AO Magazine - June 2021
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The German-born American architect Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe once said: “Architecture wrote the history of the epochs and gave them their names”. From the Classical and Hellenistic to the Romanesque, Renaissance and Baroque, each era has been defined and remembered for its awe-inspiring and monumental creations.
The story of architecture is, in fact, the story of humanity. Each architectural accomplishment reflects the social, economic and technological achievements in human history, and opens a window on the priorities, ambitions, power, and vision of civilizations past.
Architecture in ancient times frequently displayed a unification between the divine and mortal world. Monuments performed important practical functions, but they also held a symbolic role, serving as a link between the earth and the heavens. In many civilizations, the creative force applied in the practice of architecture was likened to the creative force of God himself.
In this issue, we journey through time and place to explore some of the world’s most impressive constructions, from the soaring ziggurats of Mesopotamia to the unique buildings of the Ancestral Puebloans in Mule Canyon, the magnificent stepwells of ancient India, and the jaw-dropping rock-cut tombs of Lycia. We also look at some of the greatest architectural tragedies – the burning of Notre-Dame de Paris and the destruction of Palmyra at the hands of terrorists– and examine latest progress to rebuild, revive, or simply remember these amazing historic sites.
While skyscrapers, suspension bridges, and now 3D-printed buildings are marvels of modern engineering, the key pioneering moments in architectural history have left a lasting impact on our buildings to his day, and have changed the shape of architecture for all time.