Architecture began as rural, oral vernacular architecture that developed from trial and error to successful replication. Ancient urban architecture was preoccupied with building religious structures and buildings symbolizing the political power of rulers until Greek and Roman architecture shifted focus to civic virtues. Indian and Chinese architecture influenced forms all over Asia and Buddhist architecture in particular took diverse local flavors. During the European Middle Ages, pan-European styles of Romanesque and Gothic cathedrals and abbeys emerged while the Renaissance favored Classical forms implemented by architects known by name. Later, the roles of architects and engineers became separated. Modern architecture began after World War I as an avant-garde movement that sought to develop a completely new style appropriate for a new post-war social and economic order focused on meeting the needs of the middle and working classes. Emphasis was put on modern techniques, materials, and simplified geometric forms, paving the way for high-rise superstructures. Many architects became disillusioned with modernism which they perceived as ahistorical and anti-aesthetic, and postmodern and contemporary architecture developed.
Over the years, the field of architectural construction has branched out to include everything from ship design to interior decorating. (Full article...)
A reconstruction of York Castle in the 14th century, showing the castle's stone keep (top) overlooking the castle bailey (below)
A keep (from the Middle English kype) is a type of fortified tower built within castles during the Middle Ages by European nobility. Scholars have debated the scope of the word keep, but usually consider it to refer to large towers in castles that were fortified residences, used as a refuge of last resort should the rest of the castle fall to an adversary. The first keeps were made of timber and formed a key part of the motte-and-bailey castles that emerged in Normandy and Anjou during the 10th century; the design spread to England, south Italy and Sicily. As a result of the Norman invasion of 1066, use spread into Wales during the second half of the 11th century and into Ireland in the 1170s. The Anglo-Normans and French rulers began to build stone keeps during the 10th and 11th centuries; these included Norman keeps, with a square or rectangular design, and circular shell keeps. Stone keeps carried considerable political as well as military importance and could take up to a decade or more to build.
During the 12th century, new designs began to be introduced – in France, quatrefoil-shaped keeps were introduced, while in England polygonal towers were built. By the end of the century, French and English keep designs began to diverge: Philip II of France built a sequence of circular keeps as part of his bid to stamp his royal authority on his new territories, while in England castles were built without keeps. In Spain, keeps were increasingly incorporated into both Christian and Islamic castles, although in Germany tall fighting towers called bergfriede were preferred to keeps in the western fashion. In the second half of the 14th century, there was a resurgence in the building of keeps. In France, the keep at Vincennes began a fashion for tall, heavily machicolated designs, a trend adopted in Spain most prominently through the Valladolid school of Spanish castle design. Meanwhile, tower keeps in England became popular amongst the most wealthy nobles: these large keeps, each uniquely designed, formed part of the grandest castles built during the period. (Full article...)