Architectural History Game


Below are pictures of nine buildings placed in chronological order -- from oldest to most recent.

Look at each picture, read the information beside it, and write a response to the question or statement that follows.



see thumbnail to rightEngland, Salisbury Plain, Stonehenge, 2750-1500 B.C., a Neolithic (New Stone Age) monumental stone temple / observatory.


see thumbnail to leftRoman Colosseum, or Flavian Amphitheater, A.D. 70 to 82, a vast ellipse with tiers of seating for 50,000 spectators around a central elliptical arena. The Colosseum had approximately eighty entrances so crowds could arrive and leave easily and quickly. The plan is a vast ellipse, measuring externally 188 m x 156 m (615 ft x 510 ft), with the base of the building covering about 6 acres. Vaults span between eighty radial walls to support tiers of seating and for passageways and stairs. The façade of three tiers of arches and an attic storey is about 48.5 m (158 feet) tall. Below the wooden arena floor, there were numerous rooms and passageways for wild beasts and other provisions for staging the spectacles. Eighty walls radiate from the arena and support vaults for passageways, stairways and the tiers of seats. At the outer edge circumferential arcades link each level and the stairways between levels. The three tiers of arcades are faced by three-quarter columns and entablatures, Doric in the first story, Ionic in the second, and Corinthian in the third. Above them is an attic story with Corinthian pilasters and small square window openings in alternate bays. At the top, brackets and sockets carried the masts from which the velarium, a canopy for shade, was suspended. The construction utilized a careful combination of types: concrete for the foundations, travertine for the piers and arcades, tufa infill between piers for the walls of the lower two levels, and brick-faced concrete used for the upper levels and for most of the vaults.
Two other Roman buildings are:

  • The Pantheon, Rome, 118-126. It consists of a great circular hall (roofed by a hemispherical vault), which is entered by passing through the pronaos (porch). All sixteen columns of the pronaos are monoliths (single large stones) of Egyptian granite. The interior has a diameter of 42.75 m., equal to the greatest height of the building.
  • Roman, Rome, Arch of Severus, 205, bearing masonry. A classic example of a triumphal arch.


see thumbnail to leftMaurice de Sully (French), Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, 1163 - 1250, bearing masonry, cut stone. Notre Dame Cathedral was seminal in the evolution of the French Gothic style. It is 110 feet high -- the first cathedral built on a truly monumental scale. With its compact, cruciform plan, its sexpartite vaulting, flying buttresses and vastly enlarged windows, it became a prototype for future French cathedrals.



see thumbnail to rightShah Jahan (Indian, Mughal emperor who reigned 1627-1658), Taj Mahal, 1630-1653, an Islamic tomb in a walled garden built for Shah Jahan's wife Mumatz Mahal, of bearing masonry and inlaid marble, with onion-shape domes and flanking towers, in Agra, India, seat of the Mughal Empire. Sir Banister Fletcher wrote in A History of Architecture, "The interior of the building is dimly lit through pierced marble lattices and contains a virtuoso display of carved marble. Externally the building gains an ethereal quality from its marble facings, which respond with extraordinary subtlety to changing light and weather."


see thumbnail to leftGustave Eiffel (French, 1832-1923) , Eiffel Tower, 1887-1889, exposition observation tower, exposed iron construction, height 985 feet, a symbol of Paris worldwide. Built for Paris's 1889 International Exhibition, the centenary celebration of the French Revolution, Eiffel's structure became a symbol of the Industrial Age.


see thumbnail to rightGerrit T. Rietveld (Dutch, 1884-1964), Schroder House, 1924-25, steel beams and columns, wood and concrete, Utrecht, The Netherlands. Rietveld's style became known as Der Stijl and the International Style.


see thumbnail to leftFrank Lloyd Wright (American, 1867-1959), Fallingwater House, 1937-39, [83 k,] Bear Run, PA. This house is the paradigm of organic architecture, where a building becomes an integral part of its natural setting. Readers of the Journal of the American Institute of Architects voted it the best building of the last 125 years. Paul Goldberger, architecture critic for the New York Times, called it "one of the most sublime works of art of our time."

Frank Lloyd Wright designed numerous other buildings, including:

  • Robie House, Chicago, 1909, [66 k,] Chicago, IL, with long overhangs on low-pitched roofs and horizontally raked brick joints.
  • Francis W. Little House, 1912-1914, Wayzata, Minnesota. Originally Francis W. Little's country house, here it's living room is seen as it has been installed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.
  • Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, an art museum art constructed of concrete as a spiral ramping gallery which expands as it coils around an unobstructed well of space, topped by a flat-ribbed glass dome. This building evoked for Wright "the quiet unbroken wave."


see thumbnail to rightCharles Edouard Jeanneret, known as "Le Corbusier" (French, 1887-1965), Notre Dame du Haut, or the church called Ronchamp, 1955, reinforced concrete, soft-form composition, deep windows with colored glass, wall thickness 4-12 feet, Ronchamp, France. Sited atop a hillside, it has rough masonry walls faced with whitewashed Gunite (sprayed concrete) and a roof of contrasting beton brut. Surrealism is a key to many of Le Corbusier's late works, and notably the church at Ronchamp. Its form has been considered analogous to a nun's habit, or a ship, or a dove. Among Le Corbusier's earlier designs, an outstanding example is the house called Villa Savoye, built in 1928-29 of concrete and plastered unit masonry, Poissy, France.


see thumbnail to rightFrank O. Gehry (American, 1929-), Guggenheim Bilbao Museum [day and night views], 1997, Bilboa, Spain. Much of its surface consists of sheets of titanium, a warm, light-grey metal. One critic said:
"The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is a collection of interconnected blocks housing galleries, an auditorium, a restaurant, a museum store and administrative offices. These buildings have as their central focus a single architectural composition. With its towering roof, which is reminiscent of a metallic flower, the museum will enliven the riverfront and serve as a spectacular gateway to the city."




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