The first major civilisation in Europe developed around the Aegean Sea and has proved to be a great influence on all subsequent European civilisation. The architecture of ancient Greece was the essential origin of European architecture. Through its influence on the architecture of the Roman Empire and so, indirectly, of mediaeval Europe.
Greek architecture itself did not develop in isolation. In the more remote prehistoric period distinct regional vernacular styles are discernible, in the east and north Aegean islands, especially Crete. The geography of the Aegean area stimulated navigation. Seafaring traders from the eastern Mediterranean were attracted to the Aegean by way of the southern coasts of Asia Minor, and brought knowledge of Near Eastern and Egyptian forms. An important civilisation developed on the island of Crete and thus in its turn spread to the mainland. Stimulating the communities adjacent to the Aegean.
By the fourteenth century BC the centre of power and influence had shifted to the Greek-speaking mainland, only to collapse in this disarray and poverty by the end of the twelfth century BC.
During this period Greeks had migrated from the mainland across the Aegean to the coastal regions of Asia Minor and to the Cyprus; in the period of revival which followed a more extensive movement overseas took the Greeks to North Africa (Cyrenaica), to the coasts of the Black Sea, and above all to southern Italy and Sicily. These communities contributed to the development of Classical Greek architecture often forming distinctive regional variations, that of Sicily and Italy being in its turn influential on the forms developed in Italy in the Etruscan cities and, eventually, Rome.
Subsequently, the establishment of Macedonian supremacy over Aegean Greece by Philip II and the conquest by his son, Alexander, of the Persian Empire greatly extended the area of Greek political. Intellectual and artistic domination.
Greek architecture was stimulated by Egypt and the Near East, was itself the stimulator of Roman and later European architecture. To all the arts, to literature, and to science, the Greeks brought to bear remarkable qualities of intellect and aesthetic judgement; the architecture of ancient Greece fully demonstrates the levels of their achievement.
The civilisation of Greece and the Aegean can be divided, broadly, into the prehistoric, of the second millenium BC and earlier, and the historical or Classical, which emerged after a period of poverty and retrogression around 1000 BC.
American architecture emerged as a significant force in Western culture during the nineteenth century and the accomplishments of the modern era cannot be fully understood without careful study of North American work.
The Telegraph Building, Beijing (1958), by Lin Luo-yi, the CAAC Building, Beijing (1960), by the Beijing Institute of Architectural Design, the Terminal Building of Hangzhou Airport (1971), by Zhejiang Provincial Institute of Architectural Design, the Terminal Building of Urumchi Airport (1973), by the Design Office of the Building Department, the Lanzhou Railway Station, Lanzhou (1978), and many other commercial office blocks of the 1960s and 1970s are simple in form without Chinese details.