|Originally posted by nefardec |
They went through many phases.
Originally churches were based on a basilican plan, after those spaces designed by the romans. Basically a big, long space with two side isles and columns on either side. The center was reserved for the clergy, and the people stood in the side isles.
Also inherited from the Romans was a round plan, where there was an inner circle and an outer ring. the clergy was only allowed in the inner circle, and it was again separated from the outer ring by columns.
Then it became standard for churches to be laid out in cross plan. The long part is known as the nave, and the crossing part is the transept. The nave is usually longer, though there are some good examples of square/radially symmetrical churches like Hagia Sophia - this became popular in the renaissance when people like davinci and other architects like bramante were studying geometric, humanist forms, instead of merely perpetuating the religious dogma. You generally enter from the west and walk to the east in a cruciform church. And in many cathedrals the side isles contain separate chapels to various saints.
The cruciform plan has many different variations, mainly variants on proportion and the amount of side isles and the kind of ambulatory behind the altar - St Peter's basilica is probably one of my favorite plans.
And there are other random variants - for instance Basilica San Nicola in Bari, Italy has a great split level thing, where right when you get to the altar, the middle stairs go up, and the side stairs go straight into the crypt.
The thing with church architecture at this time was that the plan wasn't seen as a measure of creativity - the plan was functional, in a spiritual sense. It was standard in the way that automobiles have four wheels, a hood, and a trunk (sorry brits). The aesthetic agenda of these churches was to actually physically transport a person from the secular world to the divine world, through a series of incremental portals and spaces. Not only physically, but visually, which is why you'll see a lot of forced perspective at the end of churches behind the altars. This was considered high-tech. Perspective was considered a technological way to reach spiritual realms, particularly in paintings and relief sculptures behind the altar.
Catholic churches now are pretty much anything goes, as long as there is an altar, a tabernacle, and the stations of the cross. Typically a baptimsal font is included too.
I really like historical mosque architecture, mostly because of the way they function as public spaces. The open plans are much more about community and less about dogma and ritual.
Awesome, thanks for that. Your knowledge makes me sort of wish I stuck with art, heh.
|Originally posted by MrJiveBoJingles |
Perhaps I was not whipped enough as a child.