Renaissance architecture

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The Dome of Florence Cathedral

Florence Cathedral, (called il Duomo), built by Arnolfo di Cambio, had a huge hole at the centre. The competition to build a roof over it was won by Brunelleschi who built the largest dome since Roman times. He cleverly got the whole city excited by getting teams of workers from the eight parts of the city.
  • Church of San Lorenzo
This church in Florence was designed by Brunelleschi using all the things he had learnt by looking at the architecture of Ancient Rome. It has arches, columns and round-topped windows in the Roman style. It looks completely different to the pointy-arched churches of the Middle Ages. Only the inside was finished. The outside is still all rough bricks and no-on knows exacly how it was meant to look. On the inside, however, Brunelleschi taught everyone a new set of architectural rules.
  • Church of Sant' Andrea
When the Ancient Roman Emperors came back from winning a battle, they built a Triumphal Arch as a monument to themself. There are several of these monuments in Rome and they have the same design: a big arch at the centre, and a smaller lower arch or doorway on either side. The architect Alberti used this as the design for the front of the church of Sant' Andrea in Mantua. He used the same pattern of tall and arched, low and square, all down the inside of the church as well. This was copied by many other architects.
  • Medici-Riccardi Palace
When it came to building palaces, the rich people of the Renaissance had different needs to the Roman Emperors, so the architects had to use the rules to make a new sort of grand building. These Renaissance palaces are usually three stories high and quite plain on the outside. On the inside there is a courtyard, surrounded by beautiful columns and windows. Architects like Michelozzo who worked for Cosimo de' Medici, looked at the Roman Colisseum (sports arena) which is three stories high with rows of arches.
  • Saint Peter's Basilica
The most famous church in Rome was the ancient Church that had been built over the grave of St. Peter. By 1500 it was falling down. The Pope decided that instead of repairing it, it should be pulled down and a brand new church should be built. By the time it was finished, lots of important artists had worked on the design including Michelangelo, Raphael, Bramante, Maderna and Sangallo. It was the first building to use huge columns called a "giant order". It has one of the most magnificent domes in the world. It has been copied in many countries.
  • Villa Rotunda

This country house was built by Palladio in 1550. It is a square building which looks the same from every side. At the centre, there is a dome. On every side is a large porch, (portico), like a Greek temple. It is such an elegant design that other architects used the same style which can be seen on churches, houses and palaces, including the White House.