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Architecture - first of the arts
ARCHITECTURE, FIRST OF THE ARTS
Of all the arts, architecture is supreme. For the general public used to visiting museums filled with paintings of compact size easily hung by the hundreds, the priority given to architecture in the art world may seem strange.

But buildings are not susceptible to display in museums, when reduced to photos or models, they seem pale next to the immediate beauty of original art works.

Thus, architectural monuments are only accessible to the public by distant travel or through specialized books. Art historians have always put architecture in a different category; they have measured the value of monuments by standards other than those appropriate to smaller decorative creations in whatever medium.

So, too, in the realm of Armenian art, architecture takes pride of place. It was the first of the arts of Armenia to be seriously studied, and to this day Armenian architecture receives more scholarly attention than all of the other arts combined.

The separateness of architecture from the other arts is not due just to size, though certainly the immense mass of any building compared to other works of art is so disproportionate that no real comparison is possible, nor to the labor, in the case of architecture perforce collective, required for its creation.

Because buildings are natural vehicles for decoration, they differ from other art objects by often incorporating in themselves the two most important of the other arts: painting and sculpture.

SHAPES OF BUILDINGS
In the study of architecture, however, primary attention is not given to the decoration, but to the structural forms of buildings and their evolution.

Thus, monuments are analyzed by their architectural aspects -- the general design or look of the interior and exterior of buildings - and architectonic considerations - the methods used to construct them. Classes of buildings are studied by their plans.

Everyone is familiar with certain common types of structures; their names immediately evoke specific images: skyscraper, lighthouse, pyramid, windmill, stadium, Greek temple.

Other types of buildings are less precisely visualized, because their forms are diverse: houses and churches, for instance, vary greatly in different parts of the world. They are differentiated architectonically by materials and methods of construction, architecturally by their shape.

The form of a building is expressed by its ground plan. Simply stated, a ground plan, or just plan, is the contour of the walls of any structure with all of its entrances and other openings indicated in an overhead view of the building magically sliced away at ground level.

The thickness of the dark black lines, the size of the empty spaces for doors, reflect accurately and to scale the actual size of walls and openings.

A. PRECHRISTIAN ARCHITECTURE IN ARMENIA AND THE PLACE OF THE CHURCH
The history of Armenian architecture is in reality the history of the development of a single type of building: the church. Two observations should come to mind, each raising certain questions.

First, since the church is a Christian building for worship, and since Armenia was converted as a national entity in the early fourth century, does that mean that there is no architecture in Armenia before Christianity? No.

 
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Writer: Dickran Kouymjian
Editor: Eugenia Melkonyan
 
 
 Date Added: Tuesday September 05, 2006 10:46:23 
 




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