During my visit to the Temple of Isis I was struck by the architectural sophistication and I thought I would delve deeper. Egyptian temple designs emphasized order, symmetry, monumentality, and combined geometric shapes with stylized organic motifs. Elements of temple design also alluded to the form of the earliest Egyptian buildings. It wasn’t until the New Kingdom that temples were built entirely of stone. Our knowledge of what preceded them or how the design came about is necessarily slim as their predecessors did not survive, since they were mostly constructed of mudbrick. It is probable that the layout was similar to earlier temples; there must have always been a special sacred area where the statue of the god resided. This was at a higher level than the rest of the area and the later design of slightly ascending floor level copies this. Since the early structures were mostly mudbrick, it is unlikely that the finer details which we will discuss here were present, hard to carve mudbrick. The influence of materials on architecture is worth notice. Where granite, which is worked with difficulty, is the material obtainable, architecture has invariably been severe and simple; where soft stone is obtainable, an abundance of ornamention makes its appearance. Where marble is abundant and good, refinement is to be met with, for no other building material exists in which very delicate mouldings or very slight or slender projections may be employed with the certainty that they will be effective.
I wanted to write a little on the Musée des Arts et Métiers, a scientific museum like the Smithsonian, only smaller, in Paris. It was founded in 1794, during the French Revolution. It was first proposed by the abbot Henri Grégoire as a “depository for machines, models, tools, drawings, descriptions and books in all the areas of the arts and trades”. The deserted Priory of Saint-Martin-des-Champs was selected as the site of collection, which formally opened in 1802. It is a fun place for adults and children and has some really cool stuff in the collection. For instance, the airplane shown above was the original “bat-plane” created by Clément Ader, powered by a little steam engine of his own design. On 9 October 1890, Ader attempted a flight of the Éole. The aircraft took off, reaching a height of 20 cm, and flew for approximately 50 meters (160 ft), 13 years before the Wright Brothers. There are also some exhibits related to the statue of liberty including this 1/16 scale model at the entrance.
The Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers (CNAM) is a doctoral degree-granting higher education program, operated by the French government, dedicated to providing education and conducting research for the promotion of science and industry. Some of the students were enjoying the sunny day.