Sunday, January 29, 2012

BP 3: Xiangyang Palace VS Acropolis

The Xianyang Palace in China and the Acropolis in Athens, Greece contrast in many areas although they have similar architecture detail.  Physically, the two differ in the experience, scale and use of space. The Xianyang palace was created to assert the power of the ruler who commissioned it.  It was made for daily use, even though there was restricted access.  The grand scale of the palace also exhibits the power that it shows.  It is roughly four football fields wide and almost doubled that in length. Another key element besides power is the idea of repetition. Inside the palace, thousands of terracotta people were found. They were a little bit larger than human scale, but resembled each other and stood in perfect rows facing South.  Putting the ideas of power and repetition together, the goal though these figures was to try and scare the enemies that may have tried to come into the palace.
Unlike the powerful association the Xianyang Palace has, the Acropolis is considered a temple to the gods.  It is held to be invested with divide presence form ancient times. Because it is a temple, no one is allowed to enter into the room where the statue is located. The Acropolis is not nearly as big as the palace and was built for more religious purposes.  Also, the Acropolis was created on top of a hill, known as “the city on a hill”. It faces west and is able to be seen from any point in the city as a constant reminder that the gods/goddesses are looking down on the people.  Every four years, a parade is held in Greece to where citizens are able to go near the Acropolis but in between those four years, it is not “used.” 
Architecturally, the two buildings favor each other with the use of columns and pediment on the top.  The Xiangyang palace was created to be tall because the higher the element, the closer it was to heaven. Size mattered for the Chinese.  The Acropolis pediment had a different function. It was used as more of a storyboard that told the Greek historical story behind the temples.  Also, because the size differs, the layout also differed.  The Acropolis is essentially one open, long rectangular building divided by the use of columns. The Xiangyang is a series of spaces broken up by walls.  For being thousands of miles apart, both structures have similar features but overall, they contrast in their overall function and historical ideology. 

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