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Whats the most famous example of Western architecture? In fiction?
January 23, 2013 2:44 PM   Subscribe

I was reading an introduction to "The Tale of Genji," and I was struck by the claim that Genji's manor is the most well known example of the architecture of the time, even though it never existed. Are there any corollaries in the West? Elsewhere?

I'm presuming the most famous architectural work in the West is the Parthenon, but I'm open to suggestions on that too.
posted by matkline to Grab Bag (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
The West is a very general term. Which time period are you referring to?
posted by beisny at 2:52 PM on January 23, 2013


It's not an exact corollary, but of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon are unique in that the gardens are the only one of the seven that may have never existed.
posted by RichardP at 2:57 PM on January 23, 2013


I'm not sure how "fame" translates - I would think famous architecture from classical legends and antiquity in general - Minos' labyrinth, the Trojan Horse, the Gordian Knot? - could be considered. Wuthering Heights surely would qualify?
posted by smoke at 3:01 PM on January 23, 2013


The Crystal Palace may fit the bill for glass and cast iron construction for its time.
posted by Atreides at 3:05 PM on January 23, 2013


The Tower of Babel?
posted by Monsieur Caution at 3:11 PM on January 23, 2013


Oh, I think I get it--do you mean fictional examples of definite, known architectural styles and building types?

Um, Camelot?
posted by Monsieur Caution at 3:14 PM on January 23, 2013


The Temple of Jerusalem? Stretching the definition of "architecture", Noah's Ark? Lots of people seem to know how many cubits are in each of its dimensions. I would have thought the most famous in all of Western history would be something from the Bible, anyways.

Also, of more recent vintage:
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.

So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round...
posted by XMLicious at 3:14 PM on January 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Pearly Gates of Heaven? Everyone knows what those look like.
posted by 2bucksplus at 3:15 PM on January 23, 2013


How about the classic children's drawing of a house? One door, one window, triangular roof, chimney. Sun shining and a fluffy cloud in the sky.
posted by trialex at 3:26 PM on January 23, 2013


Frodo's hobbit hole?

Hogwarts?
posted by sebastienbailard at 3:36 PM on January 23, 2013


Eiffel Tower? Big Ben? Statue of Liberty? It would, I think, depend on how you were defining 'well known'- Mentioned in famous literature? Historically important? Important to whom? It could be Notre Dame de Paris, or the Colosseum, or one of several locations claimed to be settings for Romeo & Juliet, or the entire city of London.

If it is any consolation, I would suggest that the actually extant Kasuga Shrine, is the best known structure from (or at least present at the time of) the period in which The Tale of Genji is set.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:34 PM on January 23, 2013


I'm sure that at the time of Bonanza (and probably still), the Ponderosa was one of the best known examples of old west ranches. Similarly Tara from Gone with the Wind for southern plantations.
posted by ckape at 4:49 PM on January 23, 2013


The Plan of St. Gall was never actually built, but I've studied it a few times and could probably navigate it if plopped down into a real life St. Gall.

Or how about the meadhall that Grendel is attacking nightly?
posted by PussKillian at 8:50 PM on January 23, 2013


My first thought for "most recognizable work of architecture in the west" is the Parthenon. But my second thought is the Colosseum. I'm going with the Colosseum in Rome.
posted by General Tonic at 9:34 AM on January 24, 2013


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