The word paradigm refers to the model that is constructed in our conscious and subconscious minds in which the people in our society uses it to understand and explain the world. Each individual's paradigm incorporates all the underlying assumptions about nature and reality, and perhaps, it is the lens through which people see their worldviews. Over time this paradigm has been making the unexpected leap from one period to another resulting in a paradigm shift. Paradigm shift refers to the notion of change in beliefs and cultures as well as in architectural design. For a paradigm shift to be successful there must be pressure for change, actions and a clear vision on change. The radical change replaces the previous way of design, organizing things and living. Therefore, this paper seeks to discuss the western paradigm and how it has enlightened urban design from prehistoric to present times.
During ancient times, the ruling paradigm was basically in love for the world. In present times, most researchers and architects state that the paradigm is on the fear of the world. Perhaps in contemporary society, we live in a fear-based paradigm. According to Watkin and David (p.120), the new paradigm is forcing people to master and change themselves to survive. Humans were designing and constructing even before the ancient structures of Greece and Rome. The classical era is among the periods that developed due to ideas and construction techniques that were evolving century by century. Architecture is widely known to be a fluid art that often changes.
In prehistoric times, human beings used earthen mounds, stone circles, and boulders to construct structures that are like a puzzle to the modern-day archaeologists. Some of the pre-historic architectures include Stonehenge, cliff dwellings, thatch and mud structures which are stated to be the dawn of architecture. Prehistoric created the earliest human-made formations by moving earth and stone into some of the geometric forms. Moon, sun, and stars were the first shapes that humans felt they are significant in their lives. Therefore, they used those shapes in their creations of earth mounds and monolithic art. Besides, ancient Egypt constructed pyramids, temples, and shrines with granite and limestone which with hieroglyphics. They did not have a mortar; hence the stones were carefully cut to fit the construction structures because the wood was not available in the Egyptian landscape.
During this period there is also the classical architecture in a building which is the design of buildings in ancient Greece and Rome. Perhaps, classical architecture assisted in shaping the approach of building in most western colonies. Nonetheless, magnificent buildings were built from the rise of ancient Greece to the fall of the Roman Empire. One of the Roman architects believes that constructors and builders should use mathematical principles when they are constructing temples. Ionic and Corinthian are known to be the earliest classical architecture. Over time, Romanesque architecture emerged as Rome spread across the Europe region. In accord to this, medieval churches constructions were in thick walls and massive piers.
Furthermore, between this period, Gothic architecture was adopted which is characterized by taller and elegant architecture. There are various innovations in this architecture building such as pointed arches and ribbed vaulting. Besides, stained glasses could take the places of a wall that no longer supported high ceilings. Consequently, Chartres Cathedral is among the famous and sacred buildings in this period where the pointed arches and stonework were influencing builders of Moorish architecture. While builders were creating Gothic cathedrals in Europe, Trachtenberg, Marvin and Isabelle Hyman (p.68) states that painters and sculptors on the other hand were laying down the foundation of Renaissance and floating from medieval styles.
In renaissance era builders were inspired by the buildings of ancient Greece and Rome. They carefully designed buildings with highly symmetrical villas such as Villa Rotonda in Italy. There is also the use of movable technology type at this period is used to develop new architectural skills in building. Due to Renaissance architecture, the western world architects have received beautifully proportioned architecture. France is one of the best examples of transitional architecture for they used stone and bricks to construct various buildings such as St.Sernin pilgrimage.
After the Renaissance era, there is the neoclassical; this is a result of classical architecture. In early 1600 the new architectural style of Baroque was embraced during buildings and constructions. There is a paradigm shift in building from Renaissance to Baroque building style. Some of its characteristics include opulent paintings, complex shapes as well as extravagant ornaments. The Russian people adopted a Baroque style of the building after being impressed by the Palace of Versailles. Consequently, Baroque had influenced Europe building styles because during this period is when elements of Baroque were dominant in Europe.
However, builders started constructing beautiful and graceful buildings that were white with sweeping curves, the prominent one being Rococo art and architecture. It was characterized by beautiful during the last phase of the Baroque period; builders constructed elegant white buildings with sweeping curves. Rococo art and architecture hold the characteristics of decorative designs accompanied by vines, shell shapes, and elusive geometric shapes. According to Wittkower and Rudolf (p.89), Rococo architects applied Baroque styles in the building; it is more of an extension of Baroque.
By 1700 most architects were turning away from the Baroque and Rococo styles and embracing neoclassical approaches. Perhaps, the symmetrical architecture in this period awakens the middle and upper classes Europe. In most cases, it is also called enlightenment. Middle-class architects at this era rejected the opulence of the ruling class as the baroque and Rococo styles fell out. French and American campaigned for the return of classical deal s designs. The paradigm shift influenced the construction of grand government buildings as well as other private homes.
During this period there is the paradigm shift to Art Nouveau which entails fabrics and graphic designs. However, this style of art spread to architecture and building in 1800 and became a revolt of Industrialization. People begin paying attention to natural forms of arts as well as arts and crafts movement. The structures of Nouveau art are often asymmetrical in shape and have Japanese like surfaces which are well decorated and curved with plant-like patterns. Art Nouveau has influenced various Spanish architects such as Antoni Gaudi, and they are among the first modern architects.
Additionally, there is also the shift to Beaux architecture which is characterized by order, formal design, and elaborate ornamentation. Among all Renaissance ideas, Beaux-arts is favored style in building both public as well as lavish mansions.
Moreover, there is the influence of medieval gothic ideas on modern buildings. These ideas are applied in the contemporary buildings both in homes and private buildings resulting in a new type of architecture known as skyscrapers. Perhaps, Gothic architecture is known to be a Victorian style of construction which has informed the urban buildings to Neo-Gothic towers. Strong vertical lines with great height characterize their structures, perhaps ached windows with decorative tracery. A famous example of the Neo-Gothic architectures is the building of the 1924 Chicago Tribune Tower. The building is studded with rocks which are a borrowed idea from the ancient times where rocks were used for constructions. According to Tavernor, Robert and Schofield (p.45) states that there is also the paradigm shift to Art Deco architecture during this period. This architecture is inspired by great ancient Egypt; hence they embraced ideas from both the ancient and the machine age. Most of the art deco buildings have cubic forms, pyramid shapes that are terraced and the illusion of pillars. By 1930, art deco has evolved to Art Moderne. The emphasis here was on curving forms as well as horizontal lines. The difference in these buildings is that it did not have colorful designs found in the earlier art deco architecture. For instance, the Empire State Building and Radio City Music Hall in New York is some of the famous buildings that are influenced by art deco architecture.
The 20th and 21st have experienced changes from ancient times to the present times. Culture, education, and house building have been changing from time to time. New things are embraced, and the old are no longer useful. In the modern era technology play a critical role in architecture. Most architects use technology to design public buildings and homes. Furthermore, modernist styles are evolving; every day is a new day with its styles and art. Bauhaus school and Art Moderne are some of the architecture examples of the modern-day de-constructivism, formalism, and structuralism. Besides, modernity presents a new way of thinking and the architecture in modernity is emphasizing in function. It is more focused on providing a specific need rather than imitating nature. Modern architects believed in applying scientific methods to building and design. Perhaps, most of their building is portrayed as buildings that defy gravity.
Also, modernist architectures can construct building styles such as expressionism and structuralism. The buildings expressed their rationality and personality. However, the 20th-century designer's revolt against the rational modernism in building hence postmodernism evolved. Nonetheless, modern architecture in most cases has little ornamentation because the design emphasizes function; therefore, human-made materials are commonly used; glasses, metals, and concrete. Most modern architecture does not like traditional styles of building, hence a reaction against modernist approaches led to the rise of new buildings. These new buildings had ideas that resemble the classical and ancient time's architecture.
Additionally, postmodern building designs evolve from modernist architecture. Even though they contradict, combining it with traditional forms of architecture brings out the best buildings. The buildings may surprise and be used in unexpected ways. For instance, these buildings can incorporate a statement or symbols to amaze the viewer. Besides, most designs and house buildings in history have been influenced by the shifting of paradigm in architecture. Since computers cost is coming down, many constructors and builders will be able to change their methods of building hence coming out with fantastic designs. Some of the people refer to today's architecture as Neo-modernism form of architecture. The current forms of house buildings and designs have borrowed heavily from prehistoric times.
Perhaps the shifting paradigm in the 20th century is based on replacing the traditional ways of building and embracing the modern way of designing buildings in both public and private homes. The new paradigm has replaced the cultural centuries. Moreover, a paradigm shift in place and space has influenced the urban builders and designers. When planning, the urban builders need to create places that are meaningful and fit to the designed building. In space, architects give meaning depending on the architecture used. Consequently, Architects can interpret the meaning of certain places using terms that non-professional architects do not understand; therefore their ability to instill meaning in places is hindered. In mos...
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