Historicism in Architecture
• Modern architecture embraced geometric forms and
tried to recover some elements such as arches and
vaults of the Classical architecture in place of the
stylistic traditions inherited from the Renaissance.
• The development of modern architecture was driven
not only by new aesthetic principles.
• The easy availability of materials such as concrete,
iron, steel and glass freed architecture from the
restrictions of building in stone, wood and masonry
• The new sense of space aimed at meeting the needs
of life in the 20th century.
• Architecture was altered by the Industrial Revolution
• The traditional concepts about the appearance and purpose of
buildings lost their validity
• In England, Ruskin and William Morris, founder of the Arts and
Crafts Movement held that machine-made objects were devoid
of cultural significance
• Inspired by the medieval past, they persuaded leading
craftsmen to become involved in the design of ordinary
artefacts and domestic surroundings
• The construction of Paxton’s Crystal Palace in London in 1851
marked an advance in modern architecture.
• The building was made of prefabricated units of iron and glass
• Architects began to think that the beauty of the buildings would
lay on the clear exposure of the structural properties of the
• Iron, glass and steel became abundant and masonry
was no longer the only constructive element.
• The possibilities of the new materials were evident in
two buildings made for the 1889 Paris Exposition:
“The Halle des Machine” and “The Eiffel Tower”.
• Technology began to affect the design of building
servin more useful purposes
• High-rise buildings were made possible by the
erection of a steel cage to which were attached
floors and walls, and rendered practical for the user
by the development of passenger lifts.
• Eclecticism fostered the interpenetration of
geographically and ethnically diverse cultural
• Historicism opened the door to limitless
creative possibilities by erasing the illusory
boundaries between past, present and future
• Together they conferred upon artists the
unprecedented freedom to explore a universe
of artistic forms and styles unfettered by
– · Adaptive historicist art is that in which historical
material is interwoven with elements considered
contemporary or new at the time of creation.
– ·Derivative historicist art is based on one or more
clearly discernible historical models.
– ·Pure historicist art authentically expresses the
essence, manners, forms, or styles of a period
earlier than that in which it was created.
– ·Eclectic historicist art is that in which elements
of two or more historical periods are blended.
• "Pure historicism" is a highly relative expression since
new buildings, interiors, and landscapes designed and
built in historical styles almost always make use of
technologies, methods, materials, and amenities not
available when the styles in question first appeared.
• Few people today would want to forego the
conveniences of modern plumbing, electricity, and air
conditioning, and fewer still could afford the luxury
of worshiping in a Doric temple constructed of
• It is still possible to create new structures that,
given these inevitable conditions, are authentic
reinterpretations of established stylistic traditions,
with the understanding that the very things that
alter these traditions also serve to invigorate them.
• At the beginning Neo-Classical forms
were common in the main European
cities, in a bourgeois aim at
remembering the glories and virtues of
the Classical time.
• The Romanticism led the architects to
revive the Gothic or Islamic forms.
• This style is known as Historicism or
revival of different historical styles.
• The development of Historicism was
deterrent for the evolution of the
architecture and decorative arts.
• It was born in opposition to the official art
of the academies and under the influence of
• It aimed at recovering the genuine roots of
the nationalities, present during the medieval
period, and to distance from the Italian
• The architects used the new building
techniques allowed by the use of iron and other
• It is a moment of high impulse for great public
buildings, the renaissance of several old styles:
• and the interest for exotic styles such as the
– Hindi, and