Architecture of the World


Andrew M. Rivlin

English IIC-4th Block

Mrs. Jump and Mr. Holtmeyer

March 10, 1998

Architecture is an expression of ones mind, found around the world in many different forms. Architecture is influenced by many highlights. The countries of Japan, France, and Australia all have very different forms. Their architectural forms are expressed by religions, professions, climate, and modern technologies. From the construction of ancient buildings on scratch paper to sketches of high tech towers made on computers and blue prints; all architecture shares one common characteristic; imagination.
The forms of architecture in Japan closely mimic religious beliefs, climate's needs, and cultures. Japan's architecture is more abstract in the city. In the small farming villages of Ogimachi, Japan, there are examples of the cultural influence on dwellings. The magazine UNESCO describes it best: "…the local farm houses are entirely constructed of wood, each one being covered by a three-sided, gabled thatched roof" (Saito 39). The formation of the roof is very important to the religion and the preventing of a roof collapse. The roof has a steep incline, portraying hands in prayer and this form also allows snow to fall off easily. It is noticeable that a majority of structures in small towns are predominantly wood. Wood is in abundance and allows for easy carving and constructing ("Japan Architecture" CD-ROM). The stress of structural integrity in the city plays a major factor when designing new buildings. Skyscrapers in major Japanese cities are now required to have provisions for tidal waves, earthquakes, and other natural disasters. Many of Japans new buildings have an international appearance, abandoning the more traditional image. The reason for this is to impress the common traveler or citizen. Whether the form of architecture is new or old, it follows strict guidelines as not to upset certain religions or endanger the inhabitants of the building.
A major factor in Japanese architecture is space. Japan uses the small amount of land they have to the fullest. There is plenty of uninhabitable land, but in major cities where people live and work everything is built following strict mandates ("Architecture Japan" CD-ROM). The desire to be different; powers Japan's architecture. Author David Stewart expresses the desire to be precise and have flowing movement: "…none was closer to being an exercise in pure geometry than National Olympic Stadium" (Stewart 218). This structure uses natural curves and slopes found nowhere else. This provides interaction for the people who visit this facility. The municipal library in Tokyo was built so compact to use the little city land available, but with elegance. A half cylinder is used for a roof, yet it allows for a complete level within (Stewart 256). People may look upon Japan's architecture as peculiar, but it really is not that different at all. Their architecture conforms to factors of limited land and the need for individualism ("Japan Architecture" CD-ROM).
Australia follows a much different approach to architecture than other countries. Australia is a rather young country. One author explains:
The earliest buildings in Australia were mere shelters. It was sometime before the use of local hardwoods was mastered and Sydney's fine sandstone was shaped for the first substantial structures…. At first roofs were made of split shingles, but the danger of fire in a dry summer brought about the use of corrugated galvanized iron sheets. ("Australia" CD-ROM)

After Australia progressed past the state of shelters and small shacks, the Gothic Revival style began. This style came from the influence of many Christian missionaries visiting Australia. Many buildings imitated the cathedral design and used decorative stone carvings on town houses and government buildings ("Australia" CD-ROM). In the middle 19th century, the forms of architecture came predominantly from the United States and Europe. This period was called the International Period. This was a period of large skyscrapers and new abstract buildings. Western society played a major role in introducing multiculturalism. This form of architecture brought extravagant buildings, such as the Sydney Opera House and the Arch of Esquire ("Australia" CD-ROM). Australia does not currently design structures using religious beliefs or cultural influences. They follow popular phases of world architecture. Much of their architecture is to satisfy the need s of professionals, businesses, and residents.
French architecture comes from a rich cultural background and history encompassing awesome cathedrals, monuments, castles, and other marvels