architecture

Hagia Sophia of Constantinople

Hagia Sophia of Constantinople

On May 7, 558, the main dome of Hagia Sophia, Church of the Holy Wisdom and seat of the Orthodox patriarch of Constantinople, collapsed completely during an earthquake. Hagia Sophia is one of the greatest surviving examples of Byzantine architecture. Emperor Justinian I himself had overseen the completion of the greatest cathedral ever built up to that time, and it was to remain the largest cathedral for 1,000 years up…
Abbot Suger and the Gothic Style

Abbot Suger and the Gothic Style

On January 13, 1115, French abbot, statesman, historian and one of the earliest patrons of Gothic architecture, Suger passed away. The eastern end of the Basilica Church of St. Denis, built by Abbot Suger and completed in 1144, is often cited as the first truly Gothic building, as it draws together many of architectural forms which had evolved from Romanesque and typify the Gothic style. Suger was born of peasant parents…
Leo von Klenze and the Greek Revival Style

Leo von Klenze and the Greek Revival Style

On February 29, 1784, German neoclassicist architect, painter and writer Leo von Klenze was born. Court architect of Bavarian King Ludwig I, Leo von Klenze was one of the most prominent representatives of Greek revival style. Among his famous buildings are amongst others the Glyptothek in Munich, the New Hermitage in Saint Petersburg, or the Walhalla temple near Regensburg. Klenze was born in Buchladen, near Schladen. Lower Saxonia, Germany, to…
Von Knobelsdorff and the Sanssouci Palace

Von Knobelsdorff and the Sanssouci Palace

  On February 17, 1699, Prussian painter and architect Hans Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff was born. Influenced as an architect by French Baroque Classicism and by Palladian architecture, with his interior design and the backing of king Frederick the Great, he created the basis for the Frederician Rococo style. Von Knobelsdorff is best known as architect of Sanssouci Palace in Potsdam just outside Berlin for Frederick the Great. Actually, I…
The Sydney Opera House

The Sydney Opera House

On October 20, 1973, the Sydney Opera House was formally opened by Queen Elizabeth II. It is identified as one of the 20th century’s most distinctive buildings. Designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon in a modern expressionist design, it features a series of large precast concrete roof “shells”, each composed of sections of a sphere of 75.2 metres radius. Planning for the opera house started in the 1940s when the…
Herostratus burns the Temple of Artemis

Herostratus burns the Temple of Artemis

On July 21, 356 BC., Herostratus, in an attempt to immortalise his name, set fire to the to the wooden roof-beams of the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. For this outrage, the Ephesians sentenced Herostratus to death and forbade anyone from mentioning his name. Eversince this time, the term “Herostratic fame” relates to Herostratus and means, roughly, “fame at any cost”. Modern archaeologist found that…
Wallace Clement Sabine and Architectural Acoustics

Wallace Clement Sabine and Architectural Acoustics

On June 13, 1868, American physicist Wallace Clement Sabine was born. Sabine founded the field of architectural acoustics as the outcome of his investigations on the effect of absorption on reverberation time. Sabine was acoustical architect of Boston’s Symphony Hall, widely considered one of the two or three best concert halls in the world for its acoustics. Wallace Sabine graduated from Ohio State University in 1886 and pursued graduate study at Harvard…
The Broughton Suspension Bridge and the Resonance Disaster

The Broughton Suspension Bridge and the Resonance Disaster

On April 12, 1831, the Broughton Suspension bridge collapsed, reportedly due to mechanical resonance induced by troops marching in step. But, also wind can be the cause for mechanical resonance which leads to disaster, such as for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in 1940. But, also buildings can be affected, such as the 39-story shopping mall called the “Techno-Mart” in Seoul, Korea, that had to be evacuated because of people synchronously exercising Tae…
Ferdinand de Lesseps and the Suez Canal

Ferdinand de Lesseps and the Suez Canal

Ferdinand Marie, Vicomte de Lesseps (1805–1894) On November 19, 1805, French diplomat and later developer of the Suez Canal Ferdinand Marie, Vicomte de Lesseps was born. The Suez Canal that was constructed under de Lessep’s supervision in 1869 joined the Mediterranean and Red Seas, substantially reducing sailing distances and times between the West and the East. Ferdinand de Lesseps was born at Versailles, Yvelines, in 1805 into a family of French career-diplomats. His first years were spent…
Jean-Rondolphe Perronet and the Bridges of Paris

Jean-Rondolphe Perronet and the Bridges of Paris

Jean-Rodolphe Perronet (1708-1794) On October 27, 1708, French architect and structural engineer Jean-Rodolphe Perronet was born. He is best known for his many stone arch bridges, among them his most popular work, the Paris Pont de la Concorde. Jean-Rodolphe Perronet was born in Suresnes, a suburb of Paris, the son of a Swiss Guardsman. At 17 he entered the architectural practice of Jean Beausire, “first architect” to the city of…
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