European Architecture and History

History has shown us a timeless battle between aesthetics and functionality when it comes to building. European architecture has progressed through centuries to include both classic and modern elements into its designs.

Ancient architecture focused largely on religious structures and buildings which displayed their ruler’s authority. By the Middle Ages, however, Romanesque and Gothic cathedrals and abbeys began appearing across Europe and were used for public purposes as symbols of power.


The Renaissance, lasting from 14th to 17th centuries, was an intellectual and artistic revolution, reintroducing ancient Greek and Roman ideas, texts and values into society.

European architecture was profoundly changed by this conflict; architects began using classical elements in novel ways such as adding domes and cupolas into buildings.

Leonardo da Vinci’s paintings of “Mona Lisa” and “The Last Supper” illustrate its impact. Influenced by Franciscan radicalism – which rejected formal Scholasticism for nature’s beauty instead – it inspired Italian artists and poets alike to appreciate life around them.


The Baroque (also referred to as Mannerism or Rococo) was an art and architecture style which flourished from the early 17th to mid-18th centuries in Europe, typically emphasizing dramatic motion with clear, easily interpretable detail. It thrived during that period between 1695-1750.

Europe saw the Baroque movement flourish due to several influences, including Protestant Reformation. Roman Catholic churches encouraged it as a way of asserting their dominance over Europe while at the same time challenging Protestantism which was growing more influential than Catholics were at gaining power.

The Baroque style began to have an immense impact on European culture. From religious paintings and sculpture to music and architecture, this movement made an immense mark on history.


The Enlightenment was an intellectual movement which flourished across Europe between 17th and 18th centuries, founded on belief in progress and reason.

Art, philosophy and politics underwent dramatic change during this period. Its ideas inspired revolutions both in America and France and its influence can still be felt today.

Enlightenment ideas also had an enormous effect on science and international trade. Scottish economist Adam Smith famously introduced free market capitalism, while his theories on supply and demand continue to have significant ramifications across economies worldwide.


Functionalism in European architecture and history refers to a movement focused on creating buildings for specific functions rather than aesthetic reasons. Unlike other styles, functionalism did not include any major ornamental features and was typically made with basic raw materials.

Functionalism was founded on behaviorist ideas and John Dewey’s psychology; its principles also had great impact on education systems as they stressed trial-and-error learning methods as key to progress.

Functionalism’s source remains unknown, yet it has had a profound effect on European architecture and history, particularly evident in Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe’s works.


Modernism was a period of artistic and intellectual innovation that started around 1900, during which artists and thinkers rebelled against every traditional idea that Western civilization held sacred.

As industrialism and mass production rose, architects responded with innovative housing designs. Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe all sought to improve people’s lives through affordable housing with modern technologies as well as urban planning strategies.

Modernist architecture introduced a revolutionary architectural movement using steel, concrete and glass materials to craft buildings that were more geometric and functional. Additionally, they featured no unnecessary ornaments and integrated more naturally with their surroundings – thus cementing Modernism’s place as one of the most influential styles in European history and architecture.