Architecture through the Ages


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Construction in ancient times is second only to agriculture-it reaches back as far as the Stone Age and possibly further (Jackson 4). Before the existence of master builders in design and construction the Code of Hammurabi (1795-1750 B.C.) referred to design and construction as a simple process (Beard, Loulakis and Wundrum (13). Hammurabi was the ruler of Babylon, the world’s first metropolis and he codified his code of laws (Beard 13). This is the earliest example of a ruler introducing his laws publicly. The code regulated the organization of society including the extreme punishments for violating the law. The builder’s work is addressed in the code, however faulty design and improper construction were viewed as one (13). Six specific laws address the builder. These laws are;

228. If a builder build a house for some one, and does not construct it properly, and the house which he built fall in and kills its owner, then that builder shall be put to death;

229. If it kill the son of the owner the son of the builder shall be put to death;

230. If it kill a slave of the owner then he shall pay for slave to the owner of the house;

231. If it ruin goods, he shall make compensation for all that has been ruined and inasmuch as he did not construct properly this house which he built and it fell, he shall re-erect for the house from his own means;

232. If a builder build a house for some one, even though he has not yet completed it; if then the walls seem toppling, the builder must make the walls solid from his own means (Beard 15).

In Babylonia, an abundance of brick, and lack of stone, led to greater use of mud brick; Babylonian temples are massive structures of crude brick, supported by buttress’s, the rain being carried off by drains. One such drain at Ur was made of lead. The use of brick led to the early development of the pilaster and column, and of frescoes and enameled tiles. The walls were brilliantly colored, and sometimes plated with zinc or gold, as well as with tiles. Painted ” terra-cotta” cones for torches were also embedded in the plaster. Assyria, imitating Babylonian architecture, also built its palaces and temples of brick, even when stone was the natural building material of the country; faithfully preserving the brick platform, necessary in the marshy soil of Babylonia, but little needed in the north..

The importance of construction during the Mesopotamian period is critical to eventual expansion and development. Other key factors for growth in construction efforts was the development of bronze and iron which resulted in stronger tools that meant greater building opportunities. ((Jackson 5). There was also a resulting rise in status for the most experienced of the builders and they would come to be designated “master builders.” The builders gained greater skill and due to the advances in opportunities allowed the initial consideration of building shelters to leap and give way to villages, towns and cities. These cities would become the civilizations with construction at the center (5).

Ancient Egyptian

The early civilizations like Mesopotamia used dried mud brick for construction but the Egyptians started making use of stone (5). Moving the large stones was difficult but these builders, with their own ingenuity overcame the problems to build one of the most amazing projects in history, the great pyramids (5). The master builder concept remained in one person, architect, engineer and builder.

The quest fir eternal life drove the Egyptians to pursue funerary architecture (Stierlin). Master builders developed a method when they abandoned brick for stone that enabled the builders to conceive the unimaginable. Although the use of stone created a need for more works, their religious beliefs would easily attract the needed workers since they also had a stake in the Afterlife and the power of their god-king (Stierlin). A defined purpose or goal made construction like this more understandable to the average citizen at the time and perhaps even for us today.

One “master builder” is the Egyptian polymath, Imhotep. He was an engineer, architect and physician serving the Third Dynasty of King Djoser (Imhotep). Imhotep is thought to be the first of his kind to be known by name in history. He was also one of the few commoners granted divine status after death. Imhotep designed the Pyramid of Djoser, or the Step Pyramid, thereby creating the largest structure ever built made completely using stone (Imhotep).

The early civilizations appeared in lands situated between rivers, specifically in China and Mesopotamia and developed quickly. In Egypt the major project was the Great Pyramid of Giza or the Giza Pyramid (Village). Theories regarding how the Great Pyramid was built abound, particularly in reference to transportation of the stones to the construction site (Village). Some of the earlier theories argued that slave labor was used. More recent evidence suggests that there was an abundance of workers available for pay due to cessation of agricultural activity due to the flooding of the Nile river (Village). Transportation of stones weighting 2.5 to 15 tons into place during construction of the Great Pyramid presented a number of issues. Some assert that a ramp which would have been over a mile long, was used, while others claim that an external spiral type of ramp was used (Merolla). A recent theory suggest that an internal spiral ramp was used which avoids leaving the corners last (Merolla). At this time, research continues and the Pyramid remains an unbelievable feat for the time. It appears that approximately 20,000 workers were required, not 200,000 slaves. These 20,000 workers would be divided into crews of 2,000 then subdivided into gangs of 1,000 (Village). This gave those in charge greater ability to monitor activity and maintain control. Incredible effort and the use of paid labor would have combined more efficiently instead of theories that claim slave must have been used. Clearly, paid workers and a great stake in the project and as subjects of the pharaoh they would have had a degree of pride in doing so.

Ancient Greeks

While the Egyptians were building the great pyramids using unskilled labor, the Greeks tread a different path (Jackson 5). Using limestone and marble, the Greek master builder started creating groups of skilled stonemasons to use in projects (5). This eventually led to master craftsmen training others in a particular skill and utilizing those skilled artisans. Finer detail and design allowed the select skilled artisans to use their abilities in architecture (5)

Common materials of Greek architecture were wood, used for supports and roof beams; plaster, used for sinks and bathtubs; unbaked brick, used for walls, especially for private homes; limestone and marble, used for columns, walls, and upper portions of temples and public buildings; “terracotta,” used for roof tiles and ornaments; and metals, especially bronze, used for decorative details. Architects of the Archaic and Classical periods used these building materials to construct five simple types of buildings: religious, civic, domestic, funerary, or recreational.

Long ago, the Greeks gave the ancient master builder the name apxitYktwv (architekton), from which the Romans derived the Latin name, architectus. Both words mean “master builder,” denoting one responsible for the design and construction of the constructed environment. The modern English word “architect” derives from these Greek and Roman terms and is their phonetic equivalent, without the original meaning. The centuries old master builder remains a highly respected and legendary figure in today’s architectural community. Several things have been written about him in the record of history (Master builder).

Sophisticated contractual arrangements for the execution of major building works were in use 2500 years ago. The Long Walls in Athens were managed by the Architect Callicrates with the work let to ten contractors. These contracts gave detailed specifications of the work, requirements for guarantees, methods of payment and of course the issue of time was usually an important consideration (Weaver 5).

Another ancient Greek of interest is Heron from Alexandria. Heron was a mathematician, physicist and engineer in approximately 10-70 A.D. (Lahanas). His writings indicate he taught at the Museum in Alexandria and he was also an inventor (Lahanas). Hydraulic, steam and air operated machines are credited to Heron in addition to some sophisticated surveying tools (Lahanas). One surveying tool was the dioptra which was used in civil engineering to determine the direction of roads, tunnels or other structures (Lahanas).

Several ancient structures in Athens remain discernible today. The Acropolis was the fortification and sanctuary of Athens beginning in approximately 5 B.C. Over time other structural changes have rendered parts of the Acropolis difficult to ascertain but its’ significance is still evident (Acropolis). Temples were built upon the Acropolis and eventually the Parthenon, Erechteion, Propylia and Temple of Nike were situated on the Acropolis (Acropolis). The beauty and achievement of this structure is on of the famous structures of Athens.

Most surviving Greek buildings, such as the Parthenon and the Temple of Hephaestus in Athens, are Doric. The Erechtheum and the small temple of Athena on the Acropolis are Ionic however. The Ionic order became dominant in the Hellenistic period, since its more decorative style suited the aesthetic of the period better than the more restrained Doric. Records show that the evolution of the Ionic order was resisted by many Greek States, as they claimed it represented the dominance of Athens. Some of the best surviving Hellenistic buildings, such as the Library of Celsus, can be seen in Turkey at cities such as Ephesus and Pergamum. But in the greatest of Hellenistic cities, Alexandria in Egypt, almost nothing survives, so Greek art and architecture was at its apex during this time.

Roman Empire

The Roman Empire was a revolutionary period due to the dramatic changes in engineering, architecture and building science (Jackson 6). A form of concrete was developed and used for foundations in structures and the creation of domes and arches reflected the significant capabilities of the workers (6). In addition, glass was used ti decorate the buildings. The magnificence of the Colosseum and the Pantheon are directly linked to this era as well (6). This period also boasts the unusual even strange formation of stones known as Stonehenge (Merolla). Issues of transporting materials to construction sites have long been theorized regarding ancient monuments and structures. Stonehenge is clearly a meaningful one since its’ stone weigh up to 40 tons each and had to be transported 20 miles (Merolla). While much debate has occurred, one interesting experiment recently performed sheds light on this question. Wally Wallington, a retired carpenter, demonstrated he could move, lift and place the stones by utilizing nothing but simple tools and the laws of physics (Merolla). The ancient master builders were skilled and ingenious and it should come as no surprise that they found a means to address their needs.

In about 60 B.C., Marcus Vitruvius Pollio wrote a design and construction handbook (6). Pollio’s skills as a writer, engineer and architects enabled him to develop designs, techniques, styles and processes that served for centuries as the authority on building and design (6). The concept of the master builder or architect took on greater significance because the master builder handled the design and supervision of the construction (6). Pollio’s guides were basically integrated with connections to construction and design (Loulakis 46). The guide book would be drawn up with thorough instructions from a master builder and then sent to a Roman outpost to build a town (46). Pollio was highly regarded and in his book De Architectura he said of architects in general, “personal service consists in craftsmanship and theory” ********************************** In Ancient Master Builder).

In addition to great building constructions, the Romans engaged in bridge building and roadways. During the reign of Julius Caesar, he and his army built two bridges over the Rhine river in order to confront the Germanic tribes who thought they were safe from attack due to the natural protection of the river (Caesar’s Rhine). The Rhine river at that time was 1,000 feet across and up to thirty feet deep making any crossing without a bridge extremely risky (Bridge). The first bridge was a wooden beam bridge with double pilings driven deep into the river using large stones winched over the beam and letting the stone fall (Caesar’s Rhine). The bridge was completed in ten days and showed that Caesar could go anywhere. The second bridge built two years later was near the site of the original bridge. It was evidently built in a “few” days as Caesar had thousands of soldiers on hand to complete the work (Caesar’s Rhine).

Byzantine Empire

The Byzantine era is essentially the medieval civilization of the eastern Mediterranean with the capitol at Constantinople (Ousterhout 3). The key to changes in architecture during this period is the development of a new type of church architecture (7). Since the church building was the center for devotion and display of religious images, it is logical that architecture would shift the focus from immense church structures to smaller, more intimate churches (7). Builders during this period were faced with patrons (or even Saints) who allegedly directed all things, including construction (7). As this is speculation due to a lack of historical data proving that patrons, if not Saints, were involved it is likely such patrons provided funding and not utter control over construction (43).

Until the sixth century the Byzantines used the term mechanikos meaning architect and mechanopois referred to engineers (45). Within the legal codes of the Middle Byzantine a manager acted as the conduit from the client to the workers (46). In a public works project, a government official who was not an architect is appointed to oversee the construction with a master builder under his command (48).

The Byzantines used workshops as the training schools for boys to become apprentices (520. Clearly, the ultimate goal was to work through the ranks from apprentice to journey with real status at the master mason level. The master mason would continue to hone his skills and improve his technical and practical skills through his experiences and from studying existing structures (52). The impact of the Byzantine era on architecture also resulted in their extensive influence to the East and West (Byzantine Legacy). In the East, the influence was profound. The early Islamic architecture utilized Byzantine architecture as evident in many structures such as the Umayyad Great Mosque of Damascus and the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem (Byzantine Legacy). Indeed, the Dome of the Rock needed Byzantine craftsman and mosaicists to handle the decorative work (Byzantine Legacy). The West was impacted to a lesser extent but the Byzantines efforts created opportunities in the West resulting in Romanesque and Gothic architecture (Byzantine Legacy).

The Hagia Sophia is a basilica and a great surviving example of Byzantine architecture in what was Constantinople (Hagia). This basilica was constructed three different times, the first two being completely or mostly destroyed by fires (Hagia). The third church was started on February 23, 532 by order of the Emperor Justinian I (Hagia). The basilica would be different since the new construction was bigger and more glorious (Hagia). Materials were brought form everywhere in the empire and used a number of styles for different aspects of the basilica. Examples include Hellenistic columns from Ephesus, green marble from Thessaly, black stone from the Bosporus and yellow stone from Syria (Hagia). This impressive basilicas was quickly viewed as major work demonstrating the creativity of the architects (Hagia). Cracks due to earth quakes in August 553 and on December 14, 557 appeared in the main dome and eastern half-dome (Hagia). Complete collapse of the main dome occurred on May 7 556 and the emperor ordered an immediate restoration. The restoration was completed in 562 (Hagia). Over time, a great fire caused damage to the Hagia Sophia as well as earthquakes including a severe earth quake on October 25, 989 which required extensive restoration. The basilica suffered looting, desecration and occupation when Constantinople was invaded during the Fourth Crusade (Hagia). Some repairs were finally made in 1354 and the Hagia Sophia remained safe until the Turks took Constantinople. At that time, the church was in great disrepair however the sultan, Mehmed II ordered an immediate cleanup and its’ conversion to a mosque (Hagia). The most well know restoration was ordered by the sultan Abdulmacid and was finished in 1849. In 1955, the Hagia Sophia was designated a museum by the first Turkish president, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and the conversion uncovered the original marble floor and removed white plaster from the ancient mosaics, allowing visitors to view authentic works from antiquity that had been centuries covered (Hagia).

Islamic Golden Age

Islamic architecture began in the seventh century C.E. And combined a number of forms from the Middle East and Byzantine. Religious and societal needs necessitated development by the Islamic architects of their own defining features in creativity (Architecture). The Islamic styling can be found in Spain, North Africa and the Middle East and would eventually influence the Classical and Medieval periods in Europe (Architecture). Even before the existence of the Islamic faith, the needed materials for Islamic architecture existed. An abundance of various stone for building could be found in Asia Minor to Egypt and India (Banister571). Roman quarries were still yielding stone and masonry from antiquity enabled the Islamic architect to utilize building examples from the Byzantines and Romans (Banister 571). Glass had advanced and could function as window glass. In the Islamic Golden Age, the existence of several different styles, materials and techniques enabled the builders to be creative and selective.

Prime examples of early Byzantine architecture date from Justinian I’s reign and survive in Ravenna and Constantinople, as well as in Sofia (the Church of St. Sophia). One of the great breakthroughs in the history of Western architecture occurred when Justinian’s architects invented a complex system providing for a smooth transition from a square plan of the church to a circular dome (or domes) by means of squinches or pendentives.

The Byzantine domes were used to assist architects with roof construction including timber engineering (Banister 571). Unbaked bricks along with lime and gypsum for stabilization was significant since the largest volume of buildings were achieved by earth walling (Banister 571). The earthquake prone region required serious consideration from the skilled masons and they developed the use of structural specificity in their techniques (Banister 571). The character of Islamic buildings must include the techniques used by masons form climate control in the hot and dry Middle East (571). They were basic techniques for the most part, such as small window openings in thick walls. But the development of window scoops was sophisticated resulting in a mastery of technique by the Islamic architects (571). The Islamic pointed arch and the horseshoe arch were central features of Islamic structures and would later be used in Gothic architecture (571). Another distinctive sub-style is the architecture of the Mughal Empire in India in the 15 — 17th centuries. Blending Islamic and Hindu elements, the emperor Akbar constructed the royal city of Fatehpur Sikri, located 26 miles west of Agra, in the late 1500s and his grandson Shah Jahan had constructed the mausoleum of Taj Mahal for Mumtaz Mahal in the 1650s, though this time period is well after the Islamic Golden Age. In the Sunni Muslim Ottoman Empire massive mosques with ornate tiles and calligraphy were constructed by a series of sultans including the Suleymaniye Mosque, Sultanahmet Mosque, Selimiye Mosque (Edirne)|Selimiye Mosque, and Bayezid II Mosque.

Perspective regarding Islamic architecture can be gained taking a glimpse at the Islamic faith and traditions. The paradise concept of heaven was in use in Iran as the “garden” concept dating to 500-300 B.C. (Petruccioli and Pirani 10). These gardens were in precise compartments within symmetrical arrangements (10). This is just one example however other features within mosques are clearly dictated by faith. However in the Holy Land, the presence of Crusader architecture is evident in countryside castles, towers and churches (Petersen 231). These structures influenced the Islamic architecture when they reconquered Jerusalem. This architecture had various forms of imitation, for example the minaret resembles a Crusade church tower (231). In addition the Islamic builders did not simply destroy the Crusaders work, instead they reused what was already in place.


Castles were a necessary feature at the time of the Crusades due to their location, the need for feudal administration and a shortage of manpower (Crusader History 1). Their land was long (450 miles) but narrow (usually fifty miles or less) and was flanked by Muslim towns (1). In order to prevent invasion, it was most definitely a pressing need to provide sufficient defenses (1). The Crusades also diminished their manpower in the effort to take Jerusalem and upon their return home it was quickly realized that using stone would aid in construction more efficiently than thousands of soldiers (1). Finally, the Frankish lands had fiefdoms, which were often handled by Barons as their domains. To achieve effectiveness they used castles as places for administration and these castles were usually complex and highly developed (1). Throughout the Middle Ages, architectural knowledge was passed by transcription, word of mouth and technically in master builders’ lodges. Due to the laborious nature of transcription, few examples of architectural theory were penned in this time period. Most works that from this period were theological, and were transcriptions of the bible, so the architectural theories were the notes on structures included therein. The Abbot Suger’s Liber de rebus in administratione sua gestis, was an architectural document that emerged with gothic architecture.

Even upon reaching the Holy Land the Crusaders constructed buildings of military value and fortified their churches while at home the same could be said of the castles since they were basically the center of the community (1). Castles became vastly important and the design was influenced by external factors along with strategical and tactical issues which changed the style (Crusade History 3). The First Crusade created such a problem that builders began changing castle building from wood and earth to using stone (3). The Norman keep was essentially for passive defense requiring only sufficient food and lack of disease to allow those within to survive attack until relief forces arrived (3). Due to a lack of sufficiently lengthy wood the castles had shorter towers and less protection. When the Crusaders reached Constantinople, they were faced with Byzantine fortifications that included double banked ditches, towers and enormous walls. Crusaders returned home and based on their experiences changes started to occur including use of the Byzantine examples of defense (3). Round towers instead of square and concentric design allowed the Crusaders to use multiple defenses and opened the door to architects for further exploration in design and defense (3). Michelangelo’s late Roman buildings, particularly St. Peter’s Basilica, may be considered precursors of Baroque architecture, as the design of the latter achieves a colossal unity that was previously unknown. His pupil Giacomo della Porta continued this work in Rome, particularly in the facade of the Jesuit church of the Gesu, which leads directly to the most important church facade of the early Baroque, Santa Susanna by Carlo Maderno. In the 17th century, the Baroque style spread through Europe and Latin America where it was particularly promoted by the Jesuits.

During the Crusades, in approximately !000 A.D., The Knights of Malta were created to assist pilgrims in the Holy Land (4366). Soon they were forced by circumstances to become warriors as well as master builders (4366). The brotherhood became wealthy and powerful but remained disciplined as well. The castles they constructed in the Holy Land were the most fortified and inaccessible (4366). Their castles became the models for European castles of the next 2 centuries (4366).


The Romanesque period saw the decline and downfall of the Roman Empire and a corresponding decrease in building and technology (Jackson 6). When the Roman Catholic Church filled the vacuum left by the dying empire, it was a powerful force that renewed stone construction and drove their great plans to build more churches and cathedrals (6). But many conflicting theories and opinions exist today regarding the specific century or centuries that apply to Romanesque architecture (Browne 2). Romanesque architecture has some roots that are derived for the birth of Christianity. Roman architecture was modified however these modifications actually had more of an Eastern influence (3). When the Christian Emperor Constantine cane to power he afforded the Christians the same rights as pagan worshipers (3). This freedom allowed the spread of Christianity and created opportunity for new and converted structures for worship. Most buildings during this time were churches, tombs and baptisteries, specifically for the Christian worshipers (3). As for the basilicas, they were originally used for Roman administration and the conversions actually made were so drastic as to the original. The Roman basilica was still there with the modifications of apse, atrium and nave in addition to roofing over the entire building (5). Examples of Romanesque architectural achievements can still be seen in Rome, Ravenna, Syria, Salonica, Asia Minor, Egypt and Algeria (8).

From the early sixth century, structures in the West (excluding Spain during Moorish occupation) developed in such a way as to reflect a certain absorption of the Romans. This ongoing technical and architectural developments continued from the eleventh century to the thirteenth century (11, 12). The builders during this period in the West struggled to express their new ideals but the building remained Romanesque (12). Most of the magnificent stained glass of France, including the famous windows of Chartres, date from the 13th century. Far fewer large windows remain intact from the 12th century. One such is the Crucifixion of Poitiers, a remarkable composition which rises through three stages, the lowest with a quatrefoil depicting the Martyrdom of St. Peter, the largest central stage dominated by the crucifixion and the upper stage showing the Ascension of Christ in a mandorla.

The Romanesque period is more transitional in nature, part of an ongoing and changing process through several periods (13). Romanesque work typically includes rounded arch windows and eventually extended to arched doors and archway entrances (16). The rose and wheel window were round openings used for admitting light but they also acted as decorative works (17). St. Clemente church in Rome is an example of the Romanesque period despite the fact that it was rebuilt in the eleventh century. The interior is supposed to show the original Romanesque work from the fifth century churches (20).

Part of the Romanesque period includes the rise of guilds throughout Europe from approximately 1100 to 1426 (Guild). Some cities did not use guilds and were called “free” (Guild). The pooling of labor, production and trades allowed guilds to have strong control (Guild). This is also where the lifetime progression within a trade or craft was honed to a certain degree. It allowed for the apprentice, then journeyman and on to craftsman (Guild). The problems with a guild led to non-members being shut out of a trade without a guild for backing (Guild). There were even instances of struggles between greater guilds and the lesser artisan guilds. The fact remains that where the guilds functioned they held a monopoly on the trade in its craft (Guild).


Gothic structures were primarily cathedrals and required ingenuity and perseverance (Scott 17). A great deal of complexity presented itself to the builders, craftsmen and architects. The goal of the Gothic cathedral was to allow light to the interior and such goals necessitated new types of vaults an arches (18). Gothic architecture is most familiar as the architecture of many of the great cathedrals, abbeys and parish Church (building)|churches of Europe. It is also the architecture of many castles, palaces, town halls, Guild|guild halls, university|universities and to a less prominent extent, House|private dwellings. It is in the great churches and cathedrals and in a number of civic buildings that the Gothic style was expressed most powerfully, its characteristics lending themselves to appeal to the emotions. A great number of ecclesiastical buildings remain from this period, of which even the smallest are often structures of architectural distinction while many of the larger churches are considered priceless works of art

A prime example of Gothic work is the Salisbury Cathedral which began in approximately 1220 and was not completed until 100 years later (18, 19). Since the Salisbury Cathedral was build according to specific design, it was a single continuing building achievement and was sited on a completely unused piece of land makes this as quite distinguishable from other Gothic buildings (19). Other Gothic buildings involved great renovations of preexisting Romanesque buildings or a series of techniques being introduced to original designs (19). The amount of stone used in building the Salisbury Cathedral is estimated to be 60,000 tons in the main building and tower and spire (23). Another 12,000 tons of marble was used for decorative stone shafts (23).

There is a fairly large amount of evidence that a Dominican monk who was also a prior, bishop and nuncio named Albertus Magnus had an impact on Gothic buildings. Albertus was, in addition, a doctor and the Earl of Ballanstaedt and studied in a wide array of disciplines from theology to mineralogy (The Masonic Trowel). This momentous individual apparently had sufficient influence on Gothic architecture that even the stonemasons lodge documents mention that there was talk of the “Albertian Manner” or “Albertus System” (The Masonic Trowel). It also appears that the original plans for the Amiens Cathedral in Cologne were from Albertus Magnus. His name is mentioned in several places such as the first clerk of the works in Cologne and the Chronicle of Cologne in addition to the book, Live of Albert the Great (The Masonic Trowel). They all refer to a master architect, designer and planner of great skill.

A different kind of Gothic cathedral is the Strasbourg Cathedral and is actually part of the Late High Gothic architecture and art (See Strasbourg). Common for Gothic churches the Strasbourg Cathedral was built over time spanning several centuries and the plans frequently changed (See Strasbourg). The artistic exterior of the cathedral, particularly the western facade, features intricate and delicate carving and statues giving it a lacy like appearance (See ?Strasbourg). Also included is artwork illustrating biblical symbols and statues of King Solomon, the twelve apostles and twelve lions (See Strasbourg). The real highlights of the interior are the stained glass and the Strasbourg astronomical clock. The clock is one of the most important and largest of its’ kind in the world.


Near the culmination of the Middle Ages, interest in science, building and architecture was renewed (Jackson 7). The transformation continued and the concept of a master builder experienced changes due to efficiency (7). Some vital examples of people who changed the direction of master builder and architect are found during the Renaissance. Leone Battista Alberti was thought to be the precursor to the modern architect. (7). As a theoretical architect, Alberti claimed he could direct master craftsman without being involved in the building process by just providing his creative designs and models with specificity (7). He provided the plans of his buildings but never became involved the actual construction. His new philosophy was the first that would result in the separation of design and construction as completely different concepts (7).

Fillippo Brunnelleschi was also a design build Renaissance architect but he was first trained as a sculptor (Loulakis 6). He made the decision to devote hist time to construction design and is best known for the cathedral in Florence, Santa Maria del Fiori. He won a competition to construct and engineer the cathedral’s dome and was granted the opportunity. This great dome, also called the Duomo, is considered to be the greatest structural achievement in the fifteenth century (46).

Sir Christopher Wren in London was a master builder of distinction (Beard 18). Considered the greatest English architect, he was also one of the best known examples of a designer-builder after the fifteenth century. Architects of this period typically retained responsibility for design and construction without need for the physical presence on site (18). Wren’s first architectural job was his appointment as assistant to the surveyor general in charge of repair and upkeep of public buildings. A few years later Wren was named deputy surveyor general for the reconstruction of St., Paul’s Cathedral and several parish churches.

The development of design build concept is closely connected to project management (Ramroth 3). Management skills are required in order to reduce risks (3). Project management is a relatively new term compared to the historical weight from the builders of the distant past (5).

Finally, there is the first great basilica of the Renaissance in Florence, the Santa Maria Novella. The construction work for the basilica began about 1246 and was completed in about 1360 (Basilica). The original design and plans came from two Dominican friars, Fra. Sisto Fiorentino and Fra. Ristoro da Campi. The basilica was remodeled under the commission of Giorgio Vasari granted by the Grand Duke Cosimo I (Basilica). The remodeling included the removal of the original rood screen and the addition of six chapels. A second renovation was designed by Enrico Romoli during 1858-1860 (Basilica).

The Renaissance period saw great strides in architecture and engineering along with many dramatic changes in style and design.


Baroque architecture, beginning in the early 17th century in Italy, took the humanist Roman vocabulary of Renaissance architecture and used it in a new rhetorical, theatrical, sculptural fashion, expressing the triumph of absolutist church and state (Baroque). New architectural seeking color, light and shade, sculptural values and intensity characterize the Baroque. But whereas the Renaissance drew on the wealth and power of the Italian courts, and was a blend of secular and religious forces, the Baroque was, initially at least, directly linked to the Counter-Reformation, a movement within the Catholic Church to reform itself in response to the Protestant Reformation. The Council of Trent (1545 — 1563) is usually given as the beginning of the Counter-Reformation (Baroque). The Baroque played into the demand for an architecture that was on the one hand more accessible to the emotions and, on the other hand, a visible statement of the wealth and power of the Church (Baroque).

The new style manifested itself in particular in the context of new religious orders, like the Theatines and the Jesuits, which aimed to improve popular piety. By the middle of the 17th century, the Baroque style had found its secular expression in the form of grand palaces, first in France — as in the Chateau de Maisons (1642) near Paris by Francois Mansart — and then throughout Europe (Baroque).

Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution had the greatest impact on society worldwide and included construction and architects (Jackson 7). The separation of construction and design was ongoing and the era ushered in more theoretical concepts. The use of physics, math, thermodynamics and chemistry caused the emergence of building science as a discipline (7). The building professions took on more defined roles such as the science of engineering, art of architecture and craft of building (7). Each separate entity worked within their field of study while general contractors assemble and managed the project from labor and equipment to the materials (7). These materials were used to construct bridges, railways, great halls and other buildings. Inventions like the steam shovel, steam drive and pile driver support buildings and transformed construction preparing the way for modern industry (7).

It wasn’t until the mid nineteenth century that a clear distinction is made between professionals and builders (Loulakis 48). During this time, professional associations began to appear allowing architects to address professional concerns.

Thomas Telford (1757-1834) was a Scottish civil engineer, architect and stonemason. He was well know for his bridge projects as the surveyor of public works in Shropshire. Telford’s reputation landed him a job managing the design and construction of the Ellesmere Canal. He was also involved in the Shrewsbury Canal. Telford eventually undertook highway projects and was even consulted by the King of Sweden about a canal construction. This talented and proliferate master builder had his impact by the choices he made in materials, studying the reliability of his materials and improving design at every opportunity. He surely deserved the title of modern man. (Thomas)

An early theorist who influenced the Industrial Revolution is . An instructor at the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris from 1794-1833, Durand actually discussed the design process itself in architecture instead of discussing how the building would look after completion (Ramroth 8). Modern day project management was addressed in 1873 by (9). He developed guidelines for good project management which simply involved five basic questions to address:

Identify the need;

Develop a detailed program statement for the project;

Explore alternative that satisfies the program statement;

Execute the project based on the selected alternative that satisfies the program statement;

Learn from the completed project: What went right and what went wrong? (12).

Now for thousands of years the ancient master builder held sway as the preeminent professional responsible for the built environment. But this status began to erode in the Renaissance period, when artists such as Michaelangelo, having absolutely no understanding of the building arts, started taking on architectural commissions. This set into motion a series of events over a , that eventually culminated in the astonishing disappearance of the master builder in the 20th century. His departure was especially brought on by the emergence in 19th century England of two very influential figures: a new kind of businessman known as “the general contractor” and a man named Sir John Soane, father of the modern architecture profession, who arrogantly insisted that the architect completely separate himself from the building activity. Soane wrote of the architect saying, “With what propriety can his situation and that of the builder, or the contractor be united?” (Kostof,). Nevertheless, by the 1900s the ancient master builder was pretty much gone, to the great detriment of society. In his place was set up two inventions of the modern age: 1) the architect — responsible for design only, but having no genuine knowledge about how a building is really built; and 2) the general contractor — responsible for construction only, but having no genuine knowledge about design. For thousands of years prior to this, design and construction were understood as united in one and the same person and work. But the architect-contractor system did away with all of this, ushering into society a host of problems.

During World War II, the mechanization of warfare and the shift to advanced materials and swift movement for the military brought forth tremendous projects (Third). The use of computers and developing technology made project management vitally important. One of the most massive projects was the Manhatten Project in 1945 (Third). The Manhatten Project is likely the earliest example of modern project management since the project manager and technical manager were separate (Third).

Following WWII, the Cold War saw the growth and advancements of technology, information and more complex projects (Third). These projects grew as years passed and the technology was rapidly advancing. The space project and military systems projects became highly complex with project management needs being address with the help of computer technology (Third).

By the 1970’s, project management became a permanent entity of project firms (Third). The Project Management Institute (PMI) and The International Project Management Association

(IPMA) were created to concentrate on project technologies (Third). As the pace continues, the construction industry has developed techniques and methods for risk management, quality control and managing networks of projects all in an effort to maintain excellence (Third).

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