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Wednesday, 17 August 2011


Construction only became a basic factor in architectural thought during the Roman era at the time of the birth of Christ. Before then architecture had been almost exclusively symbolic in form and decoration.

The emperor Augustus was a lover of architectural splendour. He claimed "I found Rome brick and left it marble", referring to improvements to Rome during his emperorship. Augustus imposed a height limit of 80ft on tower blocks within Rome.

Augustus built his mansion on Palatine Hill, from which came the word, "palace".

The actual function of gargoyles is to protect the roof of a structure from rainfall. Rain falls on the backs and slides out the mouth.

In 1696 the window tax was introduced in England. This had an effect on English architecture way into the next century.

Catherine the Great of Russia asked her favourite architect to construct the world's most expensive palace. When he had finished the Winter Palace in Leningrad, the Queen took her husband riding and led him past the new building. Her husband enquired whom it belonged to. Catherine replied "you, darling."

One of the most ever influential books on architecture was French architect Le Corbusier 1923 publication Towards a New Architecture.  He proposed a contemporary city for three million inhabitants with low residential blocks separated by large areas of park. This idea has since been adapted many times for housing projects.

Source Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia © 1998 The Learning Company, Inc

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