Archive for the ‘Renaissance’ Category

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Saint Peter’s Basilica

Architect: Collective

Location: Vatican City

Date: 1506-1626

Building Type: Church

Architecture Styles: Renaissance

Architectural Time Period: 1500s

Construction Type: Bearing Masonry

Context: Urban

Introduction(Information mainly based on Internet and Readings):

The Papal Basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican, commonly known as Saint Peter’s Basilica, is a Late Renaissance church located within Vatican City. Designed principally by Bramante, Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno and Bernini, St Peter’s is the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture and remains one of the largest churches in the world. While it is neither the mother church of the Roman Catholic Church nor the cathedral of the Bishop of Rome, Saint Peter’s is regarded as one of the holiest Catholic sites. It has been described as “holding a unique position in the Christian world” and as “the greatest of all churches of Christendom”.

In Roman Catholic tradition, the basilica is the burial site of its namesake Saint Peter, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus and, according to tradition, was the first Bishop of Rome and therefore first in the line of the papal succession. Tradition and some historical evidence hold that Saint Peter’s tomb is directly below the altar of the basilica. For this reason, many Popes have been interred at St Peter’s since the Early Christian period. There has been a church on this site since the 4th century. Construction of the present basilica, over the old Constantinian basilica, began on 18 April 1506 and was completed on 18 November 1626.

St Peter’s is famous as a place of pilgrimage, for its liturgical functions. Because of its location in the Vatican, the Pope presides at a number of services throughout the year, drawing audiences of 15,000 to over 80,000 people, either within the Vatican Basilica, or in St Peter’s Square. St Peter’s has many strong historical associations, with the Early Christian church, the papacy, the Counter-reformation and with numerous artists, most significantly Michelangelo. As a work of architecture, it is regarded as the greatest building of its age. Saint Peter’s is one of the four churches of Rome that hold the rank of Major Basilica. Contrary to popular misconception, it is not a cathedral as it is not the seat of a bishop; the cathedra of the Bishop of Rome is located in the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran.

My own exploration:

Keywords: Baldacchino, Structural Member

Baldacchino

The altar with Bernini’s baldacchino

Bernini’s first work at St. Peter’s was to design the baldacchino, a pavilion-like structure 30 metres (98 ft) tall and claimed to be the largest piece of bronze in the world, which stands beneath the dome and above the altar. Its design is based on the ciborium, of which there are many in the churches of Rome, serving to create a sort of holy space above and around the table on which the Sacrament is laid for the Eucharist and emphasizing the significance of this ritual. These ciboria are generally of white marble, with inlaid coloured stone. Bernini’s concept was for something very different. He took his inspiration in part from the baldachin or canopy carried above the head of the pope in processions, and in part from eight ancient columns that had formed part of a screen in the old basilica. Their twisted barley-sugar shape had a special significance as the column to which Jesus was bound before his crucifixion was believed to be of that shape. Based on these columns, Bernini created four huge columns of bronze, twisted and decorated with olive leaves and bees, which were the emblem of Pope Urban.

The baldacchino is surmounted not with an architectural pediment, like most baldacchini, but with curved Baroque brackets supporting a draped canopy, like the brocade canopies carried in processions above precious iconic images. In this case, the draped canopy is of bronze, and all the details, including the olive leaves, bees, and the portrait heads of Urban’s niece in childbirth and her newborn son, are picked out in gold leaf. The baldacchino stands as a vast free-standing sculptural object, central to and framed by the largest space within the building. It is so large that the visual effect is to create a link between the enormous dome which appears to float above it, and the congregation at floor level of the basilica. It is penetrated visually from every direction, and is visually linked to the Cathedra Petri in the apse behind it and to the four piers containing large statues that are at each diagonal.

 

Structural Member

The main structural member I am focused on is the column, they has a large scale and the dimensions are noted in the sketch

The size of the column is huge compared to the size of a person

 

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Villa d’Este

Architect: Collective

Location: Tivoli, Italy.

Date: 1550-1572

Building Type: Villa

Architecture Styles: Renaissance

Architectural Time Period: 1500s

Construction Type: Bearing Masonry

Context: Rural

Introduction(Information mainly based on Internet and Readings):

The Villa d’Este is a villa in Tivoli, near Rome, Italy. Listed as a UNESCO world heritage site, it is a fine example of Renaissance architecture and the Italian Renaissance garden. The whole complex contains a villa and garden. The villa itself is surrounded on three sides by a sixteenth-century courtyard sited on the former Benedictine cloister. The fountain on a side wall, framed within a Doric, contains a sculpture of a sleeping nymph in a grotto guarded by d’Este heraldic eagles, with a bas-relief framed in apple boughs that links the villa to the Garden of the Hesperides.

The central main entrance leads to the Appartamento Vecchio (“Old Apartment”) made for Ippolito d’Este, with its vaulted ceilings frescoed in secular allegories by Livio Agresti and his students, centered on the grand Sala, with its spectacular view down the main axis of the gardens, which fall away in a series of terraces. To the left and right are suites of rooms, that on the left containing Cardinal Ippolito’s’s library and his bedchamber with the chapel beyond, and the private stairs to the lower apartment, the Appartamento Nobile, which gives directly onto Pirro Ligorio’s Gran Loggia straddling the gravelled terrace with a triumphal arch motif.

The corridor of the villa with the fascinating openings

Garden

The garden plan is laid out on a central axis with subsidiary cross-axes, refreshed by some five hundred jets in fountains, pools and water troughs. The water is supplied by the Aniene, which is partly diverted through the town, a distance of a kilometer, and by the Rivellese spring, which supplies a cistern under the villa’s courtyard. The garden is now part of the Grandi Giardini Italiani.

The Villa’s uppermost terrace ends in a balustraded balcony at the left end, with a sweeping view over the plain below. Symmetrical double flights of stairs flanking the central axis lead to the next garden terrace, with the Grotto of Diana, richly decorated with frescoes and pebble mosaic to one side and the central Fontana del Bicchierone (“Fountain of the Great Cup”) loosely attributed to Bernini, where water issues from a seemingly natural rock into a scrolling shell-like cup.
Ramping system leading the circulation up and down to next level
Here are some fountains in the garden:
The fountain of Neptune
The Fontana dell’Ovato (“Oval Fountain”) cascades from its egg-shaped basin into a pool set against a rustic nymphaeum.
The Hundred Fountains

To descend to the next level, there are stairs at either end — the elaborate fountain complex called the Rometta (“the little Rome”) is at the far left — to view the full length of the Hundred Fountains on the next level, where the water jets fill the long rustic trough, and Pirro Ligorio’s Fontana dell’Ovato ends the cross-vista. A visitor may walk behind the water through the rusticated arcade of the concave nymphaeum, which is peopled by marble nymphas by Giambattista della Porta. Above the nymphaeum, the sculpture of Pegasus recalls to the visitor the fountain of Hippocrene on Parnassus, haunt of the Muses. This terrace is united to the next by the central Fountain of the Dragons, dominating the central perspective of the gardens, erected for a visit in 1572 of Pope Gregory XIII whose coat-of-arms features a dragon. Central stairs lead down a wooded slope to three rectangular fishponds set on the cross-axis at the lowest point of the gardens, terminated at the right by the water organ and Fountain of Neptune.

The plant functions not only the green Eco-fridenly features in the garden, but also the definer of circulation, they are trimmed neatly.

Section diagram

Sketch for a staircase

 

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Santa Maria delle Pace / Bramante Cloister

Architect: Donato Bramante

Location: Rome, Italy.

Date: 1478 – 1483

Building Type: Church

Architecture Styles: Renaissance

Architectural Time Period: 1400s

Construction Type: Bearing Masonry

Context: Urban

Introduction(Information mainly based on Internet and Readings)

Just behind Piazza Navona with its street artists and baroque fountains, you can find the little church of Santa Maria della Pace with its distinctive semi-circular portico. This Renaissance church was built for Pope Sixtus IV in 1480-84 with its Baroque style facade added in 1656.

According to legend, the reason the church was squeezed into this small piazza was that it was here a soldier pierced the breast of a painted Madonna causing it to bleed. To placate her, Pope Sixtus IV (1471-84) ordered the building of a new church if she would bring the war with Turkey to an end. The deal was done and the result was this church which was actually built over the remains of an existing one.

A main feature of the church and monastery complex is the Bramante cloister, which was added creating a sanctuary of calm which is now home to concerts and an art gallery. Built in 1500-1504 for Cardinal Oliviero Carafa, it was the first work of Donato Bramante in the city. It has two levels: the first is articulated by shallow pilasters set against an arcade; the second also has pilasters set against an arcade which is vertically continuous with the lower storey, but with columns located in between each arch span.

My own exploration:

Keywords: Exterior, Interior, Cloister

Exterior

The facade of the church has two orders and is entered by a semi-circular pronaos with paired Doric columns. The church presses forward almost to fill its tiny piazza, the church facade also focused on architectural detailing, the play of concave and convex forms at varying scales in and around the predominant main facade masks the neighboring buildings, extends the apparent breadth of the facade and so increases the visual impact on the spectator physically confined by the small trapezoidal piazza. Something I also learned from the exterior also include the fact that the monumental effect of the plasticity of forms, spatial layering and chiaroscuro lighting effects belies the actual scale of this urban intervention.

Plan diagram of the church and small portion of its adjacent cloister

Interior

The interior can be reached from the original fifteenth-century door, has a short nave with cruciform vaulting and a tribune surmounted by a cupola. The interior of the dome was supported by a series of ribs radiating from the lantern. This is an early example of combining these two forms of dome decoration. Carlo Maderno designed the high altar (1614) to enframe the venerable icon of the Madonna and Child.

The interior view at the entrance, the color of the material plays a harmony set

Different type of openings brings light into the interior

Interior shot showing the openings and roof structure

Cloister

The entrance of the cloister

the cloister was designed for quiet contemplation, So the entrance way has a deep depth away from the street, it is one of those spots that is perfect when we are overwhelmed by the city of Rome.

The courtyard of the cloister. Bramante cloister has two stories, where the heavy piers with applied orders in sequence (Corinthian and Ionic). From what I know, the trabeation of the upper story, and the unadorned, sculpturesque power of the lower story, were derived from systems used in the Colosseum, and the Theater of Marcellus.

Plan diagram of the cloister, including the courtyard patterning, thus showing the proportion of the space, the cloister forms a square itself. As the floor patterning suggests, it has the self-concentrated spatial quality.

View from the second story, which was open to public as a restaurant and bookstore.

Trabeation system of the upper story

Tectonic sketch showing the trabeation system of the second level arcade.

The Teatro Olimpico (“Olympic Theatre”) is a theatre in Vicenza, northern Italy: constructed in 1580-1585, it is the oldest and first enclosed theatre in the world. The theatre was the final design by the Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio and was not completed until after his death. The trompe-l’œil onstage scenery, designed by Vincenzo Scamozzi, to give the appearance of long streets receding to a distant horizon, was installed in 1585 for the very first performance held in the theatre, and is the oldest surviving stage set still in existence.

The Teatro Olimpico is, along with the Teatro all’antica in Sabbioneta and the Teatro Farnese in Parma, one of only three Renaissance theatres remaining in existence. Both these theatres were based, in large measure, on the Teatro Olimpico.

Since 1994, the Teatro Olimpico, together with other Palladian buildings in and around Vicenza, has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site “City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto”.

Quick sketch for the stage

Seating area

Villa La Rotonda is a Renaissance villa just outside Vicenza, northern Italy, designed by Andrea Palladio. The proper name is Villa Almerico Capra, but it is also known as La Rotonda, Villa Rotonda, Villa Capra and Villa Almerico. The name “Capra” derives from the Capra brothers, who

completed the building after it was ceded to them in 1591. Like other works by Palladio in Vicenza and the surrounding area, the building is conserved as part of the World Heritage Site “City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto”.

Sketch of facing the front of the Villa