The architect Vitruvius The first extant written work on the subject of architecture is De architectura, published in the early first century AD by the Roman architect Vitruvius. It contains a detailed description of building techniques including masonry, woodworking, and metal working.
Architecture has been an important part of society since its beginning. Ancient civilizations such as Egypt's Pharaohs built using architectural designs that were copied over time with little change. After the fall of the Egyptian Empire, many architects fled to Greece where they taught others their methods of construction. This way of learning was passed down for hundreds of years before being put into books. During this time period, various cultures developed their own styles of architecture. For example, the Greeks used orthogonal (square) design elements invented by the Egyptians, while the Romans used round design elements invented by the Etruscans.
In the 11th century, a German monk named Brunelleschi studied ancient buildings and learned how they were constructed. He then designed and built his own buildings which inspired other architects to do the same. In 1556, Giorgio Vasari wrote a book called Le Vite de' più eccellenti architetti, scultori et pittori italiani (The Lives of the Most Excellent Italian Architects, Sculptors, and Painters).
In ancient Rome, Vitruvius Architecture was a highly serious tradition. Vitruvius, Rome's first great architect, published De Architectura in the first century BCE, Rome's first important architectural book. He was probably born around 70 years before Christ and lived until about 15 year s before Christ.
The tradition of architecture at Rome was continued by his students who put their master's ideas into practice. Among these students was Raffaello Sanzio, the creator of one of the most important styles in European art: Renaissance style. The style that emerged from this school is characterized by its emphasis on clarity of design and perfection of craftsmanship. Renaissance style is also called "the Italian style" because it was originally created for the Italians who went abroad to study. Its most important exponents were Michelangelo and Raphael in Italy and Leonardo da Vinci in France.
After the death of Raffaello Sanzio, his style of architecture was continued by his sons who added decoration to some of his plans but did not change his overall concept. In 1540, Antonio Sangiacomo built the church of Santa Maria della Pace in Rome using designs by Michelangelo's son Giacomo. This church is an example of Renaissance style with elements from other periods like Gothic and Baroque.
Filippo Brunelleschi, Leon Battista Alberti, and Andrea Palladio were three pivotal figures in Renaissance architecture. Filippo Brunelleschi (1377–1446) is largely considered as the founder of the Renaissance architectural movement. His work introduced new methods for designing buildings and planning cities that were not only beautiful but also functional. In 1401 he was commissioned to redesign the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, Italy. The project required extensive research into the mathematics of architecture and engineering, which led to many innovations in these fields.
Brunelleschi's works influenced several other architects of his time, most notably Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519). But it was another Florentine artist and architect, Giovanni di Benedetto de' Medici (1367–1441), who is credited with creating the first modern plan at the Cathedral of San Lorenzo in Florence. This plan was a complete design for a church interior that included positions for all the main artworks.
Giovanni di Benedetto de' Medici's work was later continued by his son Bartolomeo de' Medici (1389–1457) and by his grandson Luca Pacioli (1445–1510). All three men are regarded as key figures in the early development of architectural styles including Gothic, International Style, and Neoclassical architecture.
Imhotep, who flourished between 2650 and 2600 BC, is regarded as the earliest known architect and engineer. His achievements included building steps and ramps, using them to reach high places, and creating a system of canals for irrigation. He also may have constructed the pyramids at Giza.
The first true architects or engineers might be better described as master builders. They created plans for buildings that were not executed by themselves but by their disciples or assistants. For example, the Great Pyramid at Giza was built during the 28th century BC but its design probably came from earlier architects or engineers. The Pharaohs did not have a technical staff capable of designing and constructing their own monuments; rather they hired these people out to do so.
The first recorded builder was Imhotep, who lived in Egypt around 2650 BC. He is regarded as the father of architecture because of his many inventions including the ramp which used to access the upper parts of buildings such as temples and pyramids. This invention made it possible for the first time for people to build higher than their own height. Before this discovery it had been impossible to go beyond a few stories because the rest of the structure would have had to be carved out of solid rock!