Building Comparison: Italian Renaissance Palazzo and Main Building at MICA

Freshman (College 1st year) ・Architecture ・MLA

The Main Building at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and Italian Renaissance Palazzo

The prosperous families of the Italian renaissance of 19th to twentieth century built their palaces and named palazzo. The palazzo style is the structure that relates to these castles. The main building at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) compares with palazzo fashion in many aspects. It was modeled to look like historical buildings of Renaissance Venice, which many American and British constructors highly cherished. However, the architects of the important building at MICA didn’t borrow everything from the Italian palazzo style. The paper is a presentation of the factors that MICA borrows from the Italian Renaissance palazzo together with the contrast between the two designs. The tales Both Italian renaissance palazzo and the main building at MICA had three stories. The stories of the palazzo are extensively decorated, with arched windows that allow aeration and natural lighting. However, the stories in the main building at MICA are relatively narrow, with many rooms. Many decorative columns with carved sculptures formed the support of the stories in the Italian palazzo that presented the deep influence of the Roman culture. On the other hand, the stories in the main building are supported by steel bars and a few columns. Although the number of the stories are similar, the architects did not borrow the foundation design.

The Financiers and Builders

The construction of the main building was financed by the prominent people of Baltimore. Notable people in the state contributed to the completion of the development. Some of them include civic leader John H.B.Latrobe, vice presidents George Warner and fielding Lucas and President William Stewart. Similarly, the Italian Renaissance palazzo was constructed by rich noblemen as their palaces. The construction of the Palazzo started in the 15th century when the royal families started to succeed in trade. Both the main building at MICA and Italian palazzo were established and implemented by the rich civil servants.

The Entrance and Interior Decorations

The entrance of the main building has the large staircase, skylight made of the stained glass together and have the names of the master planners around the entrance of the middle floor. Huge capital has been invested to renovate the gateway and to give it a modern look. On the other side, the main entrance in the Italian palazzo is an impressed with a staircase that leads to the first floor that is positioned above the ground.

There is the distinguished decoration in Italian palazzo. The building columns s are painted red, and the mosaic decorates the walls with frescoes together with the apse. Similarly, the main building is characterized by intensive decorations. The interior finishes were restored and cleaned. The finishes include the mosaic tiles, ceilings made from tin, columns made of marble together with wood wainscot. Ornamental grasses add to the beauty of the ground cover. Both architecture styles consider beauty as a necessity to the building framework.

The Exterior and Windows

The exterior of the main building entails cleaned stonework and has a well-maintained drainage system together with restored slate canopy. The roofing is made of steel which replaced the structural timbers. There is a new plaza with benches, shrubs and bike racks that cater for pedestrian landscaping. Similarly, the exterior of Italian renaissance palazzo has steel frames that support the outer walls of the is clear that the exterior of the main building at MICA highly borrowed from Italian palazzo.

The windows of the main building are colored to make the building lively. The painted shutters are very admirable, with several galleries that alternatingly alters their displays. These variables change daily. About the Italian palazzo, the central column divides its arched windows. The windows appear to produce an artistic impression. The impressive decorations dominate the features of the building. Both the main building at MICA and Italian palazzo extensively display beauty, but the Italian palazzos allow more solar lighting and outside view.

Preservation of Art and Pediments

Both architecture styles preserve pediments and artwork. The main building at MICA has a preservation program for its 19 sculptures, treating a second plaster made from marbles. The project collaborates the students, staff and entire faculty in the history of art, exhibitions, drawings, and sculptures. Similarly, the pediments of the Italian palazzo symbolized the ideal interests of the Italian state. Both architecture styles preserved its pediments in the building structures.

The Gateway and Elevated Platform

The entrance to the two architecture styles differs shortly. The gateway to the Italian palazzo was dominated by a row of townhouses whereas, in the main building, the recent completion of a modern gate strategically shows the college program, attracts attention and hence enhance the visibility of the college.

The two designs are established on a raised level ground. They are therefore firm and stable and therefore allow a wider view to the horizon. The raised platform permits the flow of the rainwater, thereby minimizing the risk of flooding. The horizontal overview makes both buildings notable from a far distance, thus livening up their environment.

Loggia and Architectural Elements

There is the widespread application of loggia in the main building whereas the Italian palazzo lacks the benefits of a loggia. The main building used the British engineering revolutionary to create an extensive living area that characterizes all the thermal and standard room benefits. Unlike the Italian palazzo, there is the warm and comfortable environment in winter and reassuring cold climate in the summer, making it possible to use the main building all the year round. Italian renaissance architects based their practices and theories on the classical Roman orders. The Renaissance was very vital in the buildings as well as literature. It was very crucial for the training architect to visit Rome to study the ruins from the ancient buildings. Classical orders and building elements such pilasters, columns, entablatures, arches, and domes form the necessary items in the Italian palazzos. During the Renaissance, architects trained as humanists helped to uplift the status of the profession. They had the vision to create structures that would be attractive and give both emotional and reasonable purpose. The construction of the main building at MICA involved the application of modern theories and ideas. The technological advancement led to the creation of new features such as skylights which were not available in the Roman palazzo.


In conclusion, the main building at MICA compares with the building styles of Italian Renaissance palazzo. The architect borrowed elements which include the number of stories, intensive decoration, the financers, the building materials, the design for the windows and the horizontal view. A few differences exist in the pattern for the gateway, the loggia, the internal and the external elements and the purpose meant for the building.

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