View Full Version : Can someone tell me practically what's good about Renaissance architecture?

04-14-2014, 05:39 PM
So I don't want to stir up a flame war here, and I do like the Renaissance architecture in the Ezio trilogy, but can someone tell me how it's good in objective terms? Architects posting on this forum are welcome.

04-14-2014, 05:41 PM
I think it would be mostly subjective..

I think that Colonial Architecture from AC3 is beautiful in its own right.

04-14-2014, 05:49 PM
meow doesn't really think so

meow find it much harder to land on meow's four paws after falling from renaissance building than meow does when meow falls from colonial building

04-14-2014, 05:54 PM
It wooks pwetty. O-O

04-14-2014, 05:55 PM
Because Godzio.

04-14-2014, 05:58 PM
Like Jexx says, it'd down to the eye of the beholder.

To describe exactly why it looks pretty, you are gonna need the architect you wanted, though.

04-14-2014, 06:35 PM
Well, visual appeal is subjective (for literally anything) so are you asking why it's considered "good" from a technical/architectural standpoint?

04-14-2014, 07:31 PM
I'm no architect, but I do love architecture and art. So basically I know just as much as ye do :P

Again, as an artform architecture is obviously subjective. However, I really do love Renaissance Architecture myself, more than, say, the colonial style. Then again, when you say Renaissance Architecture, you're probably referring to the Gothic and Romanesque cathedrals than dominated Florence and other Italian cities (and other European cities) well before the Renaissance even started (though Duomo was built I believe during the Earlu Renaissance - the Dome itself certainly was).

Personally, I love the level of detail that is always paired with such buildings in contrast to colonial buildings. Compare a church in Florence with a church in Boston - it's just not the same... Incomparable, really. The fact that pretty much all churches in Florence are well-known landmarks as opposed to Boston's "regular" and pretty much unknown chapels sums it up i think. The Florentine (or indeed Venetian or Roman) buildings are much more impressive in their verticality, detail, and overall beauty. I mean, in AC3, the churches look all the same. There's hardly any difference between. Renaissance Architecture (if you want to call it that) is much more ... unique. When you see a church or building in Florence in AC2 you KNOW it's that building, you KNOW what building it is... but in AC3 I just didn't get that with anything apart from the Prison in New York.

Kind went off the point there... but anyway, what's good about Renaissance Architecture? -> detail, uniqueness and beauty.

Not sure if that answered your question in any way. "Good" is hard to define, you know.

04-14-2014, 07:57 PM
Well the main reason people love renaissance architecture (atleast from what i've heard) is mostly because it goes back to classical principles and proportions from the ancient Romans or Greeks. Going from the (in it's own right beautiful but) messy medieval era of Gothic architecture and Romanesque architecture to something a bit more friendly and down to earth.

So in alot of ways the reasons people love renaissance architecture are the same reasons why people love ancient Roman/Greek architecture.

I personally have had no problem with any of the architecture in AC yet, as long as we don't go modern (Blegh) it's probably gonna stay that way for me.

04-14-2014, 08:43 PM
I studied architecture, which by no means makes me an expert but from an architectural point of view I admire Renaissance design very much.

It depends what you mean by practically - as in structurally? Or why it works aesthetically? The Renaissance revived a lot of Classical styles and traditions and combined them with the sudden spurt of technical, structural and engineering advances that occurred at the time. Traditions that for centuries had remained home-grown were influenced by ideas from across the world. Combine that with successful international trade, the dawn of capitalism and banking, the communication of ideas through the printing press, the wealth experienced by empires across Europe and you can begin to see why it remains so influential.

From a practical standpoint its architecture is successful on many levels, but probably most importantly that of proportion. This was something that the architecture of Antiquity used frequently - take any Greek or Roman temple as an example. The use of proportions such as that of the Golden ratio appeals to something in the mind - it's comfortable and assuring as opposed to the high ceilings and spearlike points of Gothic architecture. Renaissance architecture also used many rounded features such as domes, cupolas, arches, tympanums, portals, oculi, corbels etc. which also serve to soften otherwise hard architectural features. Symmetry and geometry also played a key part in the design.

Still further, the Renaissance encouraged rulers to sponsor the arts. In short, it became a competition between empires and kingdoms to develop the most impressive palaces and the finest statues. Artists were given free reign to develop their ideas whereas before they had been controlled. Suddenly a beautiful building wasn't limited to cathedrals and palaces but to homes, castles, even prisons. As such, the range of Renaissance architecture is vast. It lasted for over 300 years and spanned Europe and even the Middle East. It retains a strong influence today, and its effects can be seen across the world.

Technically speaking though, I'm inclined to say that Renaissance architecture wasn't necessarily revolutionary in a practical sense - much of the tradition it was based on was either copied or developed from earlier civilizations. But culturally it was incredibly significant. It stands as one of the few times in history where the development of art and science occurred and collaborated together as a unity.

04-14-2014, 09:14 PM
Not sure if off-topic, but it's kinda related to AC2 and Renaissance architecture.

One of the biggest criticisms against AC3 architecture was how buildings in the city have looked the same. I didn't really find that statement weird until recently I've got back to AC2 for a bit and ran around Florence. And you know what I've noticed? Every non-landmark building in that city looks... the same, really. And I've imagined Florence without those main landmarks. And it would've been just so boring in comparison.

So, while from the visual standpoint the appeal of the Renaissance architecture is fully subjective, if we talk about how Renaissance architecture in AC series is generally more well received than, let's say, Colonial Architecture, I think that's got to do with those landmarks that you see in the distance. In Florence you see those landmarks in the distance practically from every angle, so visually they break the monotony of Florentine architecture, but let's say Boston... might not have as many things that stand out, so you focus more on the details close by rather than on the whole picture and get to notice the repetition that's present in the architecture (that's, to be honest, somewhat unavoidable, since we're dealing with huge cities).

EDIT: Case in point. Look at this screenshot.
http://assassins-creed.ru/uploads/images/ac2/screenshot/ac2_loc (32).jpg

This is how pretty much 70% of Florence looks like (broadly speaking). Not too exciting when you think about it, is it? Buuuuut... change the perspective...

http://assassins-creed.ru/uploads/images/ac2/screenshot/ac2_loc (22).jpg

And OMG IT LOOKS AWESOME!!!! Even though the fact that 70% of it looks pretty much the same still remains, but who cares?

04-14-2014, 09:26 PM
The thing with that, was the New York and Boston were a lot larger than Florence or Venice. There are a lot of key landmarks and unique buildings in Boston and New York, but they are admittedly fewer than Florence or Venice, and they are spread much farther apart.

You see, I love the colonial architecture of AC3, and people like me might be fewer in number in that regards, so I always get a little annoyed when people say that AC3 was more bland in comparison to the Ezio games.

Also, you'd be surprised by how much architecture is actually the same in each game. The architecture in AC1 was very same-y.

I get defensive about almost everything related to AC3 >.< I feel like it's the most underrated game in the series.

04-14-2014, 09:30 PM
Also, you'd be surprised by how much architecture is actually the same in each game.

I'd not be surprised. Am a game developer, after all ;) But didn't really think about why the general perception of things when it comes to AC2/AC3 architecture is like it is now before.

04-14-2014, 10:10 PM
Also, you'd be surprised by how much architecture is actually the same in each game. The architecture in AC1 was very same-y.

AC1 had the rich/middle/poor quarters, each of which had their own very distinct style, structure and aesthetics, something which wasn't featured quite as strongly in the following games. AC1 for me had some of the most varied architecture of any AC game.

I'm not saying I agree with those that say that AC3 had less variety of buildings, but perhaps what they mean is that the general structure of buildings in a city like Boston doesn't change much. It's just a lot of terraced houses with wooden roofs. These happen to vary a lot in style, but I admit that it's quite a subtle change. Compare this with Florence and you have courtyard houses, balconies, building sites, terracotta roof tiles and more. There also seems to be a greater variation in levels - look at Constantinople, where floors and storeys and extensions jut out from everywhere. The paths travel up and down in a way that Boston and New York don't. So perhaps that's what people mean when they talk about variety.

04-14-2014, 10:24 PM
Renaissance is beautiful, especially with AC2's, "Warm" touch! Wasn't ACB Baroque design?

04-14-2014, 10:48 PM
The thing with that, was the New York and Boston were a lot larger than Florence or Venice. There are a lot of key landmarks and unique buildings in Boston and New York, but they are admittedly fewer than Florence or Venice, and they are spread much farther apart.

None of the landmarks were as distinct as the ones in Renaissance Italy. If you just look at the second screenshot Farlander posted, there are three very differently shaped landmarks. In colonial Boston and NY all you had were a few big churches and government buildings which were made to look very similar. (Possibly to make them fit into the landscape or to make them recognizable from a distance, I dunno, I'm not a historian.) You don't get the same stark contrast between sharp angles and be-domed places of worship as AC1 (which had the cathedral in Acre and the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem) and AC2.

04-15-2014, 10:08 AM
I'm an architecture student and jdowny pretty much summed it up. The renaissance marked a revival of classical proportions like the golden ratio but also saw the development of a lot of new ideas such as Leonardo da Vinci's infamous Vitruvian man which he used to develop architectural proportions that were human in scale. Much of what was going on was about tapping into what humans naturally and instinctively perceive as being beautiful such as symmetry and the golden ratio etc.

BTW I loved AC3's colonial architecture, but then I love all British colonial architecture.

04-15-2014, 02:49 PM
Iím not a big fan of Renaissance period films but in ACII, they had a totally different taste. I enjoyed it so much because it was bright, big, tall buildings, beautifully decorated and engraved. The city was so alive, while however with ACI and ACIII it felt so dead.

04-15-2014, 03:22 PM
So I don't want to stir up a flame war here, and I do like the Renaissance architecture in the Ezio trilogy, but can someone tell me how it's good in objective terms? Architects posting on this forum are welcome.

Self contradictory!

People can only explain why they like it...not why it is "good"

04-15-2014, 04:56 PM
I think it's more to do with the density rather than the architecture - for me, at least. Cities like AC1's, Florence, Constantinople, Havanna etc are very dense, colorful, all have their own particular touch that sets them apart. It's a whole package which, in my opinion, lacks in AC3, for example. It's hard to explain. Even though I think Boston and NY had their special touches and were indeed lively, its colors and wide passages and streets didn't really held their own when it came to exploring it.

Take Constantinople, for exemple. That city is amazing and so complex that sometimes I have to stop and understand the way it was built. It's a joy even if Revelations is my least favorite in the series (apart from Liberation, might I add). Each corner felt new, even if the buildings were clones from each other. Boston, on the other hand, seems to lack that kind of thought and design - it seems very plane, very open. It doesn't mean I don't like it, it's exactly how it should look. But when compared to the others, it seems to lack that charm.