Renaissance architecture

The Renaissance architecture all is that building which was built during the artistic period of the European Renaissance. Thanks to this architectural style, different types of structural innovations were produced , both in the architectural language and with the means by which they were produced.

Related topics

Baroque architecture , Gothic architecture ,  modern architecture , Roman architecture

What is Renaissance architecture?

It is an architectural style that seeks its own inspiration in classical art, which in its time was considered part of the ideal model of fine art. His artistic vision is based on two complementary pillars: humanism and classism.

  • What does it consist of
  • Characteristics of Renaissance architecture
  • History
  • Elements of Renaissance architecture
  • Styles
  • Renaissance architecture materials
  • Renaissance religious architecture
  • Renaissance architecture by country
  • Representatives
  • Examples

What does it consist of

Renaissance architecture is based on the imitation of the architectural spaces of the Italian quiattrocrento palaces , which also includes the shape of the doors. With the passage of time, this art was perfected and gradually took a more personal style towards the artist, so we can see a symbiosis of styles in all its structures around the world.

This architectural style represented a change in the way of perceiving art and the way of constructing certain buildings, thus becoming a cult throughout Western Europe at the beginning of the modern age .

Characteristics of Renaissance architecture

Each piece of information and art that encompasses Renaissance architecture, leads us to its characteristics, which are:

Supporting elements

The walls and columns are par excellence the most outstanding within these structures , since the weight support will depend on them as well as the style that it will give to the spectators.


The most important thing for Renaissance architecture was to create works that were resistant and pleasing to the eye, so all kinds of materials such as brick, marble and wood were used to make their buildings more resistant and complete at an architectural level.

Decorative elements

Golden lights, garlands, grotesque and balustrades, were only a portion of the decorative elements that are supported within Renaissance architecture, since they were expected to give more sensitivity and delicacy to the work.


Renaissance architecture was born in the mid- 15th century initially in Italy, where architectural styles such as Gothic were recently known. One of the largest and most notable architectural changes of the time was the construction of the dome of Santa María del Fiore, which despite having a totally Gothic style, was the initial starting point, so that other styles beyond those accustomed to were discovered.

Brunelleschi , is the one who begins with an architectural tradition where I separate the medieval guilds, taking further advantage of the materials at their disposal and beginning a complete change in everything that was known until then. Donato Bustamante for his part is the one who concretizes the entire Renaissance architectural style, being the one who represents the passage from Quattrocento to Cinquecento , which many historians know as the mature age of rebirth. Bustamante managed to integrate the knowledge of ancient architecture in an unprecedented way, where all the characteristics of classical architecture stood out. The Tempietto or Templete ofSan Pietro in Montorio, in Rome, is known and studied by many as a rereading of all the previous styles and the perfection of the Renaissance style up to that moment.

Overcoming Renaissance over classism is based on the solutions that this style proposed on construction spaces, as well as the different constructions where the most common elements such as domes and vaults, were used in a totally different but functional way.

Elements of Renaissance architecture

The elements of Renaissance architecture stand out among:

  • Roof: Flat roofs with casetones. Barrel vaults, arches, domes, scallops.
  • Support: Classic columns, pilasters, pillars, pendentives.
  • Decorative: Garlands, Vegetable or candeleri, tondos.


Renaissance styles vary from one stage to another such as:

First stage: Plateresque style

This style combines new Italian ideas with the Spanish Gothic tradition , as well as local idiosyncrasy. This name originates from the facades that are decorated to the extreme and with which very detailed works could be observed.

Second stage: Purism.

At this stage, a series of characteristics are imposed where we can observe more serene and harmonious buildings as well as balanced ones, which induces us to a more orthodox and refined style.

Third stage: Herrerian style

It was initially baptized in this way in order to honor the figure of Juan de Herrera, since he dominated everything related to Spanish architecture for a whole century. This concept was carried to all the colonies of the americas, where he found fertile ground to establish himself since the urbanization gave rise to his popularization.

Renaissance architecture materials

The function of materials within architectural architecture was not only to sustain but also to offer plasticity and resistance. For which we can divide them into:

  • Natural stone materials
  • Artificial stone materials
  • Binding materials
  • Metallic materials
  • Organic materials
  • Plastic materials.

Renaissance religious architecture

The structure of the Renaissance temples had characteristics that made them very attractive and singular in view of the visitors. The semicircular arch was an essential element, since it was able to demonstrate a classic and elegant order. Its structural elements not only had a visual function, but were also part of the symbology and meaning they obtained.

The use of geometric shapes together with various elements of Greek and Roman culture were high points to give meaning beyond mythology and popular beliefs.

The elements that made it up, not only gave it luminosity, but also an angelic touch along with a harmonious architecture and well conceived for its initial purpose, which was to receive all the faithful in a sacred place, full of peace and harmony. in their spaces.

Renaissance architecture by country

  • Spain : This architectural style was used to designate the influence and development that occurs in Spain by the artistic and scientific movement, being produced in Italy in the mid-fifteenth century.
  •  Italy: Renaissance architecture began in Italy in the periods of great artistic achievements and cultural changes, which lasted from the end of the 14th century until 1600, when the transition between medieval architecture and modern European architecture was built.
  • France: The history with which this architecture is designated begins at the beginning of the modern age, which focuses on France today. This architecture belonging to the Renaissance era was gradually replacing the Gothic architecture which had been created in the 12th century.
  • England: This architecture was born in the middle of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, which is called the Elizabethan period. This architecture came having a great previous expansion in the lower countries since in other characteristics visions of the Dutch gable were acquired and great works in geometric designs which adorned the walls and walls.


One of its main representatives is Brunelleschi Filippo who in life was one of the most important authors. He was one of the first to build churches of the same style. Its second representative is Donato Bramante who was born in Rome, he is one of the greatest architects of the Italian Renaissance since he is the author of the Christ to the column and the construction of the holy Mariapresso Saint Satyr.


Among the most notable examples of Renaissance architecture, we can find:

  • The Church of Saint Étienne du Mont.
  • The Church of Saint-Eustache.


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