Teacher: In this lesson, we're going to be talking about architecture. Architecture is a creative discipline that requires both an understanding of aesthetic sensibilities as well as a variety of technical skills



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TEACHER: In this lesson, we're going to be talking about architecture. Architecture is a creative discipline that requires both an understanding of aesthetic sensibilities as well as a variety of technical skills. Take a look at this example. This is a famous piece of architecture.

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It's called the Parthenon. And sits on top of the Acropolis, which is a very high hill in the city of Athens, Greece. And when you look at a building like this, can you identify some of the parts out of which it has been made? Can you name any of the architectural components? Do you have any idea how building like this

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may have been constructed, or why the architects who designed this chose to construct it the way they did? These will be some of the topics that we will explore as we move forward in this lesson with the following objectives. First, we want to define architecture. Second, we want to identify the two main architectural systems.

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Third, we want to compare and contrast different types of construction and architecture. And finally, we want to understand the Greek Orders of architecture. So keep your ears open for the following key terms throughout this lesson that will help you understand these concepts. These are: shell, skeleton, arch, vaults, dome, truss,

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suspension, load-bearing, post-and-lintel, column, crenellation, Greek Orders, and in particular, Doric. So we have to start off by of course defining what we mean when we talk about architecture. What is architecture, and who are architects? Well architects are people who engage in the discipline of architecture, which is essentially the design and construction of buildings,

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and rooms, and space. So we can also use the term architect to refer to someone whose the designer of something complex. If we say, for instance, that someone was the architect of a particular business plan, we're referring to the person who designed that business plan. This all stems from our understanding

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of people who design and create buildings. Now within the world of architecture, we have two main systems. These are shells and skeletons. And you can kind of think of these in terms of the human body. Basically the skeleton in architecture is like a skeleton in the human body.

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It's all the internal components that build up a sturdy structure upon which we build things like walls and so forth. And these walls-- what we see on the outside is all referred to as the shell. This is the part of the architecture that we visually recognize when we are inside the building or looking at the front, for instance.

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So within the world of architecture, there are a variety of types of construction we're going to investigate in this lesson. There's arches and vaults, domes, trusses, suspension, load-bearing walls, and post-and-lintel systems. So let's take a look. Well, to start with, arches and vaults are some of the most important concepts in architecture.

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They're responsible for a variety of advancements in construction techniques throughout history. These there something that we'll talk about in more detail in another lesson. But for right now, what's important to understand is that arches can take varieties of forms. But they all are essentially serving the same purpose, which is to improve the load-bearing capacity

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of the structure. So when we look at these arches here. This is the gateway arch on the left, in Saint Louis, Missouri. And this is an example of a town hall from Northern Ireland on the right. You can see some different uses of arches here. In essence, when we have an arch, it's made up of a bunch of different components,

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whether they're stones or metal plates, or whatever. But the idea is that each of these pieces-- rather than just sagging down the middle like this-- because of how they're cut out and how they're arranged together in this arc shape, they're applying force down the sides. Basically on each stone to the next to them. And so this improves the weight distribution

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of the structure of question. And so with arches, you can make what's called a vault. Which you can see in the ceiling example on the right here. A vault is essentially an arch that has been repeated and stretched out. And so you can think of it as an arch with more depth. Something like this. And so this is typical in a lot of hallways or meeting halls,

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as you can see here on the right. This is just a way of, as we said, improving the weight bearing capacity of a structure like this. So in contrast, if you have a flat ceiling, it's much more difficult. And you have to have a variety of other things in mind in Order to make sure that this ceiling will not

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collapse. Now, domes are another important feature of architecture. And they, of course, evolved naturally from arches. A dome is sort of a half sphere, if you want to think of it that way. Like a shell. If we were inside of an egg shell, for instance. a And a dome is essentially doing the same thing that an arch is

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doing, which is improving the load bearing capacity of some ceiling piece. And it's basically made by having an arch that we've spun around on its vertical axis. So if you think about it, we have the base of the dome is usually a circle. That's a pretty bad circle. Let's look at it over here.

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Something like this. So you can see, it's like we have a central axis down the middle here that we've spun this arch around in Order to make this a dome shape. Domes can take a variety of forms, just as arches can too. And each of them have various different aesthetic considerations that come along with them, as well as varying capabilities in terms

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of their load-bearing capacity. Another important type of architectural design is what's called a truss set up. This is essentially where we have systems of triangles that are interconnected with straight rods or something like that that form joints. And this also is a way of improving the load-bearing capacity of a structure.

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So you can see the truss structure of this bridge here. If we draw out these lines, you can see how this is basically made up of a bunch of inter-connecting triangles. And triangles are very important in architecture, because they keep a building or structure from shearing. Now what we mean when we say shearing? Well if you think about it, let's

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say we just had square structure like this. Well, if there's too much wind, for instance, or if there's more weight on one side or the other, this top piece here can start to go in this direction. And so when something shears, it's just kind of like it's tilting, because the weight is pulling it off to the side. So having these triangular bars inside of the squares

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keeps it from shearing. It basically can't tilt because that's there to keep it in place. Now trusses can take on a variety of different shapes. They can look like the one we've seen here. Or they can do things like this. Or they can even have a lattice shape like this. And each different type of truss has

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different aesthetic considerations as well as structural considerations, as do all the other elements that we've been discussing so far. Another important technique for affecting the load-bearing capacity of a structure is the use of what's called suspension support. Basically, this is a technique that we use in bridges to great effect.

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Like this suspension bridge here in Bristol England. The way this works is that we have these giant pylons, this structure here. They go down into the bottom of this river. And these support the suspension cables that go along the length of this bridge to this other pylon. And then outside of here, these are anchored to something that's on the ground.

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But basically, the suspension cables suspend the bridge in the middle. You can see there are these other cables running in between here. So this is another different way of affecting the weight distribution of the structure. And as you can see, it has a completely different aesthetic appeal from the truss structure.

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Now all of these different structures we've been talking about have developed over time. And that's because they had capabilities that old methods of construction didn't have. And so let's take a look and a few older, important construction techniques and styles. So one of these is what's called the use of load-bearing walls. Now what this does is basically puts the weight

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into the shell of the construction, in essence. So the Great Wall of China, for instance, uses load bearing walls. And it's one of the oldest, most complicated examples that we have. The way that this works is that instead of having this interior skeleton, necessarily, we just have really thick walls

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on the outside of some surface. And these are maybe filled in with something like stone, or concrete, or whatever. And then you would have interior walls that are sometimes referred to as curtains that are much thinner. So the idea, though, is that these walls themselves are supposed to bear the weight of the structure. Although this was an important technique,

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and it's still used to some extent today, the problem is that it severely limited the construction options that were available because things could only be built to a certain heights. For instance, the stones that we use in load bearing walls were subject to compression. And so if we had too many of them stacked atop one another, the ones on the bottom could perhaps be crumbled.

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Now another important early system is what's called a post-and-lintel system. This is basically where we have vertical posts that are supporting a horizontal beam, which is referred to as the lintel. And so you can see in this example here, these columns or posts in this top piece going across is a lintel.

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Can you think of an example where you may have seen this before? Are any of you familiar with Stonehenge? Stonehenge is one of the oldest examples of post-and-lintel construction that we have. And it's proof that this construction technique has been around for a very, very long time. A disadvantage to something like this as opposed to arches,

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for instance, is it the weight is not evenly distributed across these two posts. So you have weight pulling down in the middle of this lintel where there is no post underneath it. And so what can happen over time, if we have these two posts, is that the lintel can kind of sag because there's this part pulling down in the middle and each of these posts is only supporting weight

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on the outsides. And so there's some different techniques we can use to get around this. And as I said, one of them is the arch because this distributed the weight evenly down the sides. Another old feature of a lot of architecture is what were called crenellations. Have you ever seen a castle in movies,

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or maybe even in real life? Castles had these crenellation agents on the top, which are also sometimes referred to as the battlement. This is an example of architectural features that we're not necessarily serving a technical purpose in terms of weight distribution. They weren't necessarily serving an aesthetic purpose.

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They weren't there to maybe make the building feel more appealing. However, these were things that were designed for a very specific, functional purpose. There were important in defense and in warfare, because archers, for example, could stand on top of towers like this and hide behind these outcropping areas like this.

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And then in the areas in between, they could fire out projectiles. And so this provided them with a great deal of defensive capabilities. This is just one example of how other things can influence architecture besides just aesthetic considerations and technical considerations for creating shelter, and so forth. So while we're on the subject of old architectural techniques,

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it's important to mention the Greek Orders. Now the ancient Greeks had three Orders in their construction system. They referred to these as the Doric Order, the Ionic Order, and the Corinthian Order. And these were all prevalent during different particular times in ancient Greece. And at certain times they were used in combination

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with one another. The Doric style was the oldest. It was very stable. It is very utilitarian, as you can see on the left here in this image. This is an example of a Doric column. It's very unadorned. It's very broad, it's very thick,

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it's designed to support weight. Sometimes these were fluted and sometimes not. When we talk about a column being fluted, we're talking about whether it has tiny grooves in the outside of it. So if we were to look at a cross section of a column, for example. Most of them are going to be round in shape.

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A fluted column, however, has these little grooves cut out of all the way around. You've probably seen columns like this before so that when you see them in a side view, they look something like this. This was just an aesthetic consideration that didn't come about until later, in general. Now Ionic columns were much slimmer than Doric columns.

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They used slightly different construction techniques, and they had different capitals on top of them. You can see here. The Corinthian columns, finally, were the most slender. And they had the most decorative capital, and almost always had fluted sides on them. Now in the Doric Order, the capitals consisted of what's called an abacus

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and a curved, trapezoidal enchinus. so we look at this. Let's see if we can find the abacus and the enchinus. Well, the enchinus is kind of this section here. And the abacus is the square part that goes on top of it. And so frequently, you would see examples where if we look at this in 3-D from underneath-- this is our abacus.

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And sometimes this is our column. Our echinus sort of looks like a pillow that's sandwiched in between the column in the abacus. And this was just an important support mechanism. Now in the ionic Order, we had what were called volutes. They're these little scroll shapes on top of the echinus. You can see these right here. Basically they project out to the side

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and they have this sort of spirally shape. They look like a scroll from the side. And Corinthian capitals, finally, they featured smaller volutes but they were also adorned with acanthus leaves. So on top of these capitals, we had what was called the entabulature. this is built out of an architrave, a frieze,

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and a cornice. And is usually topped with a pediment. So if we go back to this example here, we can see this. Right here. We have cornice. And our other parts, the frieze and the architrave. So the frieze is this area right here. And this would sometimes be decorated with things.

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And we have the architrave, which was usually a support piece, underneath. So the cornice, as you can see, projects out of the space and we have this triangular pediment on top of it. So let's review what we discussed in this lesson. First, we defined architecture. Second, we identified the two main architectural system: shells and skeletons.

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You remember how these are analogous to parts of the human body. Basically, the skeleton and skin. We compared and contrasted different types of construction in architecure, things like domes and arches and trusses and so forth. And finally, we sought to understand the Greek Orders of architecture.

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The Ionic, Corinthian, and Doric Orders. So in conclusion, you may have seen a variety of old buildings like this, the Colosseum in Rome, and been taken in by their beauty but perhaps hadn't taken the time to consider some of the different structural questions that had to be answered in Order to create a building like this. If we look at an example of the Colosseum

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here, for instance, if we were to look closely, we would find arches. We would find find examples of all the different types, the different Orders, of columns. And so when you see old pieces, a big part of the reason why you see so many old techniques like this was because they were designed to withstand the test of time. And so many of our best examples of architecture

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are things that had not only aesthetic appeal in importances, but also had capabilities to maintain their structural integrity over the span of time.
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