Questions tagged [architecture]

Process and effect of planning and designing buildings, both in scientific (as a method of creating constructions) or art (as styles throughout ages) ways.

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33
votes
3answers
8k views

How were medieval castles built in swamps or marshes without draining them?

By this, I mean a castle built without terraforming or draining the swamp; a castle that was built while keeping the swamp intact. Inspired by Monty Python Since apparently, castles built in marshes ...
30
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1answer
4k views

What happened to these buildings near the Seine?

I was looking at these before after images and was concerned what happened to these beautiful buildings near the Seine in Paris. Were they destroyed in a war? Has there been any attempt to reconstruct ...
27
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7answers
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Why in most German places is the church the tallest building?

A coworker from another country asked me today if it is true that we have a law prohibiting any building in a place from being taller than their church. I told him I don't know if we still have any ...
25
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1answer
606 views

When did the round house fall out of vernacular use throughout Britain and Ireland?

TL;DR When did roundhouses fall out of vernacular use? The time frame we have is full of gaps: They fell out of use in South-West Britain in the 8th Century. Wales may have had them potentially for ...
23
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1answer
587 views

Do any churches continue to display length measures?

In 864, Charles the Bald issued what is today known as the Edict of Pistres. One of his demands was that copies of the standards of measurements (e.g. versions of a foot) were to be displayed on the ...
21
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16answers
23k views

Why does Europe have so few skyscrapers compared to East Asia?

The European Union has virtually no skyscrapers except the newly built 'The Shard' in London. There are also a series of newly-built state-funded skyscrapers in Moscow. On the other hand if you look ...
20
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4answers
4k views

Are there any underground cities known except those found in Cappadocia?

I've recently read the story about the discovery of the underground city of Derinkuyu. Now I'm a bit curious if there are other similar archaeological discoveries: I mean something we could really ...
16
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5answers
3k views

Can someone help explain this floor plan of a mid 20th century apartment? [closed]

I was watching 12 Angry Men, which was made in 1957; and they show this floor plan of an apartment: My main question is, what's the opening in the wall between the hallway and the main room? It ...
15
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1answer
451 views

What would the Arch of Titus have looked like painted?

The Arch of Titus is a famous attraction in Rome, built by the Roman Emperor Domitian in 82 CE, in honor of the great military conquest of his older brother, Titus. Perhaps the most famous part of ...
15
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1answer
2k views

What was the original colour of the Colosseum (Flavian Amphitheatre)?

Most of the remains of Roman buildings that we see today are white, merely because paint decays much faster than the structure of the building which is naturally whitish. Looking at many of the ...
14
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1answer
2k views

Does anyone know what type of structure this is?

I came across this picture taken at an ancient Roman site (name & location not provided) and was wondering what kind of structure it is. I've searched for fountains, wells, milestones, and ...
13
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1answer
521 views

What words were obliterated from the Great Colonnade at Palmyra?

One of the columns at the Great Colonnade at Palmyra features a dedicatory inscription to Zenobia and Odaenathus. It is bilingual, recording the same text in Greek and Palmyrenean: (Image credit: ...
12
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4answers
2k views

How did the Egyptian engineers of the Third and Fourth Dynasty construct the Pyramids and Sphinx without modern science and mathematics? [closed]

How did the Egyptian engineers of the Third and Fourth Dynasty construct the Pyramids and Sphinx without modern science and mathematics? What was the "state of the art" in engineering, science, and ...
12
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4answers
19k views

Why are the ceilings so high in older houses?

The majority of multi-storey houses built before World War II have ceilings higher than nowadays. Today, the standard is about 2.4m, but in the 19th century or the first half of the 20th century it ...
12
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4answers
3k views

Why is such big density of churches in medieval towns?

If we look at Old Towns of European cities, we can see that there are many churches in them. Of course, it is reasonable as religion was very important in lives of the medieval people. However, ...
11
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1answer
415 views

When did European building interiors partitioned into rooms become commonplace?

My visit to Versailles many years ago confronted me with an alien concept of interior architecture: everything was a large hall, including the bedchambers, and getting to another part of the palace ...
9
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4answers
10k views

Why did a lot of major cities around the world obtain obelisks?

I am just wondering the significance of this. There is a large one in Washington DC and an old Egyptian one in New York. They have them in France, England, Spain, Canada, Australia etc. Wikipedia has ...
9
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1answer
355 views

What is the significance of roof charms outside of the Forbidden City?

I've been travelling around Asia for a few months and one recurring theme is that in important places in China and Taiwan the buildings have "Roof Charms" on them. When I first encountered them in the ...
9
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2answers
306 views

Earliest examples of moveable bridges (for ships to pass under)

Transportation of goods on rivers have been important throughout history, all the way back to the earliest civilization in Mesopotamia, the Indus valley, Egypt, China and more (this might not be the ...
9
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1answer
467 views

What did they call Gothic and Baroque architecture before the modern terms came into use?

In the modern sense, I mean. All the reference sites explain the origin of the word Baroque and mention that up until the late 19th Century it was a derogatory term: It was only with Heinrich ...
8
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2answers
911 views

What are the highest and biggest half-timbered buildings built during medieval era?

In any part of present Europe, let's say before the fall of Constantinople (1453 AD). Also if you can show me a drawing or a picture (if these buildings are still there), I would appreciate it. Also, ...
8
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2answers
1k views

Was there anything like African American architecture style or symbolic in the beginning of 20th century?

At the beginning of 20th century, large masses of black people were migrating to North or between districts of the same towns (like in New York from Tenderloin or San Juan Hill to Harlem, previously ...
8
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1answer
732 views

Before iron was common, what did common people use for door hinges?

Door hinges are very old, but they've usually been made out of iron or bronze. Before metal was widely available and inexpensive, what did common people use for door hinges?
8
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1answer
214 views

In Classical Athens, what did the portico of the archon basileus look like?

In Plato's Euthyphro, Socrates and his titular interlocutor meet at the portico of the archon basileus - or chief archon. I've been looking for an image of the portico but had no luck so far, and am ...
8
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3answers
336 views

Where in a city would a cathedral be built?

I am creating a medieval style village in a video game I am developing. Trying to be as accurate as possible I have studied the basic form Gothic Cathedrals and come to a pretty good understanding. ...
8
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1answer
507 views

Did some Roman/Pompeiian houses have atria for slaves?

According to Wikipedia (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_of_the_Vettii) the House of the Vettii brothers had two atria, one specifically for slaves. Servants' quarters are to one side off the ...
7
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2answers
1k views

What is the role of towers in Romanesque architecture?

I'm currently reading some books about romanesque architecture. I would like to know the roles of towers that many religious buildings have. I have some guesses, so I would like you to tell me if ...
6
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2answers
697 views

The monumental/architectural sculptures of Petra - has there been any research on the likely craftsmen who executed them?

The Nabatean people who founded Petra are described as a pre-Islamic Arab people. Centrally located on the spice trade routes, they achieved fabulous wealth and settled in the city of Petra. A recent ...
6
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1answer
260 views

Formation of underground layers of Rome

I have recently came across several news articles (for example) from various decades, talking about existing underground structures in the city of Rome, which used to be above ground at some point of ...
6
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1answer
327 views

Are parts of the Sphinx older than 5000 years?

Are parts of the Great Sphinx of Giza more than 5000 years old? There was a controversy about this question 15 years ago on which I didn't find anything to conclusively prove or debunk it.
5
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2answers
228 views

How were settlers' houses in Kamchatka built?

As Imperial Russia settled Kamchatka, how did the new arrivals build their houses? Was construction identical to that of Siberia or were local adaptations made?
5
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3answers
651 views

What is the origin of Friedensreich Hundertwasser's surname?

This is my first time posting on History.SE, so I hope my question is appropriate for this site. I've tried to look up the nationality of Friedensreich Hundertwasser's parents, that is Ernst and Elsa ...
5
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1answer
1k views

Does Tanjore Brihadeeswarar Temple contain more stones than Giza pyramid?

I have heard that the Tanjore Brihadeeswarar Temple or Periya Kovil has more stones than the Giza Pyramid. Upon performing a Google search on this, I found a website and a blog stating that ...
5
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1answer
1k views

Is Howard Roark's potted history of architecture accurate?

Howard Roark explains why the Parthenon is not great architecture and in passing explains that the whole of architectural history has been nothing but a series of copycatting: "Look," said Roark. "...
5
votes
1answer
215 views

What are these cubbies?

My brother-in-law sent me these pictures from Vitrolles, France. They would have been taken somewhere with in a two hours drive from there. We were both wondering why in the interior of this tower ...
5
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2answers
425 views

Why there is no Islamic architecture with glass in windows before 18th century?

Why there is no Islamic architecture with glass in windows before 18th century? Glass windows frequently appear in gothic architecture since 11th century but why Medieval Islamic architecture lack ...
5
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2answers
485 views

Was Mimar Sinan of Greek Christian origin?

Mimar Sinan was perhaps the greatest and most famous architect in Turkish History. He was born at the end of the 1400s and lived nearly 100 years. His style essentially defined Ottoman architectural ...
5
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0answers
165 views

Housing Materials, Structure and Style in the late Middle Ages in Germany

So my friend and I are coming to develop an Age of Empires-esque game set in the late Middle Ages. Like any good developers we're doing our research first and we've come up with some issues. When ...
4
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1answer
180 views

What were the grooves in the side of the walls at the rear entrance of Harlech and Beaumaris gatehouses for?

The back of Harlech and Beaumaris castle gatehouses seem to have grooves in the side of the wall for a portcullis, but there is no groove above so if there was one was there it could not be raised. ...
4
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1answer
3k views

Did the Eastern Romans also use roman concrete?

When I read about Roman concrete I understand its use was forgotten after the fall of the Roman empire. But what about the Eastern Roman empire, the Byzantine Empire? Did they still make buildings ...
4
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2answers
575 views

Which tall building was completed in 1940 in Europe?

This chart from The Economist lists the tallest building completed each year since 1885. It seems a tallish building (over 100m) was completed in Europe in 1940, and indeed this was the tallest ...
4
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1answer
691 views

What were the business models of real estate development in ancient Rome?

I just watched Mary Beard's documentary about the Romans. One thing I'm curious about is that some of the models of living of the Romans seemed to be quite similar to today's: e.g. that there were ...
4
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1answer
193 views

Open database with brutalist architecture?

My apologies if I’m in the wrong SE. Is there an open database of brutalist buildings? I’m aware of sosBrutalism; adding to their data is gatekept and not openly, programmatically, available. So, I’m ...
4
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1answer
1k views

Medieval wall and garment patterns

To my mind Fritz Lang's Die Nibelungen (1924) is a work of absolute genius, perhaps surpassing even Orson Welles' Citizen Kane (1941) in movie history. It is very rich, beautiful, yes tragic, and deep....
4
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0answers
94 views

Were adobes often built on shellmounds?

Adobe was the principal construction material used in the arid north of Mexico. In wetter parts the adobe was subject to water damage: rain ate away its exposed surfaces and softened the ground on ...
4
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0answers
254 views

Did Ancient Chinese architecture develop anything analogous to the Greek Orders?

Pretty much every culture in the world has its own tradition of architecture, design principles, etc., reflecting what society considers "ideal." In ancient Greece, these famously became codified into ...
3
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1answer
884 views

Were Greek columns hollow?

I remember learning in elementary school that at some point in their history, the Greeks were building hollow columns to support their building, because they thought that hollow columns would provide ...
3
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1answer
460 views

What's inside the Arch of Constantine?

Does the Arch of Constantine in Rome have an interior? (I'm not speaking of the empty space formed by the arch itself, but rather of the massive stone structure which forms the arch.) The Wikipedia ...
3
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2answers
2k views

Were any Egyptian pyramids designed to be half an octahedron? [closed]

Are there Egyptian pyramids which were modeled to resemble half an octahedron? Do the angles of some pyramids correspond to angles of an octahedron? For those who don't know what an octahedron is: ...
3
votes
1answer
533 views

What sort of architecture existed in Catholic Eastern Europe around the late 1100's and very early 1200's?

What I'm really interested in most is building materials, but I'm pretty open to answers. Essentially, it sounds like the late 1100's in Eastern Europe were still pretty solidly Romanesque, with ...