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Palace: The Latest Architecture and News

AD Classics: Palais des Papes / Pierre Poisson & Jean de Louvres

While the Roman Catholic Church is synonymous with the Eternal City (and Italian capital), the greatest monument from its medieval heyday actually stands in southern France. The relic of the Papacy’s brief departure from Rome, the Palais des Papes (“Palace of the Popes”) in Avignon is the largest Gothic palace ever built. Constructed in two main phases by two of its residents, the Palais des Papes is a grandiose architectural expression of the wealth and power of the eleven popes who called Avignon their home and base of power.

Photo by Jean-Marc Rosier; courtesy of Wikimedia user Ampon (licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0) Bounded by the papal apartments and the two wings of the New Palace, the Cour d’Honneur is substantially larger than the courtyard defined by the cloisters of the Old Palace. ImagePhoto by Jean-Marc Rosier; courtesy of Wikimedia user Ampon (licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0) A 15th Century drawing of Avignon by Étienne Matellange; the Palais des Papes dominates the skyline at the top right. ImageCourtesy of Wikimedia user Aa77zz (Public Domain) A plan of the Palais des Papes drawn in 1921. The Palais Vieux, or Old Palace, is at the left, while the Palais Neuf, or New Palace, is on the right. ImageCourtesy of Wikimedia user François GOGLINS (Public Domain) + 19

AD Classics: Forbidden City / Kuai Xiang

As the heart of Imperial China from 1421 until 1912, the Forbidden City—a palatial complex in the center of Beijing—represented the divine authority of the Emperors of China for over five hundred years. Built by the Ming Emperor Zhu Di as the centerpiece of his ideal capital city, the palace would host twenty-four different emperors and two dynasties over the course of its history. Even after the subsequent democratic and communist revolutions that transformed China in the early 20th Century, it remains as the most prominent built relic of a cosmopolitan empire.[1]

A scale model of the Forbidden City, viewed facing south. ImageCourtesy of Flickr user Can Pac Swire (licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0) The golden tiles of the roof, the ends of which were adorned with auspicious icons and characters, were a key symbol of the Forbidden City’s imperial status. ImageCourtesy of Flickr user See-ming Lee (licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0) The Meridian Gate, through which visitors would pass on their way to an audience with the emperor. ImageCourtesy of Wikimedia user Jorge Lascar (licensed under CC BY 2.0) The Hall of Supreme Harmony viewed from the south. ImageCourtesy of Wikimedia user Daniel Case (licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0) + 10

AD Classics: Neuschwanstein Castle / Eduard Riedel

Looming over the small Bavarian town of Hohenschwangau are the turrets and towers of one of the world’s most famous “fairytale” castles. Schloß Neuschwanstein, or “New Swan Stone Castle,” was the fantastical creation of King Ludwig II – a monarch who dreamed of creating for himself an ideal medieval palace, nestled in the Alps. Though designed to represent a 13th-century Romanesque castle[1], Neuschwanstein was a thoroughly 19th-century project, constructed using industrial methods and filled with modern comforts and conveniences; indeed, without the technological advancements of the time, Ludwig could never have escaped into his medieval fantasy.[2]

Courtesy of Flickr user Julian Knutzen Courtesy of Flickr user Janis Courtesy of United States Library of Congress Courtesy of United States Library of Congress + 13