Analysis of both historical and contemporary buildings, as well as comparisons between them, can be very informative to our own designs. With our Design Studio module work picking up, it is a sensible point with which to further investigate the precedents of architectural design.
No matter where it is based, or what it's purpose might be, there are always certain aspects of design which seem appear all over the world. Hierarchy, space, order and perception are all indisputable elements of architecture and it's design. These are but a few examples, yet they illustrate the point well. They can be found in cultures all over the world and play important roles in all of them. However, the examples I wish to focus on are found a little closer to home.
"Hierarchy, space, order and perception are all indisputable elements of architecture and it's design."
The Tower Of London
The Tower Of London dates all the way back to 1070 upon which it's construction began. The Tower was built originally as a temporary wooden structure, intended to enforce the power of the King. It was commissioned only four years after William The Conqueror's victory at The Battle Of Hastings in 1066. The Tower was built next to the Thames as a strategic point, but the Tower which we see today is different.
The temporary wooden structure is no longer there, having been replaced with the now famous White Tower,
The Tower Of London is organised defensively. It's layers and towers all guard the stronghold in it's strategic position. The complex is big and emits authority, it has become an iconic symbol. This is status as a symbol has come in part due to it's location and design. It is undeniable that the history of The Tower Of London has played it's part, but the location and design are arguably what have led to it's history in the first place.
It was placed next to the Thames, allowing strong defence against ships and people alike. It is built not only on high ground, but also high up. Therefore it can be seen clearly from far around (especially during the time in which it was built!). It's size and layers, as mentioned earlier, emit authority and power. When it was built, the monarchy held significantly more power over the country than today. The Tower was built with this in mind and housed multiple kings. Naturally, the perception The Tower Of London was impacted by this. It was, and is, seen as a place of power, authority and importance.
Having opened in 2013, the Shard is a far more recent addition to London. However, despite a difference of over 900 years, the Shard has arguably got more in common with The Tower Of London than may be initially thought.
For example, on a base level, both are situated by the river Thames, both rise high for their times and, yes, both are found in London. But the comparisons go beyond these facts and into deeper similarities.
The Shard made a point of being the tallest building in Europe. It was designed to make a point, to be a symbol,
Of course the purposes of the two structures are fundamentally different in regards to the activities which take place within them. However some of the intents behind them both, as discussed, I believe to be considerable similar.
Interestingly, the Shard tends to be called more than one name. Formerly, amongst these names was 'London Bridge Tower'. Whilst not the same, it is certainly similar to 'The Tower Of London'. A coincidence perhaps, but an interesting one nonetheless.
The most obvious example in Nottingham of hierarchal significance is the Castle, and with good reason. It is a prime example of hierarchy works within architecture, and how positioning can affect perception.
The Castle in Nottingham is positioned high up, it is possible to see the Castle from miles around. This is done for two reasons. Firstly, it allows the Castle to be seen by all the citizens of the city. When it was built, this will have been an important factor for it. Secondly, it allows for greater defensive abilities. The height provides a better field of view for it's occupants, meaning that enemies can be seen from further away. It also makes the Castle far more difficult to attack as well.
With regards to the subject of hierarchy and perception, the first point is perhaps more relevant here. As a place of authority, physically raising the Castle up implies that the occupants are above the rest of the city, that they are more important. This generated a hierarchal system of class amongst Nottingham during the time of the Castles peak usage. For example, the Castle was amongst Richard The Lionheart's favoured building and was occupied by him frequently.
As a side fact, the Castle was originally built under the orders of William The Conquerer, just as the Tower Of London was.