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The Erechtheion on the Acropolys of Athens - Essay Example

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Instructor name Date The Erechtheion on the Acropolis of Athens Whether living in the modern age or at some point in the past, it remains a true statement that “architecture is the unavoidable art” (Roth 3). Human beings for centuries have continued to exist and grow within spaces that we have constructed for ourselves…
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Download file to see previous pages If we wish to understand ourselves, we must take care not to eliminate the ‘shell’ of our past, for it is the physical record of our aspirations and achievements” (Roth 3). This is a perfect analogy for the buildings we construct because the oldest segments of the nautilus shell are found within the depths of its interior just as the oldest concepts of architecture are still found within the depths of our architectural core theories. What Roth is suggesting is that architectural knowledge of any type must necessarily build upon the work completed in the past and this work remains forever embedded within the frameworks created in the present. As a result, there remains a great deal to be learned from some of the existing architectural works of the ancient past such as the Erechtheion on the Acropolis of Athens. Attempting to trace the architectural theories of the ancients is not as easy as it might seem as there were a number of architects working at the same time, not all of whom worked from the same foundational theories which had yet to be codified. An example of this is best illustrated by more modern examples. Even though we have access to numerous books and articles about Greek art and architecture today, there are still a great number of theories in existence as to what exactly comprises architecture. These theories continue to change with time, material, usage of the structure and so forth. This makes architectural theory even today difficult to standardize. “The majority of programs that purport to be theories of architecture seek to combine aesthetic, social and practical considerations in an integrated whole; the emphasis being either theoretical or practical, according to whether the author is an architect himself, and on whom he is writing for” (Kruft 14). In other words, there seems to be as many theories of architecture today as there are architects and it seems reasonable to assume that this same condition existed in the past as it does now. If there were fewer theories in antiquity, this would be more the result of a fewer number of working architects rather than a limited number of ideas to float around. Extending back even to the ancient Romans, though, architects began to record their theories for the benefit of future generations to build and expand upon. Thus, they are able to continue to contribute to developing thought many years after their physical deaths. These published discussions are invaluable because they reveal the influences of the ancients and reveal some of the common shared theories that may have been employed by the ancient Greeks. An important figure in the recording of these ideas was the Roman Vitruvius. Vitruvius was originally an artillery engineer who worked during the period of Augustus, the first Roman emperor, but he made his name a part of history through his work as an architect and an author. “His ten books on architecture, De Architectura (trans. 1914), are the oldest surviving work on the subject. They consist of dissertations on a wide variety of subjects relating to architecture, engineering, sanitation, practical hydraulics, acoustic vases, and the like. Much of the material appears to have been taken from earlier extinct treatises by Greek architects” (Calter). Within his texts, Vitruvius outlines three basic elements of design he and presumably the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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