Monday, March 17, 2008

Architecture: Where art meets engineering.

When the ideas of art and engineering were discussed together, the first thing that came to mind was architecture. Buildings should be aesthetically pleasing, but also structurally sound. Now if that is not a perfect example of the collision of art and engineering, I don’t know what is. There are many examples of modern art and engineering coming together such as this building.

This photo was found at http://www.eos2007.de/berlincitytour/media.files/Berlin-City1.jpg

Or this building

Which was found at http://www.contemporist.com/photos/bolgen_02.jpg.

Or even this one

Which was found at http://www.duesseldorf.de/touristik/bildarchiv/grafik/n00156.jpg.

Also you should check out this website http://www.contemporist.com/category/architecture and check out old posts as well. (Also explore other genres other than architecture which are listed at the top.)

However, what really interested me as both engineering and art feats were cathedrals. Over winter break I spent a few weeks traveling through Europe and I saw many old and beautiful cathedrals. These building posses so many features of great art and of great engineering and they beautifully play off of one another. One cathedral that we saw was the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence Italy. This cathedral has a very Gothic feel to its outsides, but its main feat of engineering is the very large dome on the top.

The outside of the church.

The dome of the church.

This dome was the largest dome at the time of its creation. It is 42 meters wide and it is created by making two concentric domes. Brunelleschi, the dome's creator came up with the idea of how to build the most massive dome as well as the tools he needed to create the masterpiece. This was a great task for an engineer to tackle, but it was also a great task for an artist. Brunelleschi had to make the dome something beautiful and interesting for the people of Florence for years to come. I truly think that he accomplished this task very well and created a great work of art and of engineering. Although the interior was completed by other artists, the interior was also a magnificent feat. Frescoes (plater based paintings) cover the inside of the dome. Frescoes must be painted quickly before the plaster dries or they are destroyed. Therefore the entirety of this dome interior took years to complete.

The inside of the Dome.

Another cathedral that is a great combination of art and engineering is none other than the Basilica di San Pietro. It was designed by the great artist and architect, Michaelangelo. This cathedral contains the largest nave and tallest dome of all Catholic Cathedrals in the world. It is unbelievable to behold both from an engineering and a artistic point of view. I cannot begin to explain the magnificence of this great building, but here are some pictures which capture the greatness of the art and engineering that went into this cathedral.

The dome of St. Peter's Basilica. A view from the roof.

The furthest point of the church from the entrance. Here you can see how the art work and the architecture are one and the same and cannot be separated. Look at how the support pillars frame the sculpture on the back wall. Also all of the gold you can see on the ceiling is mosaic tiles. The artwork and the engineering are greatly incorporated here.

Again you can see how the architecture plays into the art of the building. The shapes and designs cut into the structure of the building are so intricate and purposefully made. This building is such a perfect collision of the two worlds.

Here is a view of the church from the base of the dome interior. Look at how massive the building is, every inch of which appears to be covered in artwork. Even the flooring has intricate designs inlaid in it. Here you can see the support pillars which are not only there for engineering purposes, but add greatly to the beauty of the church.

As you can see, St. Peter's Basilica is a great example of how beautiful architecture can be. This building is a masterpiece of art and engineering and carefully combines the best elements of both to create one of the most unbelievable places to behold.

1 comment:

erik_kennedy said...

It's pretty rockin' that you mentioned St. Peters. When I was in Rome (I did as the Romans did, haha couldn't resist), I totally went back there once and just sat and took it all in. It was so sick. I totally agree about the engineering+art stuff.