European Architecture Design Element – Doors
A door in the building generally refers to the entrance of the building. It is either a hinged or movable barrier that allows ingress and egress into an enclosure. Doors can be classified by materials, functions, forms, ages and styles. With the change of the age, doors of different ages attract the characteristics of the architectural style at the particular age, be branded with the times, and form its own style. Each style has unique characteristics, which can be distinguished from its period and style faction according to its unique characteristics. Doors can be classified into nice different styles: Ancient Greek Style, Ancient Roman Style, Baroque Style, Gothic Style, Byzantine Style, Renaissance Style, Classical Style and Neoclassical Style.
Ancient Greek style architecture is the birthplace of European culture, creating a precedent for European architecture, and the ancient Greek architectural art is also the source of European architectural art. The characteristics of the ancient Greek architectural style are mainly harmonious, perfect and sublime. Ancient Greek temple architecture fully reflects these styles and characteristics.
The building materials of ancient Greek-style buildings are mainly stone. Due to the limitation of material properties, there are fewer changes in form, and the interior space is simple and closed. Lion Gate is a representative of ancient Greek-style buildings. The gate consists of two great monoliths capped with a huge lintel made of the megalith. Above the lintel, there is a triangular limestone slab on which two lions were carved in high relief stand on either sides of a central pillar.
Ancient Roman architecture continued the architectural style of ancient Greek civilization, and developed it into a new architecture style.
Ancient Roman architecture are grand and solemn. It has developed quite mature and combined with functions to meet various complex functional requirements. The composition of the buildings is harmonious and unified, and there are many diverse forms. Arches are the most prominent feature of ancient Roman architecture. The structure of Colosseum in Rome is a good representative. Repeated arches and combine with Greek columns are used and the materials are mostly stone. The doors of ancient Roman architecture are mostly semi-circular. The arches and domes structures can share weight evenly, and thus the classic orders are not only structural but also greatly decorative.
Baroque is generally described as an off-road architectural style. Opposite to the rigid classical forms, this style is highly decorative, flamboyant and theatrical. It was once very widespread in Europe. The doors of the baroque building are often arched or square, and their materials are mostly wood or iron.
Wooden door: The wooden door is grand and heavy with many exquisite and distinctive wood carving of flowers or animals on it.
Iron Gate: Iron gates are usually made into elegant curve and flower patterns. On the top of the arch are often full of layered delicate curves decorations, or various kinds of flower decoration in different sizes. Sometimes even the door frame is covered with flower decoration. On both sides of the doors are pillars with different shapes, from simple cylinders or square pillars to spiral cylinders.
The Gothic architectural style evolved from Romanesque architecture and was succeeded by Renaissance architecture. It is widely used for churches and cathedrals and is characterized as a style of masonry building with heavy use of pointed arch, rib vault and flying buttress.
The Gothic style doors are normally heavily embossed and recede inward layer by layer. On the top of the door, both pointed and semi-circular arches can be seen with distinctive classic Roman style carving and decorations. They are often covered with assorted and intricate character sculptures. Decorations on the wooden doors and iron doors can either be simple grids patterns or be complex wavy patterns and figures.
The main building materials of Byzantine architecture are brick and ancient Roman concrete. Instead of having one cylindrical vault structure, Middle Byzantium churches and basilicas developed to have multiple subsidiary domes which are heightened, more exotic and decorative.
The Byzantine doors continue the Roman style, with many-layered and ornate arches. Some of the door’s domes are adorned with marble, mosaics, alabaster and frescoes which are the main form of Byzantine interior decoration.
Renaissance architecture is an architectural style that came after Gothic architecture and was succeed by Baroque. It was popular in Europe between the early 15th and 19th centuries. This architectural style renounced architectural forms that symbolize the supremacy of the sovereignty, and pay more attention to the order, geometry and proportion of the architecture. Renaissance-style buildings emphasize harmonious proportions and symmetry, demonstrating a conscious revival and architectural concepts derived from classical antiquity. Renaissance architectures are solemn and lively.
Renaissance-style doors usually have semi-circular arches or square lintels with a triangular or segmental pediment above the decorated entablature. In terms of materials, Renaissance-style doors have both wooden doors and iron doors, and the bottom of the door is mostly rusticated stonework. The carved figure and sculpture, elaborate scroll ornaments and floral design elements are greatly used for decoration.
Classical style buildings are known for symmetry, rational order and calm logic. Five classical orders are commonly used: Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, Tuscan and Composite. Interior decorations are multitudinous and appealing. Typical representatives of classicism architectures are large-scale majestic palaces and monumental plazas.
Classical style doors, whether rectangular, arched or wrought-iron, emphasis symmetry. Glass doors also appear with symmetrical small grids. Doors are commonly adorned with carved ornaments, statues, and floral or scroll motifs. They are also widely surmounted by triangular gables or segmental pediments, and have decorative pilasters or sculptures on both sides of the door. The wrought-iron gates are often colorful and delicately decorated with sun, scroll or flower patterns in Baroque style.
Neoclassicism is also known as the classical revival architectural style, which adopts rigorous ancient Greek and Roman architecture. It is generally used in monuments and public buildings such as parliament, courts, banks, museums, and theaters.
The neoclassical style doors are generally simple and have less decoration. The main geometries are arched and square doors. Square gates often used triangular gables in the ancient Greek period; arched doors were in the form of vaulted arches that appeared in the ancient Roman period. Doors are widely decorated with mountain flowers, scrolls, and statues. In terms of materials, there are wooden doors, iron doors, wrought iron doors, and glass doors. Wooden doors are mostly vintage with simple lines patterns; iron doors are more complicated in ornaments. No matter what the shape or material is, the neo-classical style doors strive to be retro and present a sense of history.
2013.European Architectural Materials Vol.1. 1st ed. Huazhong University of Science & Technology Press Co., Ltd.
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