Architectural & Cultural Transformations after the Industrial Revolution

Industrial Revolution had a great impact on the field of Architecture. Technological innovations brought about a great deal of change in the work of an Architect. This was the period of “expansion of creativity” and brought about various Architectural Transformations.

The three major divisions of the Architectural Transformations are as follows:

  1. Cultural Transfromations
  2. Technical Transformations
  3. Territorial Transformations

Cultural Transformations

The architecture of Neo-classicism seems to have emerged out of two different but related developments which radically transformed the relationship between man and nature.

Neoclassical style - Monticello House
Neoclassical style - Monticello House

There was a sudden change and increase in man’s capacity to have control over nature, which by 17th century had begun to advance beyond the technical frontiers of Renaissance. There was change in the nature of human consciousness, in response to major changes taking place in the society. It gave birth to the cultural transformation taking place in the society.

The change in human consciousness yielded new categories of knowledge and historic mode of thought, that was reflexive to ask question to its own identity.

The over-elaboration of architectural language in the Rocco interiors of the Ancient Regime and the secularization of enlightenment. Their motivation was not simply to copy the ancients but to obey the principles on which their work had been based. In England, Rococo had never been fully accepted the impulse to redeem the excess of Baroque found its first expression.

By the end of 1750s, however, the British were already pursuing in construction of Rome. Neo-classicism proponent could be found in the construction of residences. The final development of British Neo-classicism came first in the work of Dance pupil John Soane, Adam and even from the English Baroque.

Sir John Soane, (10 September 1753 – 20 January 1837) was an English Architect. He was  renowned specialist  in the Neo-classical style of architecture.

Some of the characters of the Neo-classical style are mentioned below:

  • Clean lines
  • Massing of simple form
  • Decisive detailing
  • Careful proportions
  • Skilful use of light sources

The influence of his work, coming at the end of the Georgian era, was swamped by the revival styles of the 19th century. It was not until the late 19th century that the influence of Sir John’s architecture was widely felt.

Bank of England – Best known work of the Neo-classical architecture which gave a boost to the spread of commercial architecture.

Bank of England - Sir John Soane
Bank of England - Sir John Soane

An early awareness of cultural relativity in the late 17th century prompted Claude Persault to question the validity of proportions and refined through classical theory.

Apart from insisting on the judicious application of classical elements, cordemoy was concerned with their geometrical purity in action against such Baroque devices as regular columniation.

The Abbe Laugier in his Essai Sur l’ architecture reinterpreted Cordemoy to poist a universal natural architecture, the primordial ‘primitive hut’ consisting of 4 tree trunks supporting the pitched roof.

After Cordemoy, he asserted this primal form as the basis for a sort of classified Gothic structure in which there would be neither arches nor pilasters nor pedestals nor any articulation.

Such a ‘translucent’ structure was realized in Jacque-German Soufflot’s Church of St. Benevieve in Paris begun in 1755.

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