Question language and architecture. Their classic architecture involves

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Question 1: Ancient Egypt civilization and ancient Maya civilization all respect
light. They designed two monumental buildings in cooperation with light. What
are the names of these buildings and when were they built? Where are they
located? What are their functions? How do they incorporate with light and why? There
is another building designed to work with light has been mentioned in the
lectures, where is it?

Ancient Egyptian civilization ran along the Nile
River with many of their architectural monuments respecting light. Countless of
their buildings (regularly made by stone due to dry weather eliminating wood as
a viable material) were designed around the influence of light; for example,
the Old Kingdom contained pyramids which were thought to convey sunrays
descending downwards. Consequently, Pyramids are the form which are common to
both Ancient Egyptian civilization and Ancient Maya civilization; these are
often aligned so light shines through to specific locations inside at certain
times of the year.

Abu-Simbel is a monumental building in Ancient
Egyptian civilization in cooperation with light, discovered in the 1810’s.
Abu-Simbel consists of two temples; these are in Nubia (West Bank of Nile River)1
built during the reign of Ramesses II to celebrate his victory in Battle
(Battle of Kadesh 1274 BCE)2
as well as intimidate the Nubians, therefore it is speculated to have been
built in 1264BCE. On October 22nd and February 22nd, the
back wall of Abu-Simbel lights up through the sun rays penetrating the pyramid
(55m deep3);
allowing the sanctuary to light up showing the sculptures/statues; one being
the statue of the Pharaoh. However, the axis of the temple did not illuminate
the statue of Ptah, who lived underwater, emphasising how significant/literal
the cooperation of light is to the Egyptians. The reasoning for these statues
situated within Abu-Simbel is routed in it being a building for God hence these
sculptures highlight their religious beliefs; furthermore, the dates which the
statues are lit up are ‘thought to’ correlate with the ‘king’s birthday and
coronation day’ 4.

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Ancient Maya civilization (2000 BC- 16TH
Century) also respected light; it is a Mesoamerican civilization and the singular
entirely developed civilisation in Mesoamerica regarding written language and
architecture. Their classic architecture involves temples in form of steep pyramids
typically with a stone tablet situated in front (e.g. Tikal Acropolis). El
Castillo is a monumental building in cooperation with light, situated in the
City of Chichen Itza5.This
pyramid is a temple built between the 8th-13th century6
for the God Kukulkan; in total there are 365 steps to the top of the pyramid
(equalling the days in a year). During Spring and Autumn equinoxes, the
illusion of serpents ‘running’ or ‘crawling’ down the Northern Balustrade appears
due to the sun set causing shadows. The function of this is to represent the
God Kukulkan. This cooperation of light is not surprising since the many of the
Mayans beliefs revolved around celestial events, and in fact El Castillo emphasises
this through representing the Mayan calendar as a monument.

Another building designed to work with light would
be the pyramid of the sun; built by Teotihuacan civilization in 100 AD. On
August 12 and April 29th, the sun sets, and the pyramid has been
designed to be northwest of the horizon point.
























Question 2: Ancient Mesopotamia civilization and India
Buddhism have built two types of monumental buildings as device to communicate
with gods above. What are the general names of these buildings? What are the
difference of these two types of building in terms of forms and materials? What
is the common characteristic of these two types of buildings in terms of space

Mesopotamia derives from the Greek translation
‘between the rivers’ since it is irrigated by the Tigris River and the
Euphrates river. Mesopotamia is the earliest literary civilisation, for example
containing Eridu (Sumerian State city 4000-2350 BC); the oldest known city
originating in 3800 BC. Ancient Mesopotamia civilisation is routed in religious
beliefs and practises which stemmed from the Sumerians but later was modified
by the Akkadians; they often displayed these religious values through drawings
and art forms within the caves. However, the fundamental way in which to
worship and communicate with the God’s above was through Ziggurats, which were
indeed dedicated to the God’s and in fact created a relationship between the people
and God. Shaped like a pyramid and using a materiality of sun-baked bricks to
build; these were constructed by Sumerians, Babylonians and Assyrians. The
Ziggurats were known to be holy ‘mountains’, consequently they were climbed up to
be ‘closer to the heavens’ as in literature it is noted to build a tower to ”reach
the heavens”7. This
was said in reference to the tower of Babel, a building in Ancient Mesopotamia,
another fundamental building would be The Ziggurat of Ur.

On the other hand, the building as a device to
communicate with God’s above in India Buddhism has some differences and
similarities. Buddhism is taught and practised conventionally in India; with
Tibetan Buddhism taught in the North (like Tibet) and Theravada Buddhism in the
Generally, Temples are the standard place of worship for Buddha; in particular
Stupas are the sacred monument to communicate with God’s above since it is
believed earlier stupas are associated with the ashes of Buddha. Hence,
performing rituals within the Stupa can allow them to achieve enlightenment and
communicate with Buddha. Whereas a Ziggurat takes the form of a pyramid, a Stupa
typically is a hemisphere shape with a barrier system on top. On the other
hand, whilst Mesopotamian Ziggurats were built from brick, some Stupas were
constructed out of stone; for example, the Great Stupa (Sanchi) built in 1st
century BC. Despite this, originally Stupas were just general piles/mounds of
earth and stone as a burial for King’s however following Buddha’s death the Stupa’s
were transformed from housing the dead to celebrating the living.

In terms of space use; there is no interior space
of the Stupa. The common characteristic of them both is that they incorporate a
raised shrine at the top centre of the buildings, these are furthermore similar
in their ideologies since they are devoted to communicating to God and using
the space to get closer to him.






Compare and
contrast Parthenon in Athens with Temple
of Apollo in Didyma. The answer should include the
main differences in style, form, and organization between a Classical temple in
Greek mainland and a temple in Asia Minor.

Parthenon in Athens is a monument in Greek mainland,
a classical temple located at the top of Acropolis. Constructed in 5th Century
BCE, it was devoted to Athena Parthenos9
(Greek Goddess) to emphasise the power of Athens. Out of the classical Greek
architectural orders (Doric, Ionic and Corinthian) Parthenon uses Doric order,
being considered the largest Doric temple in Greece10.
At the façade of the classical temple there are 8 by 17 Doric columns. Compared
to earlier Doric temples Parthenon had subtle optical refinements, consequently
it also solved the corner problem. These consisted of slightly concave foundations/columns
appearing straight. Parthenon is home to the statue of Athena which has 23
small Doric columns surrounding the statue and 6 standard Doric columns which
pillar the porch11. Furthermore,
the Classical temples in Greek mainland, including Parthenon, are designed to
be viewed from the outside and perceived as ‘perfect’; reflecting that these
temples are only to be seen from the exterior and not to be inhabited.

On the other hand, a typical temple in Asia Minor
is built on different ground therefore the temples incorporate Ionic order. Compared
to the Parthenon in Athens and classic temples these are taller, thinner,
fluted and rest of a flat surface whereas Doris orders consist of a thick column,
no base, and larger. Despite this, the room which contains Athena’s treasure in
Parthenon accommodates 4 Ionic columns which reinforce the roof 12
hence some Classical temples in Greek mainland incorporate both Doric and Ionic

The temple of Apollo in Didyma is a temple in Asia
Minor, very different to Acropolis of Athens (Doric form). In ancient Greece this
temple is known to have been the fourth largest13,
holding within it both political and deeply religious beliefs causing numerous
rulers (e.g. Alexander the Great) to come to the temple for guidance. In total
Apollo had a total of 3 known temples (whereas Parthenon has 2) although some
were destroyed; for example, the second temple. Compared to Parthenon in
Athens, this temple is much larger in width although the length of both temples
are roughly the same. In fact, the additional temple (Hevenishe Didyamion) in
the temple of Apollo in Didyma was thought to be ”twice the size of Athens Parthenon”14.
Despite this, this third temple was built to resemble a Classical Greek temple
from the outside, similar to Parthenon, hence reflecting the same beliefs in having
a ‘perfect’ exterior.

However, unlike the classical Greek temple, the
interior of Didyma had the adyton (inner chamber) was on the ground floor due
to being built around a ‘sacred spring’, whereas the adyton of the Classical
Greek temple sat right above the temple platform. The inner chamber of Didyma
also was left open for religious portrayals like sacred trees.























Categories: Architecture


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