1) The amazing thing about architecture is that it is universal; someone starts a style and as move farther away from the styles origins we see how different cultures interpret it. Take for example the cathedrals built between 1200 and 1500. Many of them started with a simple design and as the design moved to different cultures it developed and transformed to meet the needs of that certain culture.
The Salisbury Cathedral is a great place start to comparing differences in designs. It is one of the earlier cathedrals that we had to compare. It was built in 1220 and completed in 1228. The landscape around the cathedral is very suburbia like. It has low lying cityscape and plenty of open space. The architecture plays around with different volumes. It has modest height throughout most of the cathedral except where the crossing tower is. The tower sores above the main part of the building towards the heavens, and can be marveled from clear across the landscape. Standing 404 ft tall it is the tallest spire in all of England. Inside the cathedral boasts beautiful stained glass to achieve a heavenly experience, vaulted ceilings, and clerestory windows to enhance the natural flow of light.
However different, the Amiens Cathedral has many similarities to the Salisbury Cathedral. Like Salisbury it has an axial progression through the nave, it also shares the same vaulting for structural purposes. One of the main differences would be Amien’s surroundings. It is more of a city area and has to be built up rather than spread out over a more open space. So in this case due to the culture and the surrounding area the design had to transform to fit its environment.
Although the Florence Cathedral is in more of a city than Salisbury it still has a design that is spread out and has one major point (the dome) that is much higher than the rest of the cathedral and towers over the city. It also shares the same ornamental ceiling that Salisbury has. Another similarity between them would be there floor plans, although Salisbury has more nooks and crannies, the two cathedrals have cross design, obviously demonstrating the religious purpose of the cathedrals.
In Germany another cathedral has been erected, the Cologne cathedral. Being in Germany it has more of a bold style to it. In Salisbury the cathedral has flying buttresses for structural support but they are not a prominent feature in the design, whereas on the Cologne Cathedral they are very prominent and a major part of its massive structure. Like Salisbury it has vaulted ceilings and also towers over its surroundings with its two spires.
Even with all of the slight variations in design the purpose of all of these cathedrals remains the same. They are all built for people to come and have a religious experience, one where they have sense of being in heaven with all of the ornate and beautiful details.
2) Life in the renaissance changed drastically. No longer were people concerned about details and ornament. It was a minimalist style where the bare necessities took center stage.
In the drawing the woman seems to be preparing a stew of some sort in the kitchen area. Because function was the only essential need, there were no comforts. The floor and the walls are bare because decoration was not a need to survive. Stone walls and wooden floors usually made up the construction of these residences. The solid materials offered protection to the families. The Great room was where most of the activity took place in the house. It was where the fireplace was (which is supposed to be the center of life, everything was done around the fireplace) they slept here, had events and gatherings, and also ate in here. The room was divided from the rest of the house with partitions usually constructed of wood. If there was any decoration in the house it was in the great room, usually on one wall hung a tapestry that told some kind of tale.
Life was all about amenities and how to survive with a minimalist approach. As long as they had warmth, food, and a place o gather with family and friends the people of the renaissance could live happily.