European architecture tells the interesting tale of cultures, migrations, war, empires, governments, religions, and people. It continues past cathedrals, fortifications, classical pillars, flying buttresses, plazas, and museums. Also, European architecture settles halfway between the Parthenon and the Eiffel Tower and lengthens its arm to the Guggenheim. Cities as a whole serve as live examples of ideologies, values, trends, and technological breakthroughs. This is in urban design, architecture, and technology in Europe. European architecture has a long history and has been influenced by a wide range of cultures and traditions. All of which have helped to form the distinctive identity of European architecture. We have listed the numerous civilizations, historical periods, uprisings, and events that have influenced European architecture.
From the magnificent spires of Notre Dame to the rich history of the Pisa Leaning Tower; there is much to discover about European architecture. If you need help knowing Ancient Greek: European architecture to Modern movement. Then, have a look at this helpful guide to some of the most recognizable European architecture.
List of different cultural influences on European architecture:
- Ancient Greek: European architecture
- Ancient Roman: European architecture
- Early Christian: European architecture
- Byzantine culture: European architecture
- Romanesque Period: European architecture
- Gothic European architecture
- Renaissance Period: European architecture
- Industrial Revolution: European architecture
- Modern Movement: European architecture
Now, let us discuss each culture below:
The Ancient Greek Civilization flourished greatly between 500 BC and 300 BC. Its effects can still be felt today. They had rational ways of thinking and behaving, and they greatly advanced mathematics and science. Greek architecture was primarily concerned with temples and public areas. It provided a tactile representation of geometry, perspective, and proportion. The classical antique architectural orders of the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian established the foundation for later architectural types. The Greeks also built amphitheaters with incredible sounds and stadiums for the modern “Olympics.” Greek architecture reflects the high regard that Greek civilization had for art, theatre, and sports.
For over 1200 years, the Ancient Roman Empire dominated most of Europe and Great Britain. Because it was based on Grecian culture, it had a significant impact on almost every facet of western society. Roman architecture provides evidence of the social life, technological development, and military expansion of the time. Roman canals carried water, facilitating the growth of towns and enhancing societal well-being. They built road systems to connect the huge kingdom.
Forums and bathrooms with predetermined temperatures have been added to the communal gathering areas. The Romans invented cement as a building material and a unique arch and dome-based construction technique. It makes sense that their buildings and bridges are still in good shape today.
Christianity initially spread during the Roman Empire, when Jesus Christ was born. By the third century, Christianity had taken over most of the Roman provinces. They created a demand for additional temple construction. Roman basilicas featured lengthy rectangular halls with timber roofs. It served as the majority of the early Christian churches and gathering places. In 380 AD, when Constantine made Christianity the state religion, a brand-new vocabulary of church, cemetery, and baptistery architecture arose. The various personalities and styles of churches reflected the regional customs and resources.
The beliefs of Christianity and the dogmas of antiquity form the basis of byzantine civilization. The Byzantine Culture, which reached its zenith in 550 AD, was predicated on the Orthodoxy of Christianity. The culture, which was mostly focused on religion, placed a high value on purity, marriage, and family. Churches were centered on Greek Cross designs and given the utmost respect. The elevated, rich interiors of Byzantine churches are famous for their mosaic decorations and high ceiling. The use of pendentive arches to support the dome. Byzantine civilization in particular influenced Eastern Europe and Russia.
After the Dark Ages, in the 11th century, the arts and architecture saw a renaissance. Romanesque was the first recognizable architectural style to emerge after the fall of the Roman Empire. It encompasses all Western European versions of Roman architecture. Large castles and churches built of enormous stone masonry, with sturdy pillars and concrete walls, and few windows, were typical of this era. As Christianity flourished, more churches were built in Rome to accommodate the growing number of priests, monks, and tourists. Stone was used in building to extinguish fires.
Gothic, which was largely an architectural style, was at its peak between the 12th and the 16th century. It originated in France and evolved from the Romanesque style. It served as a representation of riches and peace in general that promoted the progress of civilization. The gothic cathedrals and churches were exquisite mathematical expressions that were aimed at paradise. Large stained-glass windows filled them. The pointed arches that are characteristic of Gothic architecture were undoubtedly influenced by Islamic structures in Spain. Curved vaults and sky bridges were engineering marvels after building construction.
The Renaissance translates as “rebirth.” It was a time after the Middle Ages when classical philosophy, art, literature, and architecture experienced a comeback. Global trade, the economy, and political stability advancements allowed for the “rebirth” of art and culture. When humanism, which put individuals at the center of the cosmos, gained popularity, Christian beliefs were called into doubt. It has been established that science, art, and architecture are related.
The Industrial Revolution of the 18th century changed how people worked and lived. In response to the shift in the manufacturing of goods from small companies and residences to enormous factories; people relocated to urban areas in quest of better work opportunities. The development of building materials, transportation, and technology all helped transform the cultural paradigm. Cast iron, steel, and glass buildings with wide spans became the standard. The density of cities also led to the construction of mass housing for industry workers and infrastructure. It is to support newer modes of transportation. Faster construction was made possible by modern technology and materials for the growing metropolitan population.
The Modern Movement, which has a lasting impact on contemporary architectural practices, swept through Europe between the two World Wars. Modernity meant releasing oneself from the limitations of the past. And expressing a desire to create new art forms, philosophies, social systems, and architectural designs. It is to adapt to a newly developing world. Architects embraced minimalism’s tenets and believed that a building’s shape should be appropriate for its purpose. In the industrial age, new building methods and materials; It includes reinforced concrete, glass, and steel paved the way for a variety of architectural typologies. Modern architecture also supported the Rebelling and Post-Modern architectural movements.
View these Stunning Examples of European Architecture
Medieval Architecture (496-1492)
The Hagia Sophia
Byzantine architecture began to appear in Constantinople about 330 AD. And it served as a representation of the era’s style. The structures included basilicas, domes, sizable interior spaces with vaulted ceilings, marble floors, mosaics, gold, and other ornate decorations. Byzantine architecture was popular until Constantinople was destroyed in 1453. An outstanding example of this kind is the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, which is still standing today.
At the beginning of the Middle Ages, in the year 537 AD, it was built. Before it was an Ottoman imperial mosque, it was a Greek Orthodox Christian church; it is now a museum. The Hagia Sophia is renowned for its large dome and incredibly advanced engineering for its period. It is credited with “altering the history of architecture.” The inner walls of the Hagia Sophia are covered in stunning green and white marble as well as purple porphyry. These are volcanic rocks with crystals.
Cathedral of Saint Peter of Angouleme
Near the southwest coast and just north of Bordeaux, in the French city of Angoulême; stands the majestic Cathedral of Saint Peter. The church, which was completed in 1128, is an illustration of Romanesque architecture. This came following Byzantine construction in the Middle Ages and got its start in the middle of the 11th century. It is thought to have incorporated elements of Roman, Carolingian and Ottonian, Byzantine, and local Germanic traditions.
During the period when Romanesque architecture developed, larger buildings were needed to accommodate monks and priests. Romanesque buildings, like the Angoulême Cathedral, frequently featured massive walls. And piers, windows, and doors with semicircular arches, and side aisles hid beneath galleries. 70 sculptures that depict both everyday scenes and religious themes are adorning the façade of this cathedral.
Leuven Town Hall
The medieval City Hall in the Belgian town of Leuven is a small community outside of Brussels. It is a complexly constructed and ornately built building. The Brabantine Late Gothic architectural architecture was built between 1448 and 1469. And was most prevalent in the Low Countries during the late Middle Ages. It can be claimed that the period’s structures are distinctive. Because of the architects’ unequaled competence, even though the architecture is believed to be uneven in style. The octagonal turrets, studded roof, and pointed Gothic windows of the three-story Leuven City Hall are distinctive architectural features. It is embellished by 236 statues that were built after 1850.
Renaissance Architecture (14th- 17th century)
Royal Summer Palace
Location: Czech Republic
The “finest example of Italian Renaissance architecture outside of Italy” is the Royal Summer Palace in Prague. It is a sight to behold. Emperor Ferdinand, I asked to have the palace, which is positioned high on a rock known as Belvedere. This was constructed in 1538 for his wife. As opposed to the Gothic style before it, Renaissance architects paid more attention to symmetry and proportion. It is like those found in structures built by the ancient Romans and Greeks. The Royal Summer Palace of Prague in particular; retains aspects of ancient architecture with its colonnade of 36 columns and 114 reliefs.
Chateau de Chambord
Location: Chambord, Loir-et-cher, France
Because it usually appears as a key stopping point on tourist maps, you may be familiar with this famous château. The Château de Chambord in France is a stunning illustration of French Renaissance architecture. It was completed in 1547 and is one of the best examples of construction from this era. The French Renaissance saw the growth of fresh. Foreign ideas and architectural styles at a time when the French Kingdom was at war with northern Italy.
The largest château in the Loire Valley, Château de Chambord, was constructed by King Francis I as a hunting retreat. The interior chambers are structured into suites rather than Gothic-style hallways. And it features several gardens and a moat. Although it is not meant to be a defensive structure. Open windows, loggias, and huge outdoor spaces on higher levels were all inspired by Italian Renaissance architecture.
House of the Schumann Family
Between the High Renaissance and the Baroque eras, mannerisms evolved as a protest against the balanced. It is a proportionate architecture of the Renaissance. Artists and architects of that era were fond of “irrational settings, deceptive colors, perplexing subject matter, and elongated forms.” The usage of the mannerism style was praised by Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and Michelangelo, among others. As Mannerist architects experimented with elements that concentrated on solid and spatial relationships. The requirement for harmony was replaced with more unfettered imaginations. The House of the Schumann Family is a highly innovative and vibrant structure. It was built in the Mannerist style for a wealthy merchant family around 1560.
Baroque Architecture (early- 17th to mid-18th century)
The Baroque era emerged at the beginning of the 17th century to represent the dominance of the Catholic church. The style was characterized by architectural elements emphasizing grandeur, richness, drama, movement, and emotion. Churches encouraged worship while palaces like the Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso emphasized the state’s wealth. This palace, which is located in the province of Segovia, not far from Madrid, is unquestionably magnificent. It was built shortly after the Palace of Versailles in the early 18th century. It was decorated with gilding, stucco, and marble in addition to typical Baroque elements including spacious chambers, twisted columns, and facades with architectural sculptures.
Rococo Architecture (late- 17th to early 18th century)
The Esterháza Palace was built in the Rococo era, which followed the Baroque. It is frequently referred to as “Hungarian Versailles.” The Baroque period’s religious propaganda was in stark contrast to the Rococo period’s intellectualism, independence, and happiness propaganda. Asymmetrical, curving forms, opulent decoration, softer pastel colors, and depictions of love, nature, and carefree delight in paintings. And sculptures are all characteristics of rococo interior design. The Rococo style is evident in every one of the 126 rooms in this Hungarian mansion. For instance, the ceiling of the Sala Terrana is covered in curved. Vine-like patterns in gentle pinks and greens that include dancing angels wearing floral wreaths.
Romanticism (late- 17th century to mid-18th century)
The Rotunda of Mosta
Malta, a little island nation, did not remain cut off from the rest of the continent. Or its neighbor Italy’s artistic trends. A Roman Catholic parish church called the Rotunda of Mosta. It was built as a result of the artistic, literary, philosophical, and musical movement known as Romanticism. This was the style that succeeded Rococo. Architectural Romanticism is more of a blanket term encompassing 19th-century revivalist forms from Eastern and Western Europe. The Rotunda of Mosta, built between 1833 and 1860, is one example of Neoclassical/Greek Revival architecture. Its facade, which has vertical columns, is modeled after Rome’s Pantheon. Others praised them for coming up with something so creative and very stunning. While others criticized the builders for building a church that wasn’t a good example for Roman Catholics.
Palace of Westminster
Location: United Kingdom
You might not be aware that London’s iconic Palace of Westminster was also created during the Romantic era. This example of Gothic Revival architecture was constructed between 1840 and 1876. This symmetrical, traditional structure was created to replace a medieval building complex. It burned down on its grounds in 1834. It gave various outmoded architectural styles a fresh coat of paint.
Modernism (late- 19th to early- 20th century)
- Bibliotheque Sainte Genevieve
The Sainte-Geneviève Library in Paris is a true modern marvel. Even though occasionally visitors to the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe fail to notice it. This building, which houses about two million records, was built between 1838 and 1850. And it is an example of early Modernist architecture. However, modernism did not completely take hold until the late 19th century. It is when it became prevalent in Western civilization. Modernism first appeared earlier in the century while this library was being built. It was a school of thought that was opposed to traditional methods in philosophy, architecture, and other disciplines. This was partially a result of industrialization-related events and cultural changes. According to MoMA, the construction of this modern library creates a “temple of information and place for reflection.”
Postmodern (mid-to-late- 20th century)
- SIS Building
Location: United Kingdom
The SIS Building in London serves as the home of the British Secret Intelligence Service. It is futuristic and notable for its uncommon usage of symmetrical and geometric shapes. It was completed in 1994, near the end of the Postmodern era. Due to the rigidity and lack of variation in modern architecture; postmodern architecture became increasingly popular in the 1980s and 1990s. The multi-layered SIS Building has 60 separate roof regions and 25 different types of glass.
Contemporary (late-20th century- present)
Despite its recent past, the region features several impressive modern buildings. Those are especially interesting to those who haven’t been to Europe in a while. The Elbphilharmonie, popularly known as “Elphi,” is a music venue in the technologically modern city of Hamburg, Germany. 2017 marked its premiere. The representation of the outside was intended to be a lifted sell, a flow of water, or a quartz crystal. Modern architecture, which was developed in the twenty-first century and cannot be categorized by a single dominating style, is exemplified well by this building. In addition to creating their distinctive styles, modern architects, like those who designed the Elphi, experimented with other styles.
Copenhagen Opera House
On our list, the Copenhagen Opera House, which debuted in 2005, is last but certainly not least. With its neo-futuristic design, it is regarded as one of the most contemporary opera houses in the entire globe. Neo-futurism is centered on the necessity for sustainable building in expanding cities, and both design and functionality are essential. Forward-thinking cities, like Copenhagen, which has recently had an architectural boom, have embraced such high-tech buildings. The Copenhagen Opera House is not only stunning to look at. But it also makes clever use of a variety of practical elements. It includes glass, bronze, limestone, maple wood, and marble.
Cities as a whole provide tangible illustrations of philosophies, morals, fashions, and technical advancements. In Europe, this relates to urban planning, architecture, and technology. With a lengthy history, various cultures and customs have had an impact on European architecture. These factors have all influenced how European architecture has developed its particular personality. It is commonly known that architects and those who like to travel find inspiration in European countries. They have some of the most impressive architectural histories that have been recorded. A variety of architectural styles, and an active history that has seen many ups and downs. As well as wars that altered the course of history, all of which affect the architectural character of each location.