IMD IPD mind meld

Monday, October 09, 2006

Gothic Era Lecture

Hello everyone! Hope you are keeping well.

Week 2 was an o.k. week but it could have been better if I wasn't so tired. I am getting few hours sleep each night and I am finding it hard to stay awake in some of my lectures. To tell you the truth I am feeling quite sleepy now lol.

Luckily enough the Design history lecture last week was really interesting. I had always liked the architecture of the churches and thought the lecture taught me a thing or too about them. The gothic style is really good and I think it adds to what makes this country nice to live in. The gothic style has these main features:
- Tall Buildings
- Large Interiors
- Large Windowa
- Incresingly more decorative
- Vaulted Roofs
- Pointed arches
- Stained Glass Windows, Masonary

But I prefer the Arabic style of architecture. I have researched that the shouldered arched windows had been discovered along with the theory of arches in the medieval ages of Islam (before 1300’s at least) for making windows larger much earlier than the British along with more detailed calligraphy and Islamic designs. It also makes sense as all literature agree that the Arabic countries were the leaders of science and maths at this time, hence the first complicated maths and innovative designs to house the mass amount of people who pray in the mosque five times a day. The Arab’s were also more innovative in moving on this trend and style which swept through countries taken from Arabia to Egypt, Persia, North Africa, Turkey and Spain. This architecture using domes for roofs, shouldered windows, and decorative designs echoed by the gothic movement of Britain shows that Britain made a copy of what was done elsewhere. The Arab’s were more innovative as they started using materials such as gold, marble, and ivory as new ways of creating a better aesthetic look of of the superb architectural design.

An adaptation of a quote off Chris rock’s hit series ‘everybody hates chris’

‘Like most things, the gothic era was invented by the Arabs and stolen by white people’

So the question I ask now is the Gothic style just a retaliation by the church to the rising dominance of Islam and the Ottoman Empire? I think so which is nothing wrong….but to say that British designed the concept is wrong….what do you think? It’s very controversial I know but…

… Controversy creates attention…

…Maybe I will get more comments on my blog. I am happy to reply and prove my case. Thanks for reading…



Blogger Hazel said...

Much of what is claimed as Western innovation, especially in architecture and philosophy has been in existance in other civiliations for thousands of years. It might be of interest to take some examples and explore these further, especially in relation to how they are now perceived by Islamic and other cultures.

9:34 PM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

I'm somewhat kicking myself that I didn't mention the inspiration that architects in Europe got from Islamic architecture, but I don't think I'm right to suggest that Christian buildings utilised Gothic principles to 'outdo' Islam - it was a lot more boring than that: such buildings are cheaper, airier, safer and brighter! I've never met a builder who didn't adopt a particular technique because it was easier, rather than because it made a geo-political religious statement. Well, not yet, anyway.
(Which isn't to say that some Pope or other thought the tales he heard about Eastern buildings didn't make him fret and order bigger and better. Plus ca change...)

There was also a tradition at the time that you could 'buy' your way in to heaven by paying for church activities (we still say requiem masses in the Catholic church paid for by legacies). For example, the south transept of Ripon Cathedral is a more recent addition to the building, paid for by a bishop trying to assuage his guilt at his involvement in the death of Thomas Becket. People had much more personal, urgent, motivations in those days and I worry sometimes that they get lost in the wider and often non-constructive debate about comparative cultural achievements. But that's just my opinion - as Hazel suggests, maybe this is an interesting avenue for further reading and thought?

Also, just in case I was misinterpreted (a good word - gets me out of ever being 'wrong') I didn't say Gothic was a British innovation. In fact I said it was continental European (inspired in part by Moorish architecture as it was then called).
Different types of gothic then developed with British Gothic possessing its own particular style, largely because we carried on using it long after the French etc had got bored with it and therefore took it further.

The Gothic Revival, however, was a British thing and this may be where the confusion is setting in?

(and of course when I say British I mean largely English, though there are examples of Gothic and neo-Gothic architecture in Scotland)

9:57 PM  
Blogger DonLobania said...

Reguarding hazel's comment:
I know alot already about the islamic culture as along with school since i have been in nursery i went to a 2 hour mosque class which taught me how to pray the Quraan, how to bea good muslim and why, and the origins of my religion. there are no specific dates but i am going to read one of the literature that i know that can give me more information. Thanks for your comment i am appreciative.

8:31 AM  
Blogger DonLobania said...

Reguarding Jonathan's Comment:
A Revival of something that was not british is british? Whatever you say jonathan....look out for my new post of the literature behind islamic'll find it interesting and refreshing your memory of whay it is not british who were the first!
Your comment is appreciated, thanks!

8:34 AM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

Just to clarify my point, Gothic architecture as we know it is European with Eastern influences (and Greco-Roman too), but yes, Gothic Revival is most definitely British in origin. Gothic Revival, I said, was an aesthetic response while Gothic was technological. Apart from the name and the look, they're two different things.

But remember the point of the lecture wasn't to say what influenced what, not to look at design in terms of style but in terms of its effectiveness as a solution to an engineering problem, which is really why it was adopted. With gothic, few people look at cathedrals and marvel at the fact they're not being crushed by falling roofs. Instead they tend to go 'ooh, that looks nice!' which is really a surface response - and one I wanted to steer people away from in the lecture because as a student of design it's important you see it as more than, as some people describe it, 'making things look nice'.

3:45 PM  
Blogger DonLobania said...

Reguarding Jonathan's 2nd comment:

O.k. I agree to that statement...but i have a new interesting theory that was brought up in gus's class after richard's on friday...keep an eye on my blogs...thanks!

5:09 PM  
Anonymous Oli said...

i think your views on gothic and islamic architcture are very interesting. That is about all I have to say. Thank you and good day.

11:47 AM  
Blogger Rebecca R said...

I half wish I'd had this lecture as I find gothic architecture fascinating, as oddly enough it got covered in English of all things when I was at school.

My english teacher covered it briefly because the Architectural Gothic Revival actually caused a whole new genre to be created i.e. the Gothic Novel which includes books such as The Turn of the Screw and Jane Eyre.

Anyway interesting post, a lot of what is claimed to be new is never really new, it's either "borrowed" from another culture, or building on the old.

And before I start rambling I'm going to end, let me just add cheers for the comment left on my blog

5:01 PM  

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