Sunday, June 10, 2007

Google Sketch-up

Google Sketch-up looks like a fun way to play around with 3-D drawings of buildings. My daughter, who has just finished a year of computer techincal drafting, is playing around with it right now. I'll have her report more on it later.

Hat-tip to Melissa Wiley at The Lilting House for the awesome tip (she has a few more details in her post)!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Great Buildings of Ancient Rome

General Links:

The Arch: Glory of the Architecture of Rome

Individual Buildings:

The Colosseum
(70-82 AD)
Rome, Italy

Hadrian’s Villa
(118-133 AD)
Tivoli, Italy

Great site for exploring the extensive ruins - lots of photos!

The Pantheon
(120-124 AD)
Rome, Italy

Porta Nigra
(2nd Century AD)
Trier, Germany

Brief description of how Porta Nigra was constructed
Brief history of structure

Recommended Reading:

Ancient Rome: Monuments Past and Present by R.A. Staccioli
City by David Macaulay
Pompeii: Monuments Past and Present by A. De Franciscis

Stained Glass Windows

Recommended Resources from Dover Publications:

Cathedral Stained Glass Coloring Book
Stained Glass Windows Coloring Book
Create Your Own Tiffany Windows
Art Nouveau Windows
Stained Glass Window Designs of Frank Lloyd Wright
Chartres Stained Glass Windows Postcards

Related Links:

Medieval Stained Glass Windows from Esslingen, Germany
Stained Glass Photography
Tiffany Windows at the Met
Explore Medieval Stained Glass Windows at California State University's World Images Kiosk
Stained Glass Exhibition at the Getty


Create Your Own Stained Glass Window

Major Bridges of the World

General Links:

The World's Greatest Bridges

Free Bridge Building Software from West Point (this is very detailed, educational and a lot of fun!)

Fun and Learning About Bridges

Famous Bridges:

Pons Fabricius (a.k.a. Ponte Fabricio)
(62 BC)
Rome, Italy
(Tiber River)

Pont du Gard
(19 BC)
Nimes, France

Official website (click on U.K. flag to read in English)
Great site with descriptions and very detailed photos

Ponte Milvio
(109 AD)
Rome, Italy
(Tiber River)

Well known for Constantine's "In This Sign You Shall Conquer" at the Battle of Milvian Bridge, October 28, 312

Ponte Vecchio
Florence, Italy

Structurae - Ponte Vecchio
Brief History of the Bridge

Rialto Bridge
Venice, Italy

Rialto Bridge photos

Iron Bridge
Coalbrookdale, England

Iron Bridge at Coalbrookdale (lots of photos)
Building Big Page
Ironbridge Gorge Museum

Brooklyn Bridge
New York City, New York, USA

Brooklyn Bridge Website

Forth Bridge
Firth of Forth, Scotland

Glass, Steel and Stone page on the Firth Bridge

Tower Bridge
London, England

Tower Bridge Exhibition

Golden Gate Bridge
San Francisco, California, USA

Great Churches of North America

Saint Joan of Arc Chapel, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
This medieval chapel, abandoned in France and moved to the United States in the 1920s, is believed to be the only medieval building in the Western Hemisphere still used in its original capacity. St. Joan of Arc is believed to have worshiped in this chapel.

Old Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe
near Mexico City, Mexico

A new basilica was constructed in the 1970s because this old basilica was damaged in a bombing in the 1920s and was sinking.

California Missions
Also See:
Lesley Rice's California Missions Unit Study from Heart and Mind Magazine

San Xavier del Bac
near Tucson, Arizona
Official website

Notre Dame de Montreal
Montreal, Canada

Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
Washington, D.C.

Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe
near Mexico City, Mexico
(holds 10,000-40,000 people!)

"I wish that a temple be erected here quickly, so I may therein exhibit and give all my love, compassion, help, and protection. Because I am your merciful mother, to you, and to all the inhabitants on this land and all the rest who love me, invoke and confide in me; to listen there to their lamentations, and remedy all their miseries, afflictions and sorrows. And to accomplish what my clemency pretends, go to the palace of the bishop of Mexico, and you will say to him that I manifest my great desire, that here on this plain a temple be built to me." Words of Our Lady to Juan Diego

Great Churches of Europe

(120-124 AD)
Rome, Italy

An ancient Roman temple that was converted to a Church in the 7th Century. It is considered by many to be the best-preserved of all ancient Roman buildings.

Mont Saint-Michel
(8th-19th centuries)
Brittany, France

Medieval Art and Architecture Site
Photo Collection

St. Mark’s
Venice, Italy

Santiago de Compostela
Santiago, de Compostela, Spain

A major site of pilgrimage for many centuries.

Information on the ancient pilgrimage route which has experienced a surge in interest in recent years:

Pisa Cathedral
(1063-1118 and 1261-1271)
Pisa, Italy

Also home of the more famous leaning tower of Pisa

Historic photos of the Pisa Cathedral from the Notre Dame Architecture Library

Official Tower Website

Saint Chapelle
Paris, France

Chartres Cathedral
Chartres, France

Brief history and photos

Notre Dame de Paris
Paris, France

Cathedral of Cefalu

Cefalu, Sicily

Cathedral of Cefalu

Santa Maria del Fiore
13th-14th Centuries)
Florence, Italy

St. Paul’s Cathedral (Anglican)
London, England

Melk Abbey
Melk, Austria

Church of Saint Mary
Mosta, Malta

Basilica of the Sacre Couer
Paris, France

This basilica has offered Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament since 1885.

Official website
Brief history of the Basilica

Basilica of Lourdes


Lourdes, France

"Go, tell the priests to come here in procession and to build a chapel here." Our Lady to St. Bernadette

Basilica of Our Lady of Fatima

Fatima, Portugal

Guide to the Shrine
Official Shrine Website

Great Churches of the Holy Land

The Church of the Nativity

This church dates from the time of Constantine

Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre
Jerusalem, Israel

The Church of the Visitation
Ein Karem, near Jerusalem

Great Churches of Asia

Manila Cathedral
Manila, The Philippines

Oura Catholic Church
Nagasaki, Japan

St. Basil’s Cathedral (Russian Orthodox)

Moscow, Russia

Great Churches of Africa

Church of Our Lady of Peace
Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast

The Largest Catholic Church in the World

The Four Major Basilicas of Rome

These four churches are so important to Catholic faith and history that we have feast days commemorating their dedications. They each dates back to the early church, though most of their structures have been destroyed and rebuilt numerous times over the centuries.

St. John Lateran

The first basilica was dedicated on this site in the early 300s. From that time until the 1300s, it was the principal residence of the popes. It is still officially the seat of the Patriarch of Rome. The current church dates from the 17th century.

The Feast of the Dedication of St. John Lateran is celebrated on November 9

St. Mary Major

This is the only one of the patriarchal basilicas to retain its original structure, although it has been embellished and added on to over the centuries. It is believed to be the oldest church in the west dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The lovely legend of Our Lady of the Snows is associated with the construction of this church.

The Feast of the Dedication of St. Mary Major is celebrated on August 5

St. Peter’s Basilica

This building replaced “Old St. Peter’s Basilica”, a Romanesque structure begun by Constantine in 323 on the site of the crucifixion of St. Peter. The obelisk which stands in the middle of St. Peter’s square originally stood in Nero’s circus, having been brought to Rome in 40 AD by Caligula and was thus witness to the deaths of numerous Christian martyrs, including St. Peter. It was moved to its current location in 1586. The present Basilica was constructed between 1506 and 1667.

St. Paul Outside the Walls

The site of St. Paul’s martyrdom, originally outside the city of Rome. A first, rather small, basilica was built by Constantine around 320. A larger basilica, built in 390, was destroyed by fire in 1823. The current basilica is intended to replicate the original structure.

Saint Paul’s tomb was unearthed below this church in 2006. Read more here…

The Feast of the Dedication of the Churches Sts. Peter and Paul is celebrated on November 18

Sacred Architecture

“Good architecture is the art of building beautifully and expressively.” The Catholic Encyclopedia of 1913
“Mankind was never so happily inspired as when it made a cathedral.”
Robert Louis Stevenson
“The beauty of the cathedral does not stand in opposition to the theology of the cross, but is its fruit.” (Cardinal Ratzinger, A New Song for the Lord)

Great cathedrals and basilicas of the past have survived the trials of history to stand as witness to the faith and devotion of those who have gone before us. They are catechisms that teach the faith in a unique way. One small example of the imagery that shines in these structures is the Rose window in the South transept of Chartres Cathedral in France. It includes four panels depicting four men each carrying a man on his shoulders. They symbolize the four evangelists being carried on the shoulders of the great prophets.

Materials intended especially for children:

*Cathedral by David Macaulay (be on the lookout for an error on the first page – the author mistakenly claims that Catholics worship relics of the saints.)

California Missions Coloring Book (Dover)

Cathedrals of the World Coloring Book (Dover)

+*Saint Joseph Messenger (monthly Catholic children’s magazine ) includes frequent articles on sacred buildings [website]

Cathedral Stained Glass Coloring Book (Dover)

Stained Glass Windows Coloring Book (Dover)

Chartres Stained Glass Windows Postcards (Dover)

Other materials:

*Great Cathedrals by Bernard Schutz (gorgeous coffee table type book)

+In Tiers of Glory: The Organic Development of Catholic Church Architecture Through the Ages by Michael S. Rose

+Heaven in Stone and Glass: Experiencing the Spirituality of the Gothic Cathedrals by Robert Barron

+A New Song for the Lord: Faith in Christ and Liturgy Today by Cardinal Ratzinger
The chapter entitled “Built from Living Stones” is provides a beautiful theology of the cathedral based upon The First Letter of Peter: “Come to Him, to that living stone, rejected by men but in God’s sight chosen and precious; and like living stones be yourselves built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

+Saint Peter and the Vatican: The Legacy of the Popes (Art Services International)

Online Resources:

+The Catholic Encyclopedia Online has lots of searchable information on Sacred Architecture and great Churches around the World.

Gothic Architecture Lesson Plan

Article on Minor Basilicas in the U.S.

The Shrine of the Holy Whapping

Great Buildings of the Ancient World

Ancient Egypt

Temple of Amun, Karnak, Egypt (1530-323 BC)

*Pyramid by David Macaulay

Ancient Israel
Israel: Past and Present by D. Bahat

Ancient Greece

Palace of Knossos, (1700-1380 BC), Knossos, Crete
Citadel of Mycenae, (14th-12th Centuries BC), Mycenae, Greece
The Parthenon (447-432 BC), Athens, Greece
Theater at Epidauros, (4th Century BC) Epidauros, Greece
Ancient Greece: The Famous Monuments Past and Present

Great Buildings of South America

Machu Picchu (late 15th century AD), Peru
Opera de Arame, (1992) Curitiba, ParanĂ¡, Brazil

Great Buildings of Oceania

Sydney Opera House
print-out model of the Sydney Opera House

Great Buildings of North America

Temple of the Inscriptions

Cliff Dwellings of Mesa Verde
Colorado, USA

The Statue of Liberty
New York City, USA

Empire State Building
New York City, USA

Hearst Castle
San Simeon, California

Capitol Building
Washington DC, USA

Great Buildings of Europe

Stonehenge (2700-2000 BC), Wiltshire, England
Santa Sophia (532-537 AD), Istanbul, Turkey
Tower of London (1078-1097), London, England
Louvre Museum (12th Century), Paris, France
Alhambra, Granada, Spain (1238-1358)
Globe Theatre, (1599 – burned down in 1613, rebuilt in 1990) London, England
Kronborg Castle (1585-1699), Elsinore, Denmark
Palace of Versailles (1668-1710), Paris, France
Castle Howard (1699-1726), Yorkshire, England
Castle Neuschwanstein, (1869-1892), Bavarian Alps, Germany

Great Buildings of Africa and Asia

The Great Ziggurat at Ur
(2125-2025 BC)

Treasury at Petra
(1st Century AD)
Petra, Jordan

Temple at Borobudur
(8th-9th Centuries)
Java, Indonesia

Angkor Wat
(12th century)
Angkor, Cambodia

Krak des Chevaliers
(12th-13th centuries AD)

The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall by Elizabeth Mann

The Imperial Palace/Forbidden City
(15th Century AD)
Beijing, China

Castle of the White Heron
Himeji, Japan

Taj Mahal

Potala Palace
Lhasa, Tibet

Amber Fort
(16th – 17th Century)
Amber, India

Dusit Maha Prasad
(18th Century)
Bangkok, Thailand

Petronas Towers
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Taipei 101
Taipei, Taiwan

General Resources on Great Buildings

Great Buildings Online: