ART-CHITECTURE I: the artistry of buildings

Architecture (Latin architectura, from the Greek ἀρχιτέκτων – arkhitekton, from ἀρχι- “chief” and τέκτων “builder, carpenter, mason”) is both the process and product of planning, designing and construction. Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural and political symbols and as works of art. Historical civilizations are often identified with their surviving architectural achievements.

That’s the technical side. The definition of “architecture”, what it is all about. And that is important, that is the basis, but it is also just visually entertaining. That’s the fun side of architecture! I don’t mean just a simple, run of the mill house or generic building like a small-town post office (not that I’m knocking small-town post offices!), I mean architecture that spans beyond its scientifically-, mathematically-based framework. Architecture that transcends and becomes ART! Not only just in technicalities (maybe a more studied, rigid art), but in aesthetics and visual greatness!

Below, I have compiled a few images for a pleasant, optical journey. Enjoy!

Sainte-Chapelle church in Paris. Built from 1241-1248.

(LEFT): Magnificent Gothic period church. For minds and hands to create such marvelous beauty! THAT’S vision! The name Sainte-Chapelle is Holy Chapel in French. It’s the last remaining building of the Capetian palace. The Capetians are the oldest and broadest European royal house, which began in 987 with Hugh Capet of France.

“It was commissioned by King Louis IX of France to house his collection of Passion Relics, including the Crown of Thorns – one of the most important relics in medieval Christendom.” –

FNB or Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa.  1986-1989.
Soccer City Stadium. Close-up.

(LEFT): This looks like a behemothic, immense funky-pixel (the squares) donut. Whatever that means… But it is quite an awesome thing! Instead of a donut, however, it is also known as The Calabash because it looks like an African gourd or pot.

“Designed as the main association football stadium for the World Cup, the FNB Stadium became the largest stadium in Africa with a capacity of 94,700, However its maximum capacity during the 2010 FIFA World Cup was 84,490 due to reserved seating for the press and other VIP’s. It was the site of Nelson Mandela’s first speech in Johannesburg after his release from prison. It was also the venue for the 2010 FIFA World Cup Final, which was played by the Netherlands and Spain.” –

30 St Mary Axe or Gherkin Building
30 St Mary Axe, the Swiss Re Building also called the “Gherkin”, in London. 2001-2003.
REAL gherkins. The more edible cousin of the building up there…

(ABOVE): This appears to be a fantasy, alien capsule rising from within the ground…but it’s not! Gotcha! Just kidding. I was surprised to find this (as I was wtih most of the structures in this post) because of it’s unusual look and the technical and artistic mastery the architect(s) and construction workers possessed to do this! The structure is 40 stories high and is in the financial district of London. It’s 591 ft tall! It is also called the Bullet, Cucumber and Gherkin (after the veggie that is similar to a cucumber).

It “stands on the former site of the Baltic Exchange building, which was severely damaged on 10 April 1992 by the explosion of a bomb placed by the Provisional IRA.” –

Frank S. Sander House by Frank Lloyd Wright. Stamford, CT. 1952.

(LEFT): I had to use this as an opportunity to throw Connecticut (my dear homestate) up in here. And Frank Lloyd Wright, the revered architecture master, is not a shabby resource at all! This house is also called Springbough. It protrudes out from a rocky bluff or cliff. He made wonderful, innovative use of the natural surroundings, marrying them with structures also resourced from the earth. Too cool.

Kiyomizu-dera Buddhist temple in Kyoto, Japan. Founded in 798, with its present buildings constructed in 1633.

(BELOW): What a confection of the Orient! There are so many things aesthetically pleasing about Asia and this is one of them. Just sublime, isn’t it? This gate is just one of the structures in the Buddhist complex. The rich red is lovely coupled with the peaceful green nature surrounding the prominent, but calm structure. It’s official title is Otowa-san Kiyomizu-dera and the name comes from the waterfall inside the complex; the waterfall flows off of a hill in the area. Kiyomizu translates as clear water or pure water. And a cool fact-there is not one single nail in the ENTIRE structure…whoa.

These are obviously only a very few of the magnificent structures in the world. Troll the net for more beauties! My next “Art-chitecture” article  focuses on bridges…the really cool ones! You can read about them HERE.

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