This is just an approximation of the history of architecture in the Western world as architecture is a fluid art. The historic periods do not start and stop at precise points on a calendar
Architecture in Prehistoric Times
- humans constructed earthen mounds, stone circles, megaliths, and structures
- includes monumental structures such as Stonehenge, cliff dwellings in the Americas, and thatch and mud structures.
3,050 BC to 900 BC
- powerful rulers constructed monumental pyramids, temples, and shrines.
- enormous structures such as the Pyramids of Giza were feats of engineering capable of reaching great heights.
850 BC to 476 AD
- the rise of ancient Greece until the fall of the Roman empire
- great buildings were constructed according to precise rules
- The Classical Orders, which defined column styles and entablature designs, continue to influence building design in modern times.
527 to 565 AD.
- the capital of the Roman empire moved to Byzantium (now called Istanbul) in 330 AD
- Roman architecture evolved into a graceful, classically-inspired style
- used brick instead of stone, domed roofs, elaborate mosaics, and classical forms
- Emperor Justinian (527 AD to 565 AD) led the way.
800 to 1200 AD
- heavier, stocky Romanesque architecture with rounded arches emerged.
- Churches and castles of the early Medieval period were constructed with thick walls and heavy piers.
1100 to 1450 AD
- Pointed arches, ribbed vaulting, flying buttresses, and other innovations led to taller, more graceful architecture.
- Gothic ideas gave rise to magnificent cathedrals like Chartres and Notre Dame.
1400 to 1600 AD
- return to classical ideas ushered an "age of awakening" in Italy, France, and England.
- Andrea Palladio and other builders looked the classical orders of ancient Greece and Rome.
- Long after the Renaissance era ended, architects in the Western world found inspiration in the beautifully proportioned architecture of the period.
1600 to 1830 AD
- the Baroque style is reflected in opulent and dramatic churches with irregular shapes and extravagant ornamentation.
- In France, the highly ornamented Baroque style combines with Classical restraint.
- Russian aristocrats were impressed by Versailles in France, and incorporated Baroque ideas in the building of St. Petersburg.
- Elements of the elaborate Baroque style are found throughout Europe.
1650 to 1790 AD
- the last phase of the Baroque period
- builders constructed graceful white buildings with sweeping curves.
- Rococo buildings are elegantly decorated with scrolls, vines, shell-shapes, and delicate geometric patterns.
Neoclassicism in Architecture
1730 to 1925 AD
- keen interest in ideas of Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio inspired a return of classical shapes in Europe, Great Britain and the United States.
- buildings were proportioned according to the classical orders with details borrowed from ancient Greece and Rome.
Art Nouveau Architecture
1890 to 1914 AD
- known as the New Style
- first expressed in fabrics and graphic design, the style spread to architecture and furniture in the 1890s.
- buildings often have asymmetrical shapes, arches and decorative surfaces with curved, plant-like designs.
Beaux Arts Architecture
1895 to 1925 AD
- also known as Beaux Arts Classicism, Academic Classicism, or Classical Revival,
- architecture is characterized by order, symmetry, formal design, grandiosity, and elaborate ornamentation.
1905 to 1930 AD
- Gothic ideas were applied to modern buildings
- Gargoyles, arched windows, and other medieval details ornamented soaring skyscrapers.
Art Deco Architecture
1925 to 1937 AD
- Zigzag patterns and vertical lines create dramatic effect on jazz-age
- many Art Deco motifs were inspired by the architecture of ancient Egypt.
Modernist Styles in Architecture
1900 to Present.
- dramatic changes and astonishing diversity.
- trends include Art Moderne and the Bauhaus school coined by Walter Gropius, Deconstructivism, Formalism, Modernism, and Structuralism.
Postmodernism in Architecture
1972 to Present.
- reaction against the Modernist approaches gave rise to new buildings that re-invented historical details and familiar motifs.
- ideas that date back to classical and ancient times.