Renaissance architecture is the architecture of the period between the early 15th and early 17th centuries in different regions of Europe, in which there was a conscious revival and development of certain elements of ancient Greek and Roman thought and material culture.
Renaissance architecture would have a special influence on all that followed the period. After the discovery of De architectura, the only surviving treatise by Vitruvius, an ancient Roman architect, a new way of thinking about architectural techniques and principles was embraced. The beauty of the buildings that were designed encouraged churches, rulers, and other civic leaders to spend vast sums of money in constructing edifices that are esteemed as monuments the world over.
The most important architectural principle that was embraced in the early Renaissance period was symmetry. Renaissance architects generally sought to achieve geometric balance and harmony in their works. In other words, they sought to integrate the various parts of their structures and avoid mixtures of designs that did not fit well together. Under this general principle, Renaissance architects developed several unique elements that continue to set Renaissance architecture apart today. Architects of the period were fond of domes that could be seen from any point in a given city where the dome was constructed. This differed from medieval architecture that built domes that were to be visible mainly from within the buildings they topped. Pilasters, or decorative columns that adorned walls without providing any real support were also a favorite of Renaissance architects, as were traditional Roman columns that did support the building. The rounded arch that was used in ancient Roman architecture was likewise incorporated into Renaissance design.
During the later Renaissance, the movement that is now known as Mannerism began to influence architecture. Mannerists still looked to the ancient Greek and Roman world as inspiration for their work, but they played with proportion and design elements, producing buildings that violate the principles of symmetry and balance seen in the early Renaissance and yet were beautiful in their own right. Michelangelo is known for his Mannerist approach to architecture.
The Renaissance style places emphasis on symmetry, proportion, geometry and the regularity of parts as they are demonstrated in the architecture of classical antiquity and in particular ancient Roman architecture, of which many examples remained. Orderly arrangements of columns, pilasters and lintels, as well as the use of semicircular arches, hemispherical domes, niches and aedicules replaced the more complex proportional systems and irregular profiles of medieval buildings. Developed first in Florence, with Filippo Brunelleschi as one of its innovators, the Renaissance style quickly spread to other Italian cities and then to another Europen lands...
Historians often divide the Renaissance in Italy into three phases. Whereas art historians might talk of an "Early Renaissance" period, in which they include developments in 14th century painting and sculpture, this is usually not the case in architectural history. The bleak economic conditions of the late 14th century did not produce buildings that are considered to be part of the Renaissance. As a result, the word "Renaissance" among architectural historians usually applies to the period 1400 to ca. 1525, or later in the case of non-Italian Renaissances.
Historians often use the following designations:
- Renaissance (ca. 1400–1500); also known as the Quattrocento and sometimes Early Renaissance
- High Renaissance (ca. 1500–1525)
- Mannerism (ca. 1520–1600)
The 16th century saw the economic and political ascendancy of France and Spain, and then later of Holland, England, Germany, Austria, Czech lands, Hungary, Poland and Russia. The result was that these places began to import the Renaissance style as indicators of their new cultural position. This also meant that it was not until about 1500 and later that signs of Renaissance architectural style began to appear outside Italy.
Important features of Renaissance style in architecture include:
- Symmetrical arrangement of windows and doors
- Extensive use of Classical columns and pilasters
- Triangular pediments
- Square lintels
- Niches with sculptures
Typical examples of classical Renaissance style architecture:
Further detail information and examples you can find here:
Renaissance Architecture in Wikipedia
Real-Virtual: Renaissance Architecture
Renaissance Architecture at Great Buildings Online
Renaissance Architecture in Pictures
Your mission is to find either an original Renaissance era building or structure to post in this category. Here are no exceptions - so focus Your interest to all kinds of Renaissance architecture, e.g. churches, chateaux and castles, palaces, burgerhouses, town halls, watch towers, bridges, city gates, bell towers etc.