Byzantine architecture is pre-eminently religious with an emphasis on the interior, being the exteriors very discreet. The only architectural ensemble of relevance is the Magnum Palatio, a citadel fortified with imperial palaces, military installations, public buildings and around thirty churches.

As a result of the proliferation of charitable activities, there was also a demand to construct buildings for such purposes, such as hospices, hospitals and orphanages, some of them large enough to accommodate between 100 and 200 beds.


Represents the union between the empire and the Church, a cube topped by a dome. It is the combination of the central plan of the Roman building with dome and the Roman basilicas. The central dome is not as large as that of the Pantheon, but it was an artistic and technical achievement. When the dome was being built, large cracks appeared, so it was reinforced with buttresses. The dome is placed on four triangular concave pendentives that serve as a transition between the circular shape of the dome and its rectangular base. In the interior It was intended to create a mystical image of heaven that would be as opposite as possible to the everyday world.


The dimensions of existing cities tend to shrink and new cities develop in very small areas compared to the past, in order to concentrate resources and defend better in case of attack. In this way, a defensive lifestyle is acquired, especially in the peripheries of the empire. The Byzantines brought different novelties to the military architecture: killers in the patrol paths from where to throw on the attackers all kinds of projectiles; blinds to defend the accesses.


The previous system of fidelity to a remote government is transformed by a pyramidal system of vassalage and control of territory that focuses on the kingdoms, countries, duchies, marquisates. 

In mediaeval pre-Romanesque architecture, in addition to churches and monasteries that followed the Christian tradition from the Roman Empire, castles were developed. This typology arises towards the 8th century and extends throughout Europe.


They acquire a uniform style, although with different languages according to the promoters, which is based on the ideological and conscious use of the plundered elements of Roman buildings, which are reused with a greater symbolic use and well integrated with the new elements of good quality.


Between the middle of the 7th century and the beginning of the 8th century, an ecclesiastical was developed that takes up the model of the traditional Roman basilica and delineates a central floor typology with massive forms influenced by the Aegean and Syrian areas.


They are characterized by the desire to reaffirm classical art in order to emulate the Roman Empire. For this reason, a systematic recovery is carried out that involves different artistic influences in order to legitimise and celebrate the empire.


The Otonians collected the Carolingian stylistic and cultural reminiscences to confirm the existence of a link with the Christian emperors. They dedicated themselves to the construction of religious buildings such as abbeys and cathedrals, inspired by Roman basilicas and also using the westewek and doubles aspes.


Islamic culture and architecture developed in most of the Iberian Peninsula between the 8th and 15th centuries. There are still traces of many fortresses, as well as the urban layout of cities and towns. A common feature of Islamic architecture is the use of towers and water. Towers are defensive elements but also viewpoints over the landscape. In the gardens they design water routes and introduce different aromatic plants. Islamic architecture produces new architectural types such as Mosques and baths for hygienic and religious purposes.


Is associated with the art of the Normans, who in these centuries experiences their peak and maximum diffusion. Due to the political instability, the feudal lords usually fortify the cities and the places that become castles.

The Christian religion increased its political and international role in the face of feudal divisions. It undertakes a work of education and mass evangelization, to such an extent that architecture and art are loaded with symbolism and lose realism. Religious buildings are books made of stone, characterized by large masses and heavy proportions.


It spread mainly in the territories furthest from the classical context and therefore more distant from their culture, considered as well as the art of the barbarians. The emergence of an artisan and commercial middle class makes a new type of city flourish: the burgos. This will become a promoter of art and architecture.

The Norman builder began to test a novel system consisting of reinforcing the Roman vault with diagonal ribs that allowed the resulting panels to be lightened with different materials.


The cathedral was the house of God. Hence the need to reach great heights that reduce the human scale. They were a great testing ground for architectural  experimentation, including a series of improvements such as pointed arches and ribbed vaults.

The ogival arch, meant the almost total elimination of the walls of the Church by coloured glass membranes, which represented the scenes of the sacred scriptures, and the increase in the height of the naves.

The stone structure of ashlars gave way to lighter materials in the panels, above the vaults, in the façade, in the roofs.

The decorations are usually very fine frescoes directly on the stone or on altarpieces, with religious motifs, starry skies and sometimes feigned stone or brick. The sculpture returns once again to naturalistic realism, in order to be more convincing in its educational purpose.


There are a multitude of civilian buildings, expressions of the new bourgeois social class and its new demands. Town halls, safety places, universities, fortresses, bastions, bridges, bell towers, shipyards are being built.

The stately places were the symbolic and administrative place of power. City councils are also built in cities that are gaining economic and political autonomy. Some examples of civil buildings are the Lonja de la seda and the Ducal Palace of Venice.


The Church suffers a great crisis that leads to the schism of the West. In the 15th century in Italy and mainly in Florence, as important urban culture emerged, so merchants and bankers became protectors of art and ordered buildings for themselves or for the city. They will be followed by religious power. 

Optimism and confidence in human potential arise. The Renaissance man trusts in his intellectual capacities, thinks that history is no longer a whole ordered by the hand of God and exalts the human being and his capacity to dominate nature.

Humanism was a philosophy that emphasized the importance of human values and achievements, disguising them from religious dogma.

The interest in the recovery of Romans arose in Italy and then spread to Europe, with the idea of matching the intellectual and artistic achievements of classical antiquity. Roman works can still be seen directly and the perspective is rediscovered.


Architect, humanist, goldsmith, sculpture, mathematician. He rediscovered the laws of perspective by formulating the bases of mathematical perspective and applying it to architecture, constructing spaces in an intellectual and rational way.

He revolutionizes the medieval collegiate way of projecting. With him the architect was intellectual and claimed his role by placing himself in the vanguard with the new classes of power and always defending his ideas. His best known work is the dome of the cathedral of Florence which, for its size and design, is a landmark in the city, symbol of a new civic value.


Its buildings are full of demonstrative intentions and subtle formal resources oriented to proportion, which is the essence of Architecture. Alberti remodels the Rucellai palace in Florence, projecting a new façade that unifies different previous properties. 


He began working as a stonemason at the age of 13 and prospered in the bricklayer guild. The build of his work consists of more than 40 country villas that were built in the vicinity of Venice and Vicenza for the Venetian nobility. 

In the villas he adapted the central body of the house to the forms of the ancient temple topped by a pediment, considering that the Roman temples were derived from the hut and thus returning the portico with columns to their origins, the private house. The layout of the villa Capra is absolutely symmetrical, conceived as a central circle crowned by a dome around which are organized the four hexastyle porticoes of ionic style and main ornament of the building.


His works developed in Florence and Rome, his patrons were Mannerism, with very important works where it is seen that he uses the classical elements transforming them or manipulating them and transgressing the classical design.

In the Laurenziana library he alternated curves and right angles, concave and convex shapes, to create a sense of movement and tension. The staircase is the protagonist of the space with three parts and with a sculptural character, altering the classic postulates. In the redevelopment of the Capitoline hill in Rome, he adds value to the old area, designing an urban route, connecting several areas of the city and incorporating new facades into existing buildings.


Baroque architecture and the subsequent rococo is an effort to obtain the maximum possible effects from the moulded space, the manipulation of light, colour and sensual detail.

Is the spatial liberation of the rules of the treatises, of conventions, of elementary geometry and of everything static that had already begun with the mannerists.

The structure took a back seat. The focus was on the visual effect and decoration. The dividing line between reality and illusion is blurred, with decorations that rise towards the sky that frame the scenes.

It is an artistic expression in which fantasy, mutability , the multiplication of stenographic effects, asymmetry, the use of lights, water and the movement of space intervene. In urban planning, the idea of the focal point, of the route, of the symbolic square is born.


Italian architect, sculptor and painter. He is the heir to Michelangelo’s sculptural and the main model of architectural Baroque in Europe. He enjoyed the favour and protection of seven popes, for whom he made numerous works with great success and recognition.

Its architecture proposes the emotional impact. For instance, he turns the Cornaro Chapel into a small “theatre” with lateral boxes for the contemplation of the sculptural group of the ecstasy of Saint Teresa.

He uses warm, shimmering colour tones and plays with the contrast between dark and light to accentuate the focal point of the composition towards the Saint. Architecture merges into painting and sculpture to recreate art. The zenithal light directed from a hidden window of yellow glass materializes in the rays.


His work was always based on simple geometric elements, triangles, circles and ellipses whose translation and spatial manipulation, by means of prisms, cylinders and spherical caps, was later greatly admitted in architecture. 

The façade of San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane is sinuous and concave with the idea of welcoming the visitor and integrating with the exterior urban space.


It is an artistic fashion born in the French courtly environments. It is distinguished by the frivolity and superficiality of a decorations faithful to themselves, with the aim of surprising and ostentation.

It begins as fashion in the war, and dreamy spaces, which contrast with the conditions of dirt and unhealthy exteriors.

The interiors are ambient plaster shells subtly used to define the space and to manipulate natural lighting, but it hides the structure and detaches itself from it.


With the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution coexist from Rococo to Neoclassicism. There are several aesthetic approaches in this period.

A radical change towards a rational architecture was experienced in which the dominion of the structural truth over the visual effects was recovered. Neoclassicism was the formal expressions that reflected in the arts the intellectual principles of the Enlightenment. 

The neoclassicism was linked to the idea of public service and educational functions of the buildings, as well as the Greek agora that was configured by STOAS, large elongated public buildings with arcades to encourage meetings, installation of craftsmen… It was in this context that the museum was born with a didactic function: the functions were studied and a rational floor was designed to serve these with areas dedicated to painting and sculpture.


The industrialization of the western world produced an increase in population and a migratory phenomenon towards the cities, which were left insufficient: the walls were demolished, the expansion began with industrial and worker neighbourhoods, new construction typologies appeared. 

Polytechnic schools and international exhibitions are founded, experimenting with new materials and shapes. The architecture for industrialisation is related to new construction typologies.

In the mid-nineteenth century is response to the course of evasion to the subconscious and romantic born a new vision of art more realistic that evidences the conditions of society with crude reality: realism.


It is characterized by clean lines, curves and undulations inspired by nature and oriental art , with geometric formal simplification towards two-dimensionality.

In spite of the rupture with the past, the formal expressions are nourished by japonium and romantic symbolism; as well as the handcrafted production promoted by Ruskin and Morris with medievalism.


This new language lasted a short time, around 1910 it was an excessive cost of handcrafted products.

In Valencia, the modernist works of interest are the Estación del Norte, The Colón market, the Central market, the Casa FerreR, etc.

Modernism developed in Catalonia at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. Antonio Gaudi went through a modernist period, but later he produced an original architecture, typical of Catalonia, based on the Catalan Mudejar tradition and the medieval past.


Gaudí Casa Milá represents an expressionist stage of the architecture, where the distortion affects the whole building, from the facades to the roofs with their chimneys, overcoming the modernist phase towards his personal style.

 The idea of simultaneous vision of cubism will be translated with Gropius in the glass surfaces that eliminate the separations between interior and exterior for simultaneous contemplation, as well as as in Le Corbusier it is translated of architecture, in the use of monochromatism, in multiple points of observation. 

Futurism in architecture translates into the “movement” and mutation of an architectural space in time, where the technology of machines, the horizontal and oblique lines that express speed and movement play a great role.


Constructivism is the architectural expression of abstractum, is characterised by rejecting the excess of bourgeois decorative charge and ornamentation, and by adopting an abstract geometrization in rejection of the figurative past. The result was an architecture based on simplicity, in pure lines and geometric forms with diaphanous, shared spaces, making equal use of light and poor materials reflecting communist ideology.

Neoplasticism is the art of architecture that translates into an orthogonal composition that can be extended to infinity, using planes, straight lines and pure colours in search of a balance between essence and matter as well as purity.


One of the predominant aspects of the 1950s and 1960s is the need to measure oneself against the change brought about by the masters of the Modern Movement: faced with their great contribution, the dichotomy is either continuity or revision.

Among the continuity who understand architecture as a sculptural object, there are others who challenge the functionalism of the architecture of the Modern Movement because it is dehumanised and they consider that the function must be adapted to the needs of the human being within its cultural tradition and its place.


These are times of revolutions, utopias and proposals, with much theoretical and practical experimentation where the personal individuality of the architect, the environmental sensitivities related to sustainability beings to have more expressions.


Text and images: https://prezi.com/view/QPZX7g3Aiu20zhJFNkUn/