Romanesque architecture period is one of the most cherished periods in the history of architecture. During this period, several buildings were constructed which have remained fascinating in Europe and attractive to people around the world. This essay gives a summary of the Romanesque architecture period, highlighting some of the major events which took place during this period including historic buildings and structures which continue to symbolize this period today.
According to historic findings and recordings, Romanesque architecture thrived during the Medieval or Middle Ages and was highly associated with Normans. In general, Romanesque architecture usually refers to structures which were constructed and used from 800 AD to 1100 AD (Sacred Destinations 1).
It has arguably been mentioned that this type of architecture generates major confusion as it relates closely to the architectural designs during the Roman Empire. Notably, Romanesque architecture was originally designed by the Normans after the fall of the Roman Empire.
Of importance is the fact that the history of Romanesque architecture was primarily linked to the dedication of people to religion, a fact that resulted into the construction of several churches in England which adopted Romanesque design. Many people who visited the Holy Land admired magnificent architectural work done by the Byzantine Empire. This admiration caused a revolution in architecture, castle building ideas and engineering during the Romanesque architecture period (Browne 4).
As mentioned above, the existing interest in religion during Romanesque time necessitated construction of buildings which could conveniently accommodate huge crowds in places like Santiago. Due to huge crowds flocking these places, basilicas were unable to hold them resulting into the need to have the buildings designed to have the shape of a cross.
Additionally, architects adopted this design because they wanted to do away with wood as the main construction material (Castles 1). They therefore began using stones, groin and barrel vaults to make ceilings for most of the churches. Although this was adopted, ceiling weight overpowered walls forcing architects to pile stones along the walls for the purpose of supporting them and preventing them from being pushed outward.
Alternatively, architectures opted to use thick walls which could withstand the heavy weight of ceilings emanating from ceiling stones. This resulted into the use of small windows, making the interior of most churches to be dim (Sacred Destinations 1).
Moreover, the Romanesque architecture period has been referred to as the Age of Monasticism during which monastic homes became common as they attracted the attention of religious people and scholars. This period also coincided with the Crusades Age when Christians were determined to restore freedom for Holy Lands (Castles 1). These events promoted economic growth through trade, construction of infrastructure like roads and the expansion of the construction industry to meet extra demand for buildings.
In analyzing this period, Norman is also considered as one of the most significant modifications of the Romanesque architecture in Normandy, France. It is believed that the interior of St. Etienne clearly illustrates evidence why Norman architecture remains the most advanced construction design of the period (Sacred Destinations 1). Its interior displays a complex design depicting the Gothic style of construction. Notably, the round Roman arch is gives the main difference between Gothic designs and Romanesque architecture.
Although there were other construction styles, Romanesque architecture influenced construction engineers across Europe. This was common in the construction of churches in England which were later converted into cathedrals (Sacred Destinations 1). Even though a good number of the cathedrals were constructed in different ways, Norman styles were also applied especially in the nave arcades.
It is important to mention that the Gothic arches of Winchester Cathedral were developed from Norman piers curved by masonries. This was also witnessed in parts of Italy where churches like the Florence Cathedral was built based on the Gothic style (Castles 1).
It comprised of the sturdy columns which portrayed a tailored version of the Corinthians. Architects made use of the pointed vault as it was used together with the semicircular arches. Based on this assumption, many analysts have argued that most facades of Gothic churches in parts of Italy are almost indistinguishable from Romanesque as they have a wide range of similarities.
Similarly, the Romanesque period was an important time that led to defensive architecture manifested through design and architecture in most parts of Europe. Although these architectural designs were common to churches and monastic buildings, it extended to castles and other buildings during the same period (Sacred Destinations 1). Despite the fact that most of these buildings have been ruined throughout history as a result of war and politics, there are some which have remained intact.
A good example is the White Tower found within the Tower of London, constructed by William the Conqueror as his stronghold and residence (Castles 1). In parts of Germany, palaces were mainly built for bishops and rulers as wealthy merchants used Romanesque architecture to build their homes in towns.
Based on the above analysis, it is evident that Romanesque architecture period was a significant time in the history of several architectural designs. The influence of this period has remained evident from buildings around the world which were constructed during this period.
Browne, Edith. Romanesque Architecture. Whitefish, Montana: Kessinger Publishing, 2005. Print.
Castles. Romanesque Architecture. Castles, 2011. Web. November 3, 2011.
Sacred Destinations. Romanesque Architecture. Sacred Destinations, 2011. Web. November 3, 2011. < http://www.sacred destinations.com/reference/romanesque-architecture>.