With the Renaissance and its emphasis on the individual and humanity rather than religion, and with all its attendant progress and achievements, a new chapter began. Buildings were ascribed to specific architects - Michaelangelo, Brunelleschi, Leonardo da Vinci - and the cult of the individual had begun. But there was no dividing line between artist, architect and engineer, or any of the related vocations. At this stage, it was still possible for an artist to design a bridge as the level of structural calculations involved was within the scope of the generalist.
With the consolidation of knowledge in scientific fields such as engineering and the rise of new materials and technology, the architect began to lose ground on the technical aspects of building. He therefore cornered for himself another playing field - that of aesthetics. There was the rise of the "gentleman architect" who usually dealt with wealthy clients and concentrated predominantly on visual qualities derived usually from historical prototypes. In the 19th century Ecole des Beaux Arts in France, the training was toward producing quick sketch schemes involving beautiful drawings without much emphasis on context.
Meanwhile, the Industrial Revolution laid open the door for mass consumption and aesthetics started becoming a criterion even for the middle class as ornamented products, once within the province of expensive craftsmanship, became cheaper under machine production.
Bauhaus building, Dessau, Germany
The dissatisfaction with such a general situation at the turn of the twentieth century gave rise to many new lines of thought that in architecture served as precursors to Modern Architecture. Notable among these is the Deutscher Werkbund, formed in 1907 to produce better quality machine made objects. The rise of the profession of industrial design is usually placed here. Following this lead, the Bauhaus school, founded in Germany in 1919, consciously rejected history and looked at architecture as a synthesis of art, craft, and technology.
When Modern architecture was first practiced, it was an avant-garde movement with moral, philosophical, and aesthetic underpinnings. Modernist Architects sought to "strip down" buildings to their pure form. Classical columns and decorations were dubbed unnecessary, in favor simple steel and glass cages, seen as beautiful in their own right. It was during this shift that the phrase, "Less is more" was coined by Mies van der Rohe, one of the Fathers of the Modernist movement.
Many people saw Modernism as dull or even ugly. Postmodernism developed as a reaction. Robert Venturi's contention that a "decorated shed" (an ordinary building which is functionally designed inside and embellished on the outside) was better than a "duck" (a building in which the whole form and its function are tied together) gives an idea of this approach.
Another part of the profession, and also some non-architects, responded by going to what they considered the root of the problem. They felt that architecture was not a personal philosophical or aesthetic pursuit by individualists; rather it had to consider everyday needs of people and use technology to give a livable environment. The Design Methodology Movement involving people such as Chris Jones, Christopher Alexander started searching for more people-orientated designs. Extensive studies on areas such as behavioural, environmental, and social sciences were done and started informing the design process.
As many other concerns began to be recognised and complexity of buildings began to increase in terms of aspects such as services, architecture started becoming more multi-disciplinary than ever. Architecture now required a team of professionals in its making, an architect being one among the many, sometimes the leader, sometimes not. This is the state of the profession today. However, individuality is still cherished and sought for in the design of buildings seen as cultural symbols - the museum or fine arts centre has become a showcase for new experiments in style: today one style, tomorrow maybe something else.
Frank Lloyd Wright's Famous "Fallingwater"
Modern architecture in Warsaw
Architectural style is a way of classifying architecture largely by morphological characteristics - in terms of form, techniques, materials, etc. However it is not a holistic way of understanding architectural works because of its emphasis on style.
It overlaps with, and emerges from the study of the evolution and history of architecture, but it is slightly different in its emphasis. While in architectural history, the study of, for instance, Gothic architecture would include all the aspects of the cultural context that went into the making of these structures, architectural style is a way of classifying architecture that gives emphasis to the characteristic features of Gothic architecture, leading to a terminology such as Gothic "style". This could then apply equally to buildings even produced during periods outside the historic period of Gothic architecture. Thus one could build a Gothic style church even today, irrespective of the historic period from which the style emerged.
American Empire is a French-inspired Neo-classical style of American furniture and decoration that was initiated just before 1800 and is most notably exemplified by the furniture of Duncan Phyfe and Paris-trained Charles-Honor? Lannuier. Their work in this style is characterized by antiquities-inspired carving, applied, gilded brass mounts, and inlaid decorative elements such as stamped brass banding with egg-and-dart, diamond, or Greek key patterns, or individual shapes such as stars or circles. The most elaborate examples were made before around 1825, and incorporate carved columns and figures finished with a combination of gilding and vert-antique. A more plain version of American Empire furniture, usually referred to as the Grecian style, generally demonstrates curved forms, figured mahogany veneer, and sometimes stencilled decorations. This American version of the Central-European Biedermeier style, continued to be made in conservative centers past the mid-nineteenth century. Two major centers of American Empire style cabinet-making were New York and Baltimore.
Gothic architecture is a style of architecture, particularly associated with cathedrals and other churches, which flourished in Europe during the high and late medieval period. Beginning in 12th centuryFrance, it was known as "the French Style", with the term Gothic first appearing in the Reformation era as a stylistic insult.
It was succeeded by Renaissance architecture beginning in Florence in the 15th century.
A series of Gothic revivals began in mid-18th century England, spread through 19th century Europe and continued, largely for ecclesiastical and university structures, into the 20th century.
The style originated at the abbey church of Saint-Denis in Saint-Denis, near Paris, where it exemplified the vision of Abbot Suger. Suger wanted to create a physical representation of the Heavenly Bethlehem, a building of a high degree of linearity that was suffused with light and color. The fa?ade was actually designed by Suger, whereas the Gothic nave was added some hundred years later.