic Bazaar Source: Geiste, J. Arcades. London: MIT Press, 1983, p. 5 These bazaars were building complexes that were necessitated by the hot desert sun of the Muslim countries, The architecture, and Muslim life, “unfolded only in the courtyards.”5 Geist (1983) states that the arcade came into fashion because there was a need for streets that were clean and free of danger. Around 1800, according to Geist (1983), Parisian streets were dangerous and of threatening proportions. Pedestrians were threatened by the carriages and the cars on the poorly designed medieval streets. The streets were also turned into mud by the rain. Thus, there was a need for pedestrians to walk on clean sidewalks that were out of the elements. Koloff (1849)6 states that industry was the reason for the arcades, because industry was the reason why the streets were becoming so crowded. Retail trade withdrew from the city towards what would now be known as the suburbs, and the inner city had to compete with this exodus. The arcade was thus born out of necessity. Large clusters of buildings, which surrounded heavily populated streets, were cut through so that the pedestrian could get out of the crowded streets. In the passageway was commerce - merchants would set up booths to hawk their wares.7 The closed arcades came next, in which the pedestrian could feel that he had set foot in another world that was always dry. It was always warm in the winter and cool in the summer, and never dusty or dirty.8 Geiste (1983) states that the two arcades – the closed and open – appeared at the same time. The open arcades were used for manufacturing and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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