VOL: 9 NO: 2  121-134  2012-2


Stone as a determinant of architectural identity in the Florence of Renaissance



Nilüfer SAĐLAR ONAY*, Massimo RICCI**

* Istanbul Technical University, Faculty of Architecture, Istanbul, TURKEY
** UNIFI University of Florence, Florence, ITALY



Received: September 2011                 Final Acceptance: October 2012






The use of local materials together with the enlightenment of Renaissance reached to its peak in the Florence of the Early Renaissance.  For Renaissance architects, the nature of material was the basic element that determined constructional principles and beauty was the result of the logical proportional relations and constructional principles that respected the nature of material.


The purpose of the paper is to analyze the strong relation between material and architecture through the examination of local stones and their particular uses in the Florence of Renaissance.  The re-examination and re-evaluation of the use of local materials in Renaissance Architecture can make important contributions to contemporary architecture as the most important deficiency of today’s architecture can be regarded as the disengagement of architecture and material. 


In this study three most common local stone types of Florence were examined starting from their quarries. The first one, “Pietraforte” with its strong nature, becomes an element that expresses vertical constructional strength and it characterizes the facades of the city. The second, “Pietra Serena” with its dark color and homogeneous texture becomes the material of framings in order to strengthen the affect of architectural form and order. And the third, “Pietra Bigia” characterizes the horizontal surfaces of the city and becomes typical of Florence squares and streets.


The study aims to underline that, architecture that does not respect local materials and techniques become a consumer good and lack identity. The buildings all over the world lose their context and tend to be similar. In order to evaluate today’s architecture it is essential to look back to Renaissance and analyze it profoundly.


Keywords: Architectural identity, local stones, Renaissance architecture


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