Architectural Influence Essay Research Paper The Elizabethan

Architectural Influence Essay, Research Paper

The Elizabethan Age was an innovative and unique period in history. In this

period architecture was more than a profession, it was an art, and an influence on the

people. Architects in this period made historical differences, the styles of architecture

transitioned greatness, and the homes created an individual standing. Elizabethan

architecture was an influential “trend” in which the “competition” for social division

began, and architects attempted to replicate Italian Renaissance architecture.

Architects of the Elizabethan Era were somewhat of a new thing. Sculptors

introduced Renaissance forms early in the fifteenth century. Three Florentines, who

were originally trained as goldsmiths, made crucial innovations to the Renaissance art

(Beck 3). The eldest of the three Florentines eventually became an architect. Filippo

Brunelleschi, the eldest, developed linear perspective, which is an important prospect of

architecture today. Filippo designed the spacious octagonal dome of Florence

Cathedral. This building was considered one of the most impressive engineering and

artistic feats since Roman times (Beck 3). Because of this attainment, Filippo was

considered the first true Renaissance builder.

Even though Filippo was one of the greatest architects of his time, his style was

similar to that of the traditional churches. Elizabethan architecture didn’t come from the

churches, in fact most of the main ideas came from the architects themselves (Locher,

Pruitt, and Silver 2). Inigo Jones was perhaps the biggest reason architecture is what it

is today. Jones was responsible for bringing Renaissance architecture to England.

Inigo’s first piece of architecture was a royal one. He was asked to design Queen

Anne’s house in Greenwich. The Queen’s house was built with a similar design to that

of the Banqueting House of Whitehall in London which was later to be built by Jones.

“[the banqueting house] represented the assimilation of the Renaissance in England”

(Locher, Pruitt, Sliver 2). “Because of Jones’s unique and innovative styles, architects

everywhere used his ideas for centuries afterward;” They combined his work with their

own to better their work (2).

Another great architect of this time was Robert Smythson, the designer of

Hardwick Hall. Robert “was one of the largest advocates of the use of symmetry and

ornateness (2). He wanted buildings to be beautiful even though he would say that they

are practical. Smythson’s buildings had high basements for an attempt of lighting in the

kitchen or storage areas. His most ingenious tactic was the use of stairways. The

stairways made all parts of the mansions easily accessible. “Architecture that was

practical was a new idea in the 1500’s” (2).

The architects responsible for the Flamboyant style being built in France were

mainly Amboise (1483-1501) and Blois (1498-1515). “The crowning features of their

exteriors are magnified versions of dormer windows” (Hinkle 7).

The last flowering of Flamboyant architecture occurred between the end of

the fifteenth century and the 1530’s in the work of Martin Chambiges (died

1532) and his son Pierre (died 1544), who were responsible for a series of

grand cathedrals facades, including the west front of Troyes Cathedral and

the transept facades of Senlis and Beavvais Cathedral. (7).

Architects made things possible, but with possibility comes reason. What makes

things possible? The reason for Renaissance architecture is simply the need to have

historical and modern expressions. “The two principal components of Renaissance style

are the following: A revival of the classical forms originally developed by the ancient

Greeks and Romans, and a renewed vitality and spirit emphasizing the diverse qualities

of humanity” (Beck 1). “Architecture was the dominant expression of the Gothic Age”

(Hinkle 1). Gothic architecture consisted of secular buildings, stained glass, and other

decorative arts through the centuries. In France Gothic architecture is known as

Flamboyant because of it’s flame like forms of tracery. The Flamboyant style originated

in the 1380’s, and ended between the end of the 15th century and the 1530’s. The

English builders devised their own late Gothic architecture, the perpendicular style. This

style spurned the Flamboyant style altogether. The masterpiece of this style was that of

a king’s, in which the fan-shaped spreading panels are in complete accord with the

rectangular walls and windows (Hinkle 7). By the 17th century the growth of the late

Gothic forms were replaced by the Renaissance.

Religion was a pretty big part of what style evolved. Baroque evolved in Rome in

1620 as an expression of the Catholic revival. Also during this time Baroque spread to

other parts of Italy and even across the Alps. The word “Baroque” originally meant

irregular or misshapen (Norwich 172). Baroque was “applied by art historians inn the

19th century to describe a type of architecture current in Europe during the 17th and

18th centuries which they condemned as being contrary to classical principals” (172).

Baroque was a very strong influence of architecture, but in some places it never took

root because religions were so strong. These religions were mostly Christian.

Italian Renaissance spread across the Alps in the last years of the 1500’s.

Plateresque was bought into England under the rule of Henry VIII. In the middle of the

sixteenth century a new style emerged, it was much more classical than any other style

before it (Norwich 157). The second half of the sixteenth century was dominated by

Italian Mannerism. In the seventeenth century this manner was gradually replaced by

new styles. This shows that there are other influences of architecture, such as the

peoples’ desires to keep up on the modern style.

Elizabethan style art was a transitional period between the Gothic and

Renaissance styles (”Elizabethan” 1). This type of architecture was the new style and

like most new styles it made an impact. Elizabethan architecture ranged from the late

1500’s throughout the 1600’s. It also reached it’s pinnacle in the late 1500’s. The

Renaissance started in Italy in the 1400’s but didn’t affect England until a later period.

“The first significant architectural factor from this period was that the traditional building

of churches stopped and the building of houses began” (Locher, Pruitt, and Silver 1).

Within the short Elizabethan period, a “competition” emerged to divide the social

classes. Houses in the Elizabethan period served as social and personal status

symbols. “There were several types of homes in this period: royal works, great homes,

smaller country homes, and farmhouses” (Kamhi 1). Externally, Elizabethan houses had

many different features. “The mixture of unusually tall buildings and towers made for an

effective skyline” (Locher, Pruitt, and Silver 1). Also “as the royalty of the Elizabethan

period grew so did their homes, not only in size and magnitude, but also in greatness

and volume” (Kamhi 1).

The royal works belonged to the kings and queens, this meant that these houses

were usually extraordinary. The houses spread over miles of land, farther than the

human eye could see. They were stone foundations with several levels and a countless

number of bedrooms. They contained halls, chapels, parlors, large bay windows, and

miles of stone gardens and vegetation. These houses were not common and were

nothing short of astonishing.

The upper-class, comprised of doctors and business men owned the great

homes. These homes weren’t as extraordinary or uncanny, but were large and quite

nice. The great homes had many of the same features as the royal works, just on a

much lesser scale (Kamhi 1). These homes were by no means small or shabby; they

were large and sometimes considered to be just as beautiful as the royal works.

The smaller country homes were owned by merchants and tradesmen. These

homes are more conceivable than the royal works and the great homes. The smaller

country homes were nice, cozy, and very inexpensive because the owners, craftsmen

and tradesmen, already had most of the materials needed to build the houses (Kamhi 2).

These homes were usually two stories, with a kitchen, family room, and three or four

bedrooms. The use of glass also made the smaller country homes a notable feature.

The idea conceived from the Pre-Renaissance churches allowed light to flood into the

houses through the grid-shape windows (Locher, Pruitt, and Silver 1).

Lastly the farmers and their families occupied the farmhouses. These houses

were similar to the small country homes with a few structural differences. These houses

weren’t used for social symbols, but rather just for a nice place to live. However “the

countryside began to reform itself from small farmhouses to great houses which features

gothic styles and Renaissance detail” (Locher, Pruitt, and Silver 1). These houses were

built by successful merchants and powerful statesmen to express their wealth.

There were many different floor plans to go along with this period of architecture.

An odd floor plan was used in the Triangular Lodge in Northernhamptonshire. “This

building has the common theme of the number three. For instance, it has three walls,

three floors, and three entrances. The use of the number three was to symbolize trinity”

(1). “This plan goes along with some of the other [main elements] of this period, such as

sunlight and the circulation of free air” (1). Sometimes one side of the building is left off

to promote the extra sunlight and free circulation of air.

The different styles of architecture suit the different tastes of the Elizabethan

people. Homes were made beautiful through the use of classical symmetry and

Ornateness. Classical symmetry was the Elizabethan visual expression of order and

harmony. Ornateness, invented by the English, was another idea of Renaissance

architecture. “If [someone] were to walk into a Renaissance house and glance up at the

ceiling, [he/she] would see an example of this ornateness” (Locher, Pruitt, and Silver 1).

Instead of decorating the walls with art, the walls were made their own art form, as well

as the fireplaces.

The Elizabethan era may have been short, but made its impression in history just

the same. Architects designed amazing buildings, styles of architecture influenced the

people, and the homes socially divided the people. Elizabethan Architecture was an

influential “trend” in which the “competition” for social division began, and architects

attempted to replicate Italian Renaissance architecture.

Beck, James. “Renaissance Art and Architecture.” Http://

low/articles/r/r022000525f.html .

“Elizabethan Style.” Http://


Hinkle, William. “Gothic Art and Architecture.” Http://

articles/g/g010000464.html .

Kamhi, Valerie. “Elizabethan Architecture.” Http://www.springfield/eliz/architecture.html


Locher, Barbara. Pruit, David. Silver, Justin. “A History of Elizabethan Architecture.”

Http:// (6 Jan.


Norwich, John. Julius, ed. Great Architecture of the World. London: Mitchell Beazly,



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