Saturday, December 10, 2011

Mivitha Concept

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

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Monday, November 22, 2010

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Architecture of Sri Lanka

A Royal Palace in Polonnaruwa

The earliest evidence of cave temples are found in Mihintale. A unique feature in these caves was the use of a drip ledge carved along the top edge of the rock ceiling which stopped rain water running into the cave. With time doors, windows and walls of brick or stone were added. The roof and walls were plastered white and finished with decorative paintings, these are evident in the cave temples of Dambulla. Chipped material of the rock packed underneath the clay finished floor.
Cave complexes of Dambulla and Situlpahuwa contained 80 caves each, The Kaludiya Pokuna, Mihintale cave temple is constructed with brick walls, granite window openings, and ceilings. The Gal vihara, Polonnaruwa and the cave temples of Dambulla were initially constructed as cave temples, later on the cave temples were converted to image houses.

Dagobas or Stupas

The dagobas or stupas are distinctive for many reasons. They are probably the largest brick structures known to the pre-modern world. Demala Maha Seya, which was never completed, had a circumference of 2,011 feet (613 m). Jetavanaramaya is the largest stupa constructed in any part of the world. It is over 120 metres in height and has a diameter of 367 feet (112 m). The foundations are 28 feet (9 m) deep. It needed bricks that could bear the load of 368 pounds. Jetavanarama was the third tallest building in the ancient world. Abhayagiri Dagaba (370 ft) ranked fifth and Ruwanwelisaya (300 ft) came seventh (the first, fourth and sixth places were held by the Pyramids of Giza).

The construction of a dagoba was considered an act of great merit. Dagobas were built to enshrine relics. They were constructed according to strict specifications. Entrances to stupas were laid out so that their centre lines pointed to the relic chambers. There was only one relic chamber initially, but a number of additional relic chambers were introduced when the stupas were rebuilt.
The dagoba is admired today for its structural perfection and stability. Engineers who examined Jetavanaramaya in the 1980s said that its shape was ideal for the materials used. Stupas such as Jetavanarama, Abhayagiri, Ruvanveli and Mirisaveti Stupa were initially in the shape of a paddy heap. Other shapes such as the bubble, pot and bell developed later. It is suggested that the stupa at Nadigamvila digamvila was in the shape of an onion.
An ornamented vahalkada was added to the stupa around the second century; the earliest is at Chaitya. The four vahalkadas face the cardinal points. They are ornamented with figures of animals, flowers, swans and dwarfs. The pillars on either side of the vahalkada carry figures of lions, elephants, horses or bulls, depending on the direction of the structure.

The bricks were bonded together using a clay slurry, called butter clay or navanita mattika. This was composed of finely crushed dolomite limestone mixed with sieved sand and clay.
The stupa was thereafter covered with a coating of lime plaster. This was sometimes ten inches thick. There was a range of plasters, using different combinations of materials. The items used included lime, clay, sand, pebbles, crushed seashells, sugar syrup, white of egg, coconut water, plant resin, drying oil, glues and possibly even the saliva of white ants. Some of these items are mentioned in the Mahavamsa. The fine plaster at Kiri Vehera (2nd century) used small pebbles. Crushed seashells mixed with lime and sand were used in the stupas of the fifth to twelfth centuries. Expensive plasters were used sparingly, for specific purposes such as waterproofing.
Stupas in other countries have been struck by lightning, but not in Sri Lanka. Mahavamsa speaks of lightning protection for the stupa. The conical metal cap and its vajra at the top of the dagoba were supposed to have earthing properties. The Mahavamsa also refers to laying a sheet of copper over the foundation and applying arsenic dissolved in sesamum oil on this sheet. This would have kept out white ants and helped prevent plant life growing inside the stupa.

Ramparts of the Galle fort
With the arrival of colonials to Sri Lanka, they established their own form of architecture to the island. This is evident in the architecture of the period as well as in forms on influence in modern architecture. Very few buildings of the Portuguese era survives, however many building from the Dutch era could be found on the coastal parts of the island. For example, the Old Town of Galle and its Fortifications built by the Dutch in the year 1663 make up a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Neo-baroque style Old Parliament Building, which is now the Presidential Secretariat
Many important historic buildings were those built by the colonial governments. These were often built in one or another European architectural style, which was in fashion at the time, such as the Palladian, Renaissance, or Neo-classical styles.

Chinese architecture

From the Neolithic era Longshan Culture and Bronze Age era Erlitou culture, the earliest rammed earth fortifications exist, with evidence of timber architecture. The subterranean ruins of the palace at Yinxu dates back to the Shang Dynasty (c. 1600 BC–1046 BC). In historic China, architectural emphasis was laid upon the horizontal axis, in particular the construction of a heavy platform and a large roof that floats over this base, with the vertical walls not as well emphasized. This contrasts Western architecture, which tends to grow in height and depth. Chinese architecture stresses the visual impact of the width of the buildings. The deviation from this standard is the tower architecture of the Chinese tradition, which began as a native tradition[citation needed] and was eventually influenced by the Buddhist building for housing religious sutras — the stupa — which came from India. Ancient Chinese tomb model representations of multiple story residential towers and watchtowers date to the Han Dynasty (202 BC–220 AD). However, the earliest extant Buddhist Chinese pagoda is the Songyue Pagoda, a 40 m (131 ft) tall circular-based brick tower built in Henan province in the year 523 AD. From the 6th century onwards, stone-based structures become more common, while the earliest are from stone and brick arches found in Han Dynasty tombs. The Zhaozhou Bridge built from 595 to 605 AD is China's oldest extant stone bridge, as well as the world's oldest fully stone open-spandrel segmental arch bridge.
The Iron Pagoda of Kaifeng, built in 1049 during the Song Dynasty.
The vocational trade of architect, craftsman, and engineer was not as highly respected in premodern Chinese society as the scholar-bureaucrats who were drafted into the government by the civil service examination system. Much of the knowledge about early Chinese architecture was passed on from one tradesman to his son or associative apprentice. However, there were several early treatises on architecture in China, with encyclopedic information on architecture dating back to the Han Dynasty. The height of the classical Chinese architectural tradition in writing and illustration can be found in the Yingzao Fashi, a building manual written by 1100 and published by Lie Jie (1065–1110) in 1103. In it there are numerous and meticulous illustrations and diagrams showing the assembly of halls and building components, as well as classifying structure types and building components.
There were certain architectural features that were reserved solely for buildings built for the Emperor of China. One example is the use of yellow roof tiles; yellow having been the Imperial color, yellow roof tiles still adorn most of the buildings within the Forbidden City. The Temple of Heaven, however, uses blue roof tiles to symbolize the sky. The roofs are almost invariably supported by brackets, a feature shared only with the largest of religious buildings. The wooden columns of the buildings, as well as the surface of the walls, tend to be red in colour.
Many current Chinese architectural designs follow post-modern and western styles.

Indian architecture

India's urban civilization is traceable to Mohenjodaro and Harappa, now in Pakistan. From then on, Indian architecture and civil engineering continued to develop, and was manifestated temples, palaces and forts across the Indian subcontinent and neighbouring regions. Architecture and civil engineering was known as sthapatya-kala, literally "the art of constructing".
According to J.J. O'Connor and E. F. Robertson,[8] the Sulbasutras were appendices to the Vedas giving rules for constructing altars. "They contained quite an amount of geometrical knowledge, but the mathematics was being developed, not for its own sake, but purely for practical religious purposes."
During the Kushan Empire and Mauryan Empire, Indian architecture and civil engineering reached regions like Baluchistan and Afghanistan. Statues of Buddha were cut out, covering entire mountain cliffs, like in Buddhas of Bamyan, Afghanistan. Over a period of time, ancient Indian art of construction blended with Greek styles and spread to Central Asia.
Indian architecture encompasses a wide variety of geographically and historically spread structures, and was transformed by the history of the Indian subcontinent. The result is an evolving range of architectural production that, although it is difficult to identify a single representative style, nonetheless retains a certain amount of continuity across history. The diversity of Indian culture is represented in its architecture. It is a blend of ancient and varied native traditions, with building types, forms and technologies from West and Central Asia, as well as Europe. It includes the architecture of various dynasties, such as Hoysala architecture, Vijayanagara Architecture and Western Chalukya Architecture.
Architectural styles range from Hindu temple architecture to Islamic architecture to western classical architecture to modern and post-modern architecture.
The temples of Aihole and Pattadakal are the earliest known examples of Hindu temples. There are numerous Hindu as well as Buddhist temples that are known as excellent examples of Indian rock-cut architecture. The Church of St. Anne which is cast in the Indian Baroque Architectural style under the expert orientation of the most eminent architects of the time. It is a prime example of the blending of traditional Indian styles with western European architectural styles.

Roman architecture

The Romans widely employed, and further developed, the arch, vault and dome (see the Roman Architectural Revolution), all of which were little used before, particularly in Europe.[3] Their innovative use of Roman concrete facilitated the building of the many public buildings of often unprecedented size throughout the empire. These include Roman temples, Roman baths, Roman bridges, Roman aqueducts, Roman harbours, triumphal arches, Roman amphitheatres, Roman circuses palaces, mausolea and in the late empire also churches.
The monumental Colosseum, a Roman amphitheatre from the 1st century AD
Roman domes permitted construction of vaulted ceilings and enabled huge covered public spaces such as the public baths like Baths of Diocletian or the monumental Pantheon in the city of Rome.
Art historians such as Gottfried Richter in the 20's identified the Roman architectural innovation as being the Triumphal Arch and it is poignant to see how this symbol of power on earth was transformed and utilised within the Christian basilicas when the Roman Empire of the West was on its last legs: The arch was set before the altar to symbolize the triumph of Christ and the after life. It is in their impressive aqueducts that we see the arch triumphant, especially in the many surviving examples, such as the Pont du Gard, the aqueduct at Segovia and the remains of the Aqueducts of Rome itself. Their survival is testimony to the durability of their materials and design.

Greek architecture

The architecture and urbanism of the Greeks and Romans were very different from those of the Egyptians or Persians in that civic life gained importance. During the time of the ancients, religious matters were the preserve of the ruling order alone; by the time of the Greeks, religious mystery had skipped the confines of the temple-palace compounds and was the subject of the people or polis. Greek civic life was sustained by new, open spaces called the agora which were surrounded by public buildings, stores and temples. The agora embodied the new found respect for social justice received through open debate rather than imperial mandate. Though divine wisdom still presided over human affairs, the living rituals of ancient civilizations had become inscribed in space, in the paths that wound towards the acropolis for example. Each place had its own nature, set within a world refracted through myth, thus temples were sited atop mountains all the better to touch the heavens.
The Romans conquered the Greek cities in Italy around three hundred years before Christ and much of the Western world after that. The Roman problem of rulership involved the unity of disparity — from Spanish to Greek, Macedonian to Carthaginian — Roman rule had extended itself across the breadth of the known world and the myriad pacified cultures forming this ecumene presented a new challenge for justice. One way to look at the unity of Roman architecture is through a new-found realisation of theory derived from practice, and embodied spatially. Civically we find this happening in the Roman forum (sibling of the Greek agora), where public participation is increasingly removed from the concrete performance of rituals and represented in the decor of the architecture. Thus we finally see the beginnings of the contemporary public square in the Forum Iulium, begun by Julius Caesar, where the buildings present themselves through their facades as representations within the space. As the Romans chose representations of sanctity over actual sacred spaces to participate in society, so the communicative nature of space was opened to human manipulation. None of which would have been possible without the advances of Roman engineering and construction or the newly found marble quarries which were the spoils of war; inventions like the arch and concrete gave a whole new form to Roman architecture, fluidly enclosing space in taut domes and colonnades, clothing the grounds for imperial rulership and civic order.
This was also a response to the changing social climate which demanded new buildings of increasing complexity — the coliseum, the residential block, bigger hospitals and academies. General civil construction such as roads and bridges began to be built.