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Architecture History

Hagia Sophia, Turkey

Hagia Sophia (/ˈhɑːɡiə soʊˈfiːə/; from Koinē Greek: Ἁγία Σοφία, romanized: Hagía Sophía; Latin: Sancta Sophia, lit. ‘Holy Wisdom’), officially the Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque (Turkish: Ayasofya-i Kebir Cami-i Şerifi) and formerly the Church of Hagia Sophia, is a domed monument originally built in Constantinople (now Istanbul, Turkey) as a cathedral in the 6th century A.D. It is also known as ‘Church of the Holy Wisdom’ or ‘Church of the Divine Wisdom’, an important Byzantine structure in Istanbul, Turkey, and one of the great monuments of the world. Turkey moved to turn the 1,500-year-old Hagia Sophia, a museum since 1934, into a mosque in mid-2020. Founded as an Orthodox cathedral and later used as a mosque for centuries, the awe-inspiring structure has been a focus for religious groups trying to revive it as a Muslim worship site in recent decades.

For any structure not made of steel, Hagia Sophia’s dimensions are formidable. It is about 82 meters (270 feet) long and 73 meters (240 feet) tall. The dome is 33 meters (108 feet in diameter and its crown rises about 55 meters (180 feet) above the pavement. With the minarets and inscriptions of Islam, as well as the luxurious mosaics of Christianity, the building represents the religious changes that have taken place in the area over the years. Established in the 6th century as the cathedral for the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire (also called the Byzantine Empire), the Hagia Sophia that stands today became a mosque in 1453 with the capture of Constantinople by the Ottomans. It remained a Muslim house of worship until 1934 when it was converted into a museum by the Turkish government.

(View of Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey)

More than 50 years later, ‘Hagia Sophia’ was included by UNESCO as part of the Istanbul World Heritage Site Historic Site. The Greek geometers, Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles, designed the building. The present Justinianic structure was the third church of the same name to occupy the site, having demolished the previous one in the Nika riots. As the Episcopal See of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, it remained the largest cathedral in the world for almost a thousand years, until the completion of Seville Cathedral in 1520. It has operated as a cathedral, mosque, and now a museum in its 1,400-year life span. Constantinople was the Byzantine Empire’s capital when it was first founded. This kingdom, officially Christian, originally formed the eastern half of the Roman Empire and carried on after the fall of Rome.

The Hagia Sophia is a wholly original synthesis of a longitudinal basilica and a centralized building, with an immense 32-meter (105-foot) main dome supported by pendants and two semidomes, one on each side of the longitudinal axis. The building is almost square in style. Separated by columns with galleries above, there are three aisles and wide marble piers rise up to support the dome. The walls above the galleries and the base of the dome are perforated by windows that blind the supports in the glare of daylight and offer the appearance that the canopy floats in the air.

In order to conform with Islamic values, during Mehmed II’s rule of the Ottoman Empire from 1451 to 1481, many of Hagia Sophia’s sublime works of art were plastered over. The grand mosaics of six-winged angels and other Christian figures were replaced by bold flowing lines of Arabic calligraphy on hanging roundels and a beautiful marble mihrab, showing the direction of Mecca. The vast interior has an intricate structure. The nave is enclosed by a central dome that is 55.6 m (182 ft 5 in from the floor and stands on an arcade of 40 arched windows at its height. Repairs to its construction left the dome somewhat elliptical, ranging in diameter from 31.24 to 30.86 m (102 ft 6 in and 101 ft 3 in).

Arched openings extended by half domes of equal diameter to the central dome on the western entrance and eastern liturgical side, borne on smaller semi-domed exedrae; a hierarchy of dome-headed elements constructed to create a massive oblong interior crowned by the central dome, with a simple span of 76.2 m (250 ft). Staff undertook significant repairs following the naming of the museum, such as carefully chipping away plaster to expose hidden mosaics. Along with the high upper gallery, they can partly be seen sparkling with glints of gold tile.

The original church on Hagia Sophia’s site is said to have been ordered to be built on the foundations of a pagan temple by Constantine I in 325. It was consecrated by his son, Constantius II, in 360. The main entrance to the church was facing west, perhaps with gilded doors and an additional entrance to the east. There was a central pulpit, and there was presumably an upper gallery, likely employed as a matroneum (section of women). A fire that erupted during a riot following the second banishment of St. John Chrysostom, then patriarch of Constantinople, destroyed it in 404. By the Roman emperor Constans I, it was restored and expanded.

The interior surfaces of the cathedral were sheathed with polychrome marbles, purple porphyry in green and white, and gold mosaics. During renovations in the 19th century at the behest of the Fossati architects, the exterior was covered in stucco tinted yellow and red. The structure now standing is basically the building of the 6th century, although in 558 (restored 562) an earthquake caused a partial collapse of the dome and there were two more partial collapses, after which it was repaired to a smaller scale and the entire church strengthened from the outside. In the mid-14th century, it was restored once again.

It has operated as a cathedral, mosque, and now a museum in its 1,400-year life span. Constantinople was the Byzantine Empire’s capital when it was first founded. This kingdom, officially Christian, originally formed the eastern half of the Roman Empire and carried on after the fall of Rome. It has been the cathedral of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople for more than a millennium. In 1204, the Venetians and the Crusaders of the Fourth Crusade plundered it. On 29th May 1453, Constantinople fell to the invading Ottoman forces; Sultan Mehmed entered the city and conducted Hagia Sophia’s Friday prayer and khutbah (sermon), which marked the formal conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque.

Although many travels to the historic building to gaze at its interior wonders, the exterior of the mosque is also worth exploring. Hagia Sophia’s four minarets, the Sibyan (elementary school fountain, the clock room, and the treasury building are iconic features of the daring architecture of the structure. Situated outside the house, the mausoleums of the Ottoman Sultans are equally fascinating to visit. The building was converted into a museum in 1935 by the first Turkish President and founder of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. For the first time since the renovation of the Fossatis, the carpet and the layer of mortar underneath them were removed and marble floor decorations such as the omphalion emerged, while the white plaster covering many of the mosaics was removed.

Hagia Sophia was declared a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site called the Historic Areas of Istanbul in 1985, which includes the other major historical buildings and locations of that city. Modern-day tourists will remember that there are two floors of the Hagia Sophia, the ground floor and a gallery above. The existence of the two levels may mean that when services were held at the cathedral, people were arranged according to gender and class. A controversial decision was taken by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in 2020 to transform the building back into a mosque. Shortly after the declaration, Islamic prayers with curtains partially concealing the Christian imagery of the building were conducted.

(Muslims attend Friday prayer at Hagia Sophia)

In 2020, Turkey’s government celebrated the 567th anniversary of the Fall of Constantinople with an Islamic prayer in Hagia Sophia. Hagia Sophia has remained open to tourists as Turkey’s most popular tourist destination. No entrance fee will be paid, according to the latest announcement made by the Turkish government, and all mosaics will be uncovered, except during worship, when the building will close an hour before the time of prayer and reopen half an hour later.

 

Information Sources:

  1. nationalgeographic.com
  2. britannica.com
  3. livescience.com
  4. wikipedia
Categories
Architecture

Aquascaping – a craft of arranging aquatic plants

Aquascaping – a craft of arranging aquatic plants

Aquascaping is the arrangement of rocks, driftwood, and live plants in an aquarium to create a visually appealing scene. It is a learned art form that allows you to create an underwater landscape, inspiration for many works come from both underwater locations but also natural scenes such as mountains, jungles, deserts, waterfalls, and many others. Aquascaping is the craft of arranging aquatic plants, as well as rocks, stones, casework, or driftwood, in an aesthetically pleasing manner within an aquarium—in effect, gardening underwater. It involves using basic principles of design and applying them to the aquarium.

Aquascaping is the craft of arranging aquatic plants, as well as rocks, stones, casework, or driftwood. It involves techniques of setting up, decorating, and arranging a set of natural elements such as: aquatic plants, stones, driftwood, and substrates.

Designing an aquascape can be challenging. It involves techniques of setting up, decorating, and arranging a set of natural elements such as: aquatic plants, stones, driftwood, and substrates. Aquascape designs include a number of distinct styles, including the garden-like Dutch style and the Japanese-inspired nature style. These elements are combined in such a way that it becomes aesthetically pleasing to human perception. The goal of aquascaping isn’t always to make the aquarium look like a natural waterway. Typically, an aquascape houses fish as well as plants, although it is possible to create an aquascape with plants only, or with rockwork or other hardscape and no plants. Often, inspiration is drawn from terrestrial environments, like mountains, forests, or jungles.

Aquascaping is inspired by natural landscapes. Grassy hills, rocky canyons, and pebble streams are commonly recreated. Many aquarists believe that the art of aquascaping began in the 1930s in the Netherlands following the introduction of the Dutch style aquascaping techniques. The craft of aquascaping has become increasingly popular in recent years. A comprehensive definition of the term describes aquascaping as underwater gardening.

Aquariums these days do not only display one’s interest in beautiful and fascinating species of aquatic organisms. It easily transitioned into an art form. With the increasing availability of mass-produced freshwater fish keeping products and the popularity of fish keeping following the First World War, many artists began exploring the new possibilities of creating an aquarium that didn’t have fish as the main attraction. The whole aquascaping process may seem difficult to accomplish in the beginning. But it’s not as hard as it looks if you follow a simple set of principles.

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Architecture

Houseplant Care – creating a more welcoming house

Indoor plants are great for creating a more welcoming room in your house. Houseplant care is the act of growing houseplants and ensuring they have the necessary conditions for survival and continuing growth. Taking care of plants can be tricky. This includes providing the soil with sufficient nutrients; correct lighting conditions, air circulation, and adding the right amount of water. You need to consider multiple variables, such as lighting and watering.

Houseplant care is the act of growing houseplants and ensuring they have the necessary conditions for survival and continuing growth.

Watering houseplants on a regular basis are necessary for the plant to remain healthy and thrive. If you’re a new plant parent, all of the care that goes into keeping your houseplants happy can feel a little overwhelming at first. However, most of your plants won’t need constant attention to stay healthy. They should not, however, be watered on a scheduled basis, because different plant species need different amounts of water and sunlight so it is important to know the specifics for the particular plants that are being grown. All houseplants have slightly different watering requirements, depending on how they’re grown and changes in plant growth through the seasons. It’s best to water on an as-needed basis rather than by a set calendar schedule. Not only does this improve your plant’s appearance, but it’ll actually help it to soak up more light.

Like watering, there’s not an easy rule to know how much to fertilize: It depends on the plant’s growth rate and age, and the time of year. You can prune any time of the year, but fall is a natural time to break out your pruning scissors after a summer of growth. The main reasons for pruning houseplants are to make them look better and keep them from getting too large.

Most plants need a container with drainage holes, so water doesn’t stand around their roots and cause rotting. If you keep a saucer underneath your plants to catch drips, empty it after watering. Remove and destroy diseased houseplants or affected leaves or stems as they develop to prevent the spread of the disease. Some diseases spread by insects, so keeping the insect population in check helps prevent these problems.

Houseplants sometimes also need to be cleaned of dust and greasy films that collect on the leaves when they are indoors. Almost all houseplants look better with regular cleaning. Dust collects on leaves, so wash them with a gentle shower of room-temperature water or dust them with a soft brush if the plants have hairy leaves (which can hold onto moisture and encourage disease). Dusty, grimy leaves can inhibit growth. Many houseplants are easy to grow, but they must be given appropriate care in order to thrive.

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Architecture

Building-integrated agriculture (BIA)

Building-integrated agriculture (BIA)

Urbanization is transforming human societies in many ways. Besides bringing benefits to people in cities, it also has negative impacts such as food security. Building-integrated agriculture (BIA) is the practice of locating high-performance hydroponic greenhouse farming systems on and in mixed-use buildings to exploit synergies between the built environment and agriculture. One way to meet the challenge is urban agriculture; however, traditional agricultural practices are not suitable within urban areas due to the limited availability of land. Therefore, the alternative option is to grow crops inside or on top of buildings, e.g. building integrated agriculture (BIA).

Building-integrated agriculture is the practice of locating high-performance hydroponic greenhouse farming systems on and in mixed-use buildings to exploit synergies between the built environment and agriculture.

Rooftops or basements are often overlooked spaces in which we can grow food and actually make both the building and the farm more efficient. Typical characteristics of BIA installations include – recirculating hydroponics, waste heat captured from a building’s heating-ventilation-air condition system (HVAC), solar photovoltaics or other forms of renewable energy, rainwater catchment systems, and evaporative cooling. BIA is not only about producing food, as many of the warehouse farms that we see developing around the world. The farmer has to adjust his management measures concerning variety selection, crop rotation, cultivation technology, plant nutrition, and plant protection to the natural environment.

The earliest example of BIA may have been the Hanging Gardens of Babylon around 600 BC. Integrating farming into the built environment has the potential to significantly reduce fossil fuel consumption, improve urban ecology, enhance food safety and security, enrich the lives of city dwellers, and conserve building energy. Modern examples include Eli Zabar’s Vinegar Factory Greenhouse, Gotham Greens, Dongtan, Masdar City, and Lufa Farms. Rooftop Greenhouse (RG) farming is an expanding form of BIA in developed countries where urban land is expensive, rooftops represent a considerable unutilized area, and Controlled-Environment Agriculture (CEA) technologies allow for year-round cultivation of any horticultural crop independently of local climatic conditions.

Integrated farming comprises cropping methods and other agricultural production techniques that fulfill both ecological and economic demands. Integrating farms in cities is not just a matter of building farms in empty spaces, but finding appropriate technologies for the specific farm, and establishing a network of relations with the rest of the city organisms, so there is a healthy flow of resources and the whole ecosystem becomes more sustainable. The term building-integrated agriculture was coined by Ted Caplow in a paper delivered at the 2007 Passive and Low Energy Cooling Conference in Crete, Greece.

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Architecture

Roof Garden – a garden on the roof of a building

Roof Garden

A roof garden is a garden on the roof of a building. Roof planting makes an important contribution to ecology and improving the microclimate, but we need to stop extolling the virtues of vegetable gardens on roofs. It is essentially a garden on the rooftop of building, man-made green spaces on the topmost level of residential and commercial structures. Besides the decorative benefit, roof plantings may provide food, temperature control, hydrological benefits, architectural enhancement, habitats, or corridors for wildlife, recreational opportunities, and on a large scale, it may even have ecological benefits. You need to plan beforehand the amount of space you want to use for your gardening. It depends on the amount of space and the kinds of plants and trees you can implant on your rooftop.

Roof Garden is essentially a garden on the rooftop of building, man-made green spaces on the topmost level of residential and commercial structures.

The practice of cultivating food on the rooftop of buildings is sometimes referred to as rooftop farming. People need a green environment to live in and to stay healthy. Roof gardens contribute to more green and allow us to experience the seasons. They improve the microclimate and bring the human scale back to urban environments. Rooftop gardens have been in existence for a long time now. The people of ancient Mesopotamia have grown trees and shrubs atop ziggurats.

Creating a rooftop garden seems costly if one doesn’t know where to start. That’s why a consultation from professionals–architects, landscape designers, and structural engineers–is needed. In a roof garden, do not plant large trees. Use herbs or shrubs for your gardening. In these cases, you can use hybrid saplings or a grafting method. Water the plants regularly inside your roof garden and drain them properly. If you water them twice a day, make 5-6 holes at the bottom of the tubs. Otherwise, the water will accumulate and the roots may start rotting. Spray water on the leaves twice a week. Apply fertilizer to the plants regularly. With regards to maintenance, take into consideration the types of plants and seasonality to determine the substrate and drainage systems to use.

The roof does not only provide shelter from the rain, protect us from heat and keep the house cool, nowadays it can also prevent flooding by buffering water. Rooftop farming is usually done using green roofs, hydroponics, aeroponics or air-dynaponics systems, or container gardens. Making the rooftop useful and green increases the value of your property. Moreover, a rooftop garden makes roofs useful as grounds for social activities such as play and picnics, and even for relaxation.

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Architecture

Green Roof

A green roof is a layer of vegetation planted over a waterproofing system that is installed on top of a flat or slightly–sloped roof. It is a roof of a building that is partially or completely covered with vegetation and a growing medium, planted over a waterproofing membrane. Depending on the type of green roof you install, the plants may be modular or have drainage layers. It may also include additional layers such as a root barrier and drainage and irrigation systems. However, all green roofs include a few important features, such as waterproofing and root repellent, to keep the structure safe and undamaged. Container gardens on roofs, where plants are maintained in pots, are not generally considered to be true green roofs, although this is debated.

Green roofs are suitable for retrofit or redevelopment projects as well as new buildings and can be installed on small garages or larger industrial, commercial and municipal buildings.

Rooftop ponds are another form of green roofs which are used to treat greywater. Vegetation, soil, drainage layer, roof barrier, and irrigation system constitute a green roof. The appropriate depth of any green roof depends on the roof structure, the plants are chosen, annual rainfall, and stormwater performance requirements.

The installation of a green roof reduces the need to manage any stormwater that accumulates, as well as the stress put on local sewer systems. Green roofs serve several purposes for a building, such as absorbing rainwater, providing insulation, creating a habitat for wildlife, increasing benevolence and decreasing the stress of the people around the roof by providing a more aesthetically pleasing landscape, and helping to lower urban air temperatures and mitigate the heat island effect. While green roofing can benefit you and the community, it is a costly process that can lead to some unforeseen expenses.

They fall into three main categories—extensive, intensive, and semi-intensive.

  • An extensive green roof has a shallow growing medium—usually less than six inches—with a modest roof load, limited plant diversity, minimal watering requirements, etc.
  • Intensive green roofs have more soil and a deeper growing medium—sometimes several feet—that can support a more diverse plant selection, including small trees.
  • Semi-intensive green roofs include features of both types.

Green roofs are suitable for retrofit or redevelopment projects as well as new buildings and can be installed on small garages or larger industrial, commercial and municipal buildings. Scientists and engineers are still researching the best methods for green roofing. They effectively use the natural functions of plants to filter water and treat the air in urban and suburban landscapes. They replace a hard infrastructure with one that’s not only more efficient but also beautiful and useful.

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Architecture

Green Wall – a vertical greening typology

Green Wall – a vertical greening typology

Green walls (also known as vertical gardens) have become a rising new trend of built environments in recent years. It is a vertical greening typology, where a vertical built structure is intentionally covered by vegetation. Green walls include a vertically applied growth medium such as soil, substitute substrate, or hydrocultures felt; as well as an integrated hydration and fertigation delivery system. They are vertical structures that have different types of plants or other greenery attached to them. Living green walls are a surefire way to enhance a building’s visuals, improve air quality as well as employee alertness and energy levels.

Green walls are vertically applied growth medium such as soil, substitute substrate, or hydrocultures felt; as well as an integrated hydration and fertigation delivery system.

They are also referred to as living walls or vertical gardens, and widely associated with the delivery of many beneficial ecosystem services. The greenery is often planted in a growth medium consisting of soil, stone, or water. Over the past half-century, a notable increase of urban-living seekers has led to a considerable uptick in air pollution and loss of green spaces.

There are many advantages to having green walls livening up space. First of all, the visual benefits of the living wall cannot be ignored. These walls can make us happier and more productive, as they appeal to our innate need to be around nature. Awareness of the role our surroundings play in our health and well-being will lead to new expectations towards the built environment, and the key element in re-populating our offices successfully will be to create workplaces where people feel safe to return to and spend their time in.

Living green walls (also commonly referred to as vertical gardens or living walls) are a wonderful solution for any property interested in improving their space with intrinsic benefits of nature. Green walls differ from the more established vertical greening typology of ‘green facades’ as they have the growth medium supported on the vertical face of the host wall, while green facades have the growth medium only at the base (either in a container or as a ground bed). Green walls differ from facades, which are often seen climbing up the outside walls of buildings, using them as structural support.

Living green walls infuse the dull expanse of interiors with life-renewing greenery. Green facades typically support climbing plants that climb up the vertical face of the host wall, while green walls can accommodate a variety of plant species. Green walls may be implanted indoors or outdoors; as freestanding installations or attached to existing host walls; and applied in a variety of sizes. Moreover, the greenery of facades can take a long time to grow enough to cover an entire wall, while green walls may be pre-grown.

Categories
Architecture

Foodscaping

Foodscaping is landscaping by adding edibles to your existing framework of ornamentals. It is a modern term for the practice of integrating edible plants into ornamental landscapes. The principle of foodscaping is simple because it involves designing gardens in which edible plants are grown. It is also referred to as edible landscaping and has been described as a crossbreed between landscaping and farming. By making your own edible landscaping, you will be able to create a functional and ecological living environment that will allow you to produce organic, fresh, tasty, and inexpensive food!

Foodscaping spaces are seen as multi-functional landscapes that are visually attractive and also provide edible returns. It is also referred to as edible landscaping and has been described as a crossbreed between landscaping and farming.

As an ideology, foodscaping aims to show that edible plants are not only consumable but can also be appreciated for their aesthetic qualities. Nut trees, fruit trees and shrubs, perennial or tropical vegetables, herbs, edible flowers, and medicinal plants; any of these has its place in edible landscaping. Foodscaping spaces are seen as multi-functional landscapes that are visually attractive and also provide edible returns. They have the ability to produce vegetables and fruits in abundance, year after year, with little maintenance. Using edibles in landscape design can enhance a garden by providing a unique ornamental component with additional health, aesthetic, and economic benefits.

Differing from conventional vegetable gardening, where fruits and vegetables are typically grown in separate, enclosed areas, foodscaping incorporates edible plants as a major element of a pre-existing landscaping space. It has been considered as a hybrid between farming and landscaping in the sense of having an “all-encompassing way of growing a garden, feeding yourself, and making it look pretty” with an “integrative landscape”. This may involve adding edible plantations to an existing ornamental garden or entirely replacing the traditional, non-edible plants with food-yielding species. There are plenty of reasons why you would foodscape. For one, it’s environmentally sound. Not only are you cutting down on energy costs from not having to mow your lawn, but you’re avoiding the use of chemically modified products and plants that are the most readily available options at major home and gardening supply stores. The designs can incorporate various kinds of vegetables, fruit trees, berry bushes, edible flowers, and herbs, along with purely ornamental species. Many businesses are also taking up foodscaping, making fruits, vegetables, and herbs as part of their curb appeal.

The design strategy of foodscaping has many benefits, including increasing food security, improving the growth of nutritious food, and promoting sustainable living. Edible landscaping practices may be implemented on both public and private premises. The basics of gardening, planting, pruning, dealing with pests, watering, feeding, and harvesting are all covered in detail, ensuring your success in creating a beautiful, edible landscape for your home. Foodscaping can be practiced by individuals, community groups, businesses, or educational institutions.