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fitness which, in the early part of this Book, we have considered one of the main ingredients of beauty. If the panels of a ceiling be formed with reference to this principle, namely, how they might or could be securely framed in the timbering, the design will be fit for the purpose, and its effect will satisfy the spectator, however unable to account for the pleasure he receives. Whether the architrave be with plain square panels between it and the wall, as in the temples of the Egyptians, or as at a later period decorated with coffers, for instance in the Greek and Roman temple, the principle seems to be the same, and verifies the theory. The writer of the article “Plafond" in the Encyc, Meth. has not entered into the subject at much length, nor with the ability displayed in many other parts of that work; but he especially directs that where a ceiling is to be decorated on the plane surface with painting, the compartments should have reference to the construction. With these preliminary observations, we shall now proceed to the different forms in use. Ceilings are either flat, coved, that is, rising from the walls with a curve, or vaulted. They are sometimes, however, of contours in which one, more, or all of these forms find employment. When a coved ceiling is used, the height of the cove is rarely less than one fifth, and not more than one third the height of the room. This will be mainly dependent on the real height of the room, for if that be low in proportion to its width, the cove must be kept down; when otherwise, it is advantageous to throw height into the cove, which will make the excess of the height less apparent. If, however, the architect is unrestricted, and the proportions of the room are under his control, the height of the cove should be one quarter of the whole height. In the ceilings of rooms whose figure is that of a parallelogram, the centre part is usually formed into a large flat panel, which is commonly decorated with a flower in the middle. When the cove is used, the division into panels of the ceiling will not bear to be so numerous nor so heavy as when the ceiling appears to rest on the walls at once, but the same sorts of figures may be employed as we shall presently give for other ceilings. If the apartment is to be highly finished, the cove itself may be
decorated with enriched panels, as in the figs. 1001, 1002, 1003, 1004, 1005, 1006. In all ceilings it is desirable to raise the centre panel higher than the rest, and the main divi. sions representing the timbers in flat ceilings should, if possible, fall in the centre of the piers between the windows. 2817. Fig. 1007. shows the ceiling of a square room in two ways as given on each side of the dotted line, or it may be considered as representing the ends of a ceiling to a room whose form is that of a parallelogram. The same observation applies to figs. 1008 and 1009. The sofites of the beams should in all cases approach the width they would be
considered as the sofites of friezes of the columns of the order to which the cornice belongs, and they may be decorated with guiloches, as in fig. 1010., or with frets. (See the word “Fret" in Glossary.)
2818. In the two following figures (1011. and 1012.) are given four examples of rooms which are parallelograms on the p and above each is a section of the compartments.
2819. As to the proportion of the cornice, it ought in rooms to be perhaps rather less than in halls, salons, and the exterior parts of a building; and if the entablature be taken at a fifth instead of one fourth of the height, and a proportional part of that fifth be taken for the cornice, it cannot be too heavy. Perhaps where columns are introduced it will be better to keep to the usual proportions. Chambers, if followed, would make the proportions still lighter than we have set them down. He says that if the rooms are adorned with an entire order, the entablature should not be more than a sixth of the height nor be less than a seventh in flat-ceiled rooms, and one sixth or one seventh in such as are coved; and that when there are neither columns nor pilasters in the decoration, but an entablature alone, its height should not be above one seventh or eighth of those heights. He further says that in rooms finished with a simple cornice it should not exceed one fifteenth nor be less than one twentieth, and that if the whole entablature be used its height should not be more than one eighth of the upright of the room. In the ceilings of staircases the cornices must be set out on the same principles; indeed in these, and in halls and other large rooms, the whole of the entablature is generally used. In vaulted ceilings and domes the panels are usually decorated with panels similar to those in figs. 1001, 1002, 1003, 1004, 1005, 1006., but in their application to domes they of course diminish as they rise towards the eye of the dome. (See 2837.)
2820. The use to which rooms are appropriated, and their actual dimensions, are the
principal points for consideration in adjusting the proportions of apartments. Abstractedly
considered, all figures, from a square to the sesquialteral proportion, may be used for the
plan. Many great masters have carried the proportion to a double square on the plan;
but except the room be subdivided by a break the height is not easily proportioned to it.
This objection does not however apply to '5 galleries which are not restricted in length, 3.
on which Chambers remarks, “that in this case the extraordinary length renders it impossible for the eye to take in the whole extent at once, and therefore the comparison between the height and length can never be made.” 2821. The figure of a room, too, necessarily regulates its height. If a room, for example, be coved, it should be higher than one whose ceiling is entirely flat. When the plan is square and the ceiling flat the height should not be less than four fifths of the side nor more than five sixths; but when it leaves the square and becomes parallelogramic, the height may be equal to the width. Coved rooms, however, when square, should be as high as they are broad; and when parallelograms, their height may be equal to their width, increased from one fifth to one third of the difference between the length and width. 2822. The height of galleries should be at least one and one third of their width, and at the most perhaps one and three fifths. “It is not, however,” says Chambers, “always possible to observe these proportions. In dwelling-houses, the height of all the rooms on the same floor is generally the same, though their extent be different; which renders it extremely difficult in large buildings, where there are a great number of different-sized rooms, to proportion all of them well. The usual method, in buildings where beauty and magnificence are preferred to economy, is to raise the halls, salons, and galleries higher than the other rooms, by making them occupy two stories; to make the drawing-rooms or other largest rooms with flat ceilings; to cove the middle-sized ones one third, a quarter, or a fifth of their height, according as it is more or less excessive; and in the smallest apartments, where even the highest coves are not sufficient to render the proportion tolerable, it is usual to contrive mezzanines above them, which afford servants' lodging-rooms, baths, powdering-rooms,” (now no longer wanted ) “wardrobes, and the like; so much the more convenient as they are near the state apartments, and of private access. The Earl of Leicester's house at Holkham is a masterpiece in this respect, as well as in many others: the distribution of the plan, in particular, deserves much commendation, and does great credit to the memory of Mr. Kent, it being exceedingly well contrived, both for state and convenience.” 2823. In this country, the coldness of the climate, with the economy of those who build superadded, have been obstacles to developing the proper proportions of our apartments; and the consequence is, that in England we rarely see magnificence attained in them. We can point out very few rooms whose height is as great as it should be. In Italy, the rules given by Palladio and other masters, judging from their works, seem to be sevenfold in respect of lengths and breadths of rooms, namely, — 1. circular; 2 square; 3. the length equal to the diagonal of the square; 4 length equal to one third more than the square; 5. to the square and a half; 6. to the square and two thirds; or, 7. two squares full. As to the height of chambers, Palladio says they are made either arched or with a plain ceiling: if the latter, the height from the pavement or floor to the joists above ought to be equal to their breadth; and the chambers of the second story must be a sixth part less than them in height. The arched rooms, being those commonly adopted in the principal story, no less on account of their beauty than for the security afforded against fire, if square, are in height to be a third more than their breadth; but when the length exceeds the breadth, the height proportioned to the length and breadth together may be readily found by joining the two lines of the length and breadth into one line, which being bisected, one half will give exactly the height of the arch. Thus, let the room be 12 feet long
and 6 feet wide, *- 9 feet the height of the room. Another of Palladio's methods of
proportioning the height to the length and breadth is, by making the length, height, and breadth in sesquialteral proportion, that is, by finding a number which has the same ratio to the breadth as the length has to it. This is found by multiplying the length and breadth together, and taking the square root of the product for the height. Thus, supposing the length 9 and the breadth 4, the height of the arch will be v8 x 4 =6, the height required; the number 6 being contained as many times in 9 as 4 is in 6. 2824. The same author gives still another method, as follows: — Let the height be assumed as found by the first rule (=9), and the length and breadth, as before, 12 and 6. Multiply the length by the breadth, and divide the product by the height assumed; then
#5-s for the height, which is more than the second rule gives, and less than the first.
COMBINATION OF PARTS.
2825. THE end of architecture, without whose aid no other art can exist, is not merely to please the eye, but so to provide against the changes of the seasons as to be serviceable to man. Pleasure to the eye may, however, result from the useful, well combined with the beautiful modifications whereof it is susceptible. It is in combining thus that the genius of the architect is exhibited. The art of decorating a well-proportioned edifice is a very secondary and comparatively easy part of his work, though requiring, of course, the early cultivation of his taste and an intimate acquaintance with the parts, whereof this may be taught and that acquired; but the distribution and arrangement of the several portions on the plan, upon which every accessory is dependent, requires great knowledge and considerable experience. And in this is involved not only the general convenience and effect of the building, but what is of much consequence to the proprietor, the cost of the work. None but those practically conversant with the planning of a building would believe the saving that may be produced by proper distribution. In the case of many external breaks, for instance, much addition arises in the length of walls enclosing the edifice, without generally increasing the convenience of the interior, but always when the elevation comes to be adapted to the plan, with the certainty of breaking up the masses, and destroying the simplicity of the effect. This is mentioned merely as an instance of simplicity of plan always producing simplicity of section and elevation. The luxury and richness of decoration and the general appearance of a façade is the main source of the pleasure derivable from the exercise of the art, by persons unacquainted with it; and it is curious that these are the only matters with which the reviewer-critics of the day trust themselves, well knowing how quickly their ignorance would be discovered the moment they should pass the threshold, and discourse on the economy and distribution of a building. It is, indeed, singular in these days of art-reviewing, that for the last twenty years not a single paper of any value has appeared in any of the periodicals, in which the writer has ventured on that part of the subject. The fact is, that the number is very limited of those who can comprehend the plan of a building, or who, on walking over it, can so arrange in their minds the distribution of the several portions as to have the smallest notion whether it has been skilfully composed. The spectator, like the reviewer, looks at the façade, perhaps connects it in an angular view with one of the flanks, says it is heavy and mean, or grand and magnificent, according to his temperament and education, always excusing himself by admitting he does not understand architecture, but “he knows what pleases him.” Now we doubt whether such persons in reality do know what pleases them, and we are certain they would be more suited for judges if they had “reason for the faith" that is in them.
2826. All ornament in architecture is non-essential, inasmuch as the pleasure received by the eye is not its end. To public and private utility, the welfare and comforts of individuals, which are the ends of the art, every other point must be sacrificed; and it is only when these have been accomplished that we are to think of decoration. We well remember the time, in our younger days, when the façade of the building to be designed was with us the important object of consideration. We have lived to know better; and the first time we seriously began, now many years since, to fall away from the error, arose from the anecdote told of a certain nobleman, who, having boasted of the beauty of the façade of his house, which within was exceedingly ill contrived, to Horace Walpole, was told that he thought the peer would do well to take the house opposite, that he might be thus always able to look at it. Those who make the internal parts of an edifice subservient to the project of a façade, and adjust their plan and section to the elevation, must be considered as making the end of less importance than the ornament of the building. Those who work in this mode produce little variety in their designs, which, numerous though they be, consist of but few different combinations, whilst those that result from the natural order of making the façade subservient to the internal parts which the plan and section impose, are susceptible of infinite variety and decoration.
2827. It is not, however, to be supposed that we are, in what has been said, sanctioning the student's neglect of careful composition and adjustment of the façades. Upon the adaptation of the different fronts of the 's to sort with the internal convenience,
the greatest care should be bestowed. It is from these his reputation is likely to flow, because they are the parts most susceptible of comprehension by the public. The architect will, upon every succeeding day's experience, find that the two objects are not incompatible; but if such a case, which is possible, arise, he had far better sacrifice the façade, considering first the comforts of those who are to inhabit the house, and then the gratification of those who are only to look at it. 2828. Durand has well observed that compositions conducted on the above principles must please. “Has not nature,” says that author, “attached pleasure to the satisfaction of our wants, and are our most lively pleasures other than the satisfaction of our most pressing wants? These wants are better satisfied in the interior distribution of a building than in the exterior.” Who leaves the Pantheon without more satisfaction than he expected from the view of the portico, fine though it be? Again, faulty as are both St. Peter's and St. Paul's, will any one who understands the subject aver that he has received more pleasure from their respective façades than from their noble interiors? The pleasurable sensations produced by both are entirely dependent on their interior distribution. But when we find that in the former of these buildings there is no mockery of a dome, the interior and exterior being as far dependent on each other as the circumstances of construction would permit, whilst the dome of the latter is worse than a mockery, the interior and exterior domes having nothing in common with each other, the last being no more than a timber leaded appurtenance to the fabric, Wren, with all his greatness, for great he was, shrinks into nothingness by the side of Michael Angelo, although the external form of the dome of London be more elegant than that of the Vatican. This is a strong but not a forced illus. tration of our opinions, the good sense whereof must be left for appreciation to our readers, who, we doubt not, on a little reflection, will concur with us. 2829. In ninety-nine cases out of a hundred the student will find that a good distribution of his plan leads him, with anything like ordinary tact, to the composition of good sections and good elevations, far better, indeed, than he could arrive at by pursuing an opposite course. In domestic Gothic architecture, this is notorious, for in that a regular distribution of the openings would often produce the tamest and least picturesque effect. The Gothic architects placed windows internally where only they would be serviceable, letting them take their chance in the exterior. It is not to be understood, because such would be rather outré, that this method will exactly suit the principles of composition in Italian architecture; but it is well known to practical men that a required opening in a particular place, instead of being a blemish, may be converted on many occasions into a beauty. Indeed, it is incontrovertibly true that distribution and disposition are the first objects that should engage the architect's attention, even of him whose great aim is to strike the attention by ornament, which can never please unless its source can be traced to the most convenient and economical distribution of the leading parts. Theorists may be laughed at, but it does not move us, nor diminish our regret to see many architects without any theory than that whereon, in an inverted position, their own wild fancies are grafted. If what we have stated be true, and from the nature of things we cannot imagine a controversy can arise upon our observations, the talent of the architect is to be estimated, as Durand properly observes, according to his solution of the two following problems: — First. For a given sum, as in private buildings, to erect the most convenient and suitable house for his employer. Second. The requisites in a building being given, as in public buildings, to erect it at the smallest possible expense. 2830. An investigation of all the modes of accomplishing these desiderata can only be fully effected in a work of much larger extent than this; but we have, in the practical parts of our volume, so prepared the reader, that he will not generally be at a loss in respect of the construction of a building, whatever its nature or destination.
2831. In the preceding parts of the work, we have described at as great a length as could be necessary the different parts that enter into the composition of a building, such the orders, windows, doors, balustrades, and the like, which may be compared to the notes of the scale used in musical composition. These were placed in the foremost rank of our arrangement, otherwise we must have been, as it were, without words for our discourse or notes for the symphony we would produce. We have, moreover, under the section on drawing, given such general hints for what the musician might technically call scoring them, as ought to leave him in no difficulty as to what now follows; and we have arrived * the period when he cannot be supposed to want further instructions in these respects.