Compare and Contrast: Palace of Fine Arts and University of Virginia Essay

Compare and Contrast: Palace of Fine Arts and University of Virginia

This essay paper is a comparative analysis of two architectural constructions, the Palace of Fine Arts and the University of Virginia. The designer behind the building of the University is Thomas Jefferson. In constructing the building, Thomas Jefferson used bricks extensively, as for the periodic manner, he used Neo-Classical. On the other manus, the architectural design of the Palace was done by Bernard Maybeck. The manner that Maybeck used in building the edifice is known as Beaux-Arts. As for the stuffs, the old building was built utilizing steel constructions and plaster as it was meant to be impermanent. The edifices portion an architectural subject in that they are both inspired by Roman architecture. The aim of this research is hence to larn how two different manners interpret from the same beginning of influence.

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Ocular Analysis

Structure One

The construction of the Palace is erected on a site that has a little semisynthetic laguna. The castle has a broad arbor that measures 340 m ( 1,100 foot ) . The formation of the arbor is an arch and it has a broad paseo that is framed by Corinthian columns placed in rows. In the center of the arbor is a rotunda that is centrally placed by the laguna ( Yu n.p ) . The purpose of the laguna was to those found in classical Europe. The unreal H2O organic structure was supposed to move as a brooding surface to mirror the brilliant construction and make a bird’s-eye position that would be appreciated from a distance. In constructing the Palace of Fine Arts, Maybeck’s purpose was to make the visual aspect of Roman ruins in decay.

Structure Two

The University’s architectural construction is a brilliant edifice that resembles the neoclassical temples of Europe. The building features a Pantheon that measures two-thirds of the graduated table ( Kostof 625 ) . The pantheon is set at the caput of a lifting promenade with interrelated columnar marquees on the wings. In its planning, the library was housed by the Rotunda while the marquees were the life quarters for lectors every bit good as talk suites. Each marquee offers an separately alone representation of the classical Roman order design ( Kostof 625 ) .

Stylistic Analysis

Structure One

The architectural manner that the Palace was built with is an look of the architectural neoclassical manner that was taught in Paris at theEcole diethylstilbestrols Beaux-Arts. Until the twelvemonth 1968, the direction manner of Beaux-Arts went on without any major breaks ( Middleton 10 ) . In the period between the old ages 1880 and 1920, the architecture in the United States was to a great extent influenced by the architectural manner of Beaux-Arts. The period between 1860 and 1914 saw the gravity of European designers who were non-French towards the academic centres of their natural states alternatively of being fixated on Paris ( Klein, Fogle, and Wolcott 38 ) . The mainstream forms of the Imperial Roman architecture were extremely emphasized by the preparation used for Beaux-Arts. These forms ranged from the period of the first emperor Augustus to those of the Severan dynasty, Italian Renaissance every bit good as Italian and Gallic Baroque. However, the preparation was applicable on a wider series of theoretical accounts. Architects from America who learned the manner of Beaux-Arts were more inclined towards the Greek theoretical accounts. This was because of the 19Thursdaycentury American Greek Revival which gave the theoretical accounts historical prominence locally.

The Beaux-Arts manner was dependent upon sculptural ornaments that were cautiously modern. It employed the usage of Italian and Gallic Baroque every bit good as Rococo designs assorted with pragmatism and impressionistic coating. Even though there was an attack of a renew spirit embodied in the manner of Beaux-Arts as opposed to a set of motives, the architectural manner included chief features such as: a level roof, symmetricalness, arched Windowss, elusive polychromy, arched pedimented doors, rusticated base with a raised first narrative and statuaries, mosaics, wall paintings, sculptures every bit good as other graphics combined in a subject that portrays the building’s individuality ( Klein, Fogle, and Wolcott 38 ) . The style’s classical architectural inside informations include acroteria, cartouches, Garlands, pilasters, bannisters, every bit good as an outstanding show of clasps with rich inside informations, back uping consoles and brackets ( Klein, Fogle, and Wolcott 38 ) .

There has been controversy every bit far as the Palace in relation to the Beaux-Art manner is concerned. The Palace was loved by the people but non given acknowledgment by the designers. Maybeck’s preparation was in conformity with the Gallic academic system but it is argued that his work is non suiting of the American Beaux-Arts architect’s ideals. This is because he restrained from adding design elements from his old plants. The Palace therefore was non able to be compared to any originals of European architecture ( Yu n.p ) . However, the Palace still bears features of the Beaux-Arts manner from its rusticated base, arches every bit good as its classical architectural inside informations like sculptures, pilasters and wall paintings.

Structure Two

The University’s architectural manner is defined by Neo-classical architecture. The manner was born of the mid 1800s neoclassical motion ( Hopkins 199 ) . The manner came approximately both as an branch of some Late Baroque features every bit good as a response against the Rococo manner that featured realistic adornment. The signifier of the architectural manner lies in the accent of the wall as opposed to chiaroscuro. It besides sustains separate individualities to each single portion ( Hopkins 199 ) . This architectural manner is picturesque and redolent and its frame is in line with the Romantic emotional response. Rationally the sense of neo-classism was to return to renaissance classism, Greek and Roman humanistic disciplines which were perceived as pure.

The neoclassical architectural manner is characterized by a expansive portico with a porch built in full tallness. To add on, the portico’s roof is supported by full classical columns that are normally fluted with capitals that are flowery Corinthian or Ionic ( Hopkins 199 ) . The manner is besides symmetrical in footings of balance ; it has a centralized entry with a balanced agreement of Windowss on its wings. The neoclassical manner characteristics subtypes that are varied in roofing manner of the portico, breadth every bit good as tallness. Portico with level and curving roofs are seldom seen. Other specifying characteristics of the manner include elegant clean lines, orderly visual aspect and monolithic edifice size. The chief signifier that the neoclassical manner is based upon is the temple ( Hopkins 199 ) . The temple represented the purest signifier of classical architecture and this was an ideal construct of the manner.

In planing the construction of the university, Jefferson blended assorted architectural manners. The edifice evokes the rules of European architecture of the Gallic, Grecian and Italian influence and is blended with the Chinese touch as good ( Jefferson and The Politicss of Architecture n.p ) . The blend of architectural influences is finally cast in edifice stuffs from America and showcased in an academic community. In an attempt to intermix the classicist manner even further, Jefferson used different stuffs from different countries. For case, the 3rd Pavilion was constructed with columns made from Italy and transported under the pretense of educational stuffs to the site, whereas the columns on the first marquee were made in Charlottesville ( Howard and Straus 189 ) . Jefferson pieced together the European architectural manners on the construction and blended them to his ain liking in an attempt to do it hold a alone American visual aspect ( Jefferson and The Politicss of Architecture n.p ) . The characteristics of the university that are characterized with the neoclassical architectural manner are chiefly the columns, the building’s portico, and particularly the temple like design of the construction which is portion of the manners ideal.

Cultural ( Historical ) Context

Structure One

The Palace of Fine Arts was built as one of the brilliant buildings of San Francisco’s Panama Pacific International Exposition in 1915 ( Kale n.p ) . It was located towards the center of the expansive building of the expounding and it stood out as the most inspiring construction at the carnival. The Fair was in award of the Pacific Ocean’s find every bit good as the Panama Canal’s completion ( Maybeck and Elder 2 ) . There was besides an added intent to the Fair which was in jubilation of its ain rejoinder after the annihilating fire and temblor of 1906 ( The Palace of Fine Arts n.p ) . Once the site had been chosen and the basis had been developed, the Palace was the last construction to be erected. In representation of its civilization, the construction of the Palace was built to demo magnificence. This was done by puting the arch’s centre behind the rotunda to avoid their homocentric alliance in rings. Due to that, a wider arch was able to be built on the same infinite ( Yu n.p ) . In its programs were a colonnade and a rotunda which amazed the commissioners and fulfilled Maybeck’s dream. The exhibition hall of the castle was built to house the graphicss of life creative person ( Maybeck and Elder 3 ) .

Another component that shows significance to the civilization and events associated with the castle is its visual aspect. The castle looks like ruins of classical antiquities. Bing hailed as the exposition’s most reliable design, Maybeck added the elements of Roman and Greek antiquity and besides incorporated his ain creativeness to do the edifice unique ( Maybeck and Elder 5 ) . His thought was influenced by the construction was from Piranesi scratching of Roman ruin ( Yu n.p ) . His ideas were that there was a feeling of unhappiness to the edifice personalized by the sense that there is a soothing influence to beauty ( Yu n.p ) .

The initial building of the castle was impermanent and non intended to last after the Fair was concluded chiefly because it was built on valuable land ( Maybeck and Elder 2 ) . With that impression in head, it was simply constructed with plaster which was supported by constructions of steel ( Yu n.p ) . The castle was nevertheless non brought down as a consequence of its influence on the people. In a saving of the civilization and influence of the castle, the destruction and rebuilding was set in gesture in 1964 ( The Palace of Fine Arts n.p ) . The columns and the rotunda were brought down and the edifice was rebuilt on a lasting footing with a steel construction merely as the initial building. The Reconstruction of the palace’s edifices was done utilizing lasting light weight concrete that was poured into topographic point. For the rotunda’s dome, steel I-beams were hoisted into topographic point ( The Palace of Fine Arts n.p ) . The sculptures and all the ornament were freshly constructed by pouring concrete onto pre-casts of the figures so as to guarantee that the eventual consequence matched the original theoretical accounts.

Structure Two

Unlike the Palace of Fine Arts, the University of Virginia’s construction was non portion of a monolithic undertaking but instead a undertaking on its ain. The edifice hails as the country’s foremost province university ( Jefferson and the Politicss of Architecture n.p ) . The building of the university edifice was non merely a general design but a design drawn by an architect full of the belief that the bosom of the American class lied within architecture. He considered a edifice as more than merely a wall construction but a symbol for the American political orientation ( Howard and Straus 187 ) . Jefferson besides perceived building as a procedure that was equal to making a state. Harmonizing to him, any American architecture was supposed to exemplify the split of cultural and political ties with Europe ( Jefferson and the Politicss of Architecture n.p ) . He therefore went forth to put the criterions of the country’s architecture aesthetically every bit good as politically.

Jefferson hence went on to transfuse his educational and cultural ideals into the design and building of the University’s edifice. In a representation of the European culture’s influence, the visual aspect of the edifice is rather classical as a consequence of Jefferson’s influence from St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome ( Jefferson and the Politicss of Architecture n.p ) . The similitude of the Basilica and the rotunda lies in their attack. The manner that leads to the Rotunda goes down towards a shaded transition lined with columns that leads to the chief focal point of the construction. Jefferson substituted the great rock Piazza with the broad natural infinite of the lawn ( Howard and Straus 189 ) . Alternatively of a position of the Italian metropolis of Rome, the university’s visitants are given a natural impressiveness of the Blue Ridge Mountains which can be viewed to the South ( Jefferson and the Politicss of Architecture n.p ) .

The university uses classical vocabulary to stand for America as the heir of European architecture manner. The aggregations of manners that are incorporated on the Lawn of the university are symbolic of the New World Order by Jefferson in both an architectural and rational sense ( Jefferson and the Politicss of Architecture n.p ) . In planing the edifice, the European imposts have been revised, borrowed, integrated and so redone in an American manner in footings of stuffs, gustatory sensations and demands ( Howard and Straus 189 ) . The conundrums within the architecture do non halt with the random aggregation of manners but goes beyond. It really extends onto the Lawn’s layout. Jefferson’s version of classical manners incorporates the mixture of architecture of the Italian Villa, together with Doric columns and Corinthian pediments every bit good as Chinese Latticework and Gallic curves ( Jefferson and the Politicss of Architecture n.p ) . He represented them in painted wood and the ruddy brick of Virginia and eventually put them across the Lawn’s unfastened public infinite in contrast with each other. The Lawn’s physical infinite is therefore transformed into a vision of rational Inquisition and wonder ( Howard and Straus 189 ) . In constructing the university, Jefferson speaks through classical architecture and thoughts. Each of the structure’s marquees is in ocular communicating with the other ( Jefferson and the Politicss of Architecture n.p ) . This consequence presents the bookmans and pupils on the Lawn with a argument from a structural every bit good as ideological position that culminates from the designer every bit good as the architecture.

Another point that is portrayed by the cultural influence of the university’s construction is apparent from the Rotunda which is symbolic of power. Unlike the Basilica, Jefferson’s version is a secular cathedral which was built in testimonial to knowledge and power with a new universe order in head. The designs done by Jefferson are bordered on the simple facets of the neoclassic manner as opposed to the elaborate decorations of the cathedral by Bramante or the swerving colonnades by Michelangelo ( Jefferson and the Politicss of Architecture n.p ) . The Rotunda is non symbolic to the ruins of the Roman Empire but instead accentuates the wonder of nature touching to the synchronism adult male and nature that is at manus in the university’s architectural stuff and its pure geometrical design ( Howard and Straus 190 ) .


The two constructions of the castle and the university are rather alone and do non associate in several facets. The two edifices are made by different designers, have different period manners and are varied in footings of their historical events as good. However, despite all these major differences, their manners are influenced from the same beginning which is the classical Roman architecture. The differences are marked by the single thoughts and constructs of the designers designs and their intent of intermixing them with the civilization and historical events during their times of building. However, beyond the differences are cardinal elements that are synonymous with the classical Roman architecture such as the classical architectural inside informations like the pilasters, sculptures and wall paintings on the castle and the Rotunda, columns and the temple like designs of the university. Conclusively even though the constructions are variously alone, these noteworthy elements from the classical Roman architecture are declarative of the inspiration behind the edifice of the constructions and how they are able to attest otherwise.

Plants Cited

Hopkins, George.Making Your Architectural Manner. Pelican Publishing, 2010.

Howard, Hugh, and Roger Straus.Thomas Jefferson, Architect: The Built Legacy of Our Third President.

New York: Rizzoli International Publications, 2003. Print.

Jefferson and the Politicss of Architecture” . Virginia. 2015.

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Kale, Shelly. “Overview: What Was the PPIE” . PPIE 100. 2015.

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Maybeck, Bernard R, and Paul Elder.Palace of Fine Arts and Lagoon: Panama-pacific International

Exposition, 1915. San Francisco: P. Elder and Co, 1915. Print.

Middleton, Robin.The Beaux-Arts: And Nineteenth-Century French Architecture. London: Thames and

Hudson, 1982. Print.

Klein, Marilyn W, David P. Fogle, and Wolcott B. Etienne.Hints to American Architecture. Washington,

District of columbia: Starrhill Press, 1986. Print.

Kostof, Spiro.A History of Architecture: Settings and Rituals. New York: Oxford University Press, 1985.


The Palace of Fine Humanistic disciplines” . Exploratorium. 1998.

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Yu, James. “Palace of Fine Humanistic disciplines” . UMD. 2015.

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