Minoan architecture(1800–1300 B.C.)
A Bronze Age civilization that flourished in Crete, whose gate buildings with porches provided access to unfortified compounds. Foundation walls, piers and lintels were stone with upper walls framed in timber. Rubble wall masonry was faced with stucco and decorated with colorful wall frescoes. Ceilings were wood, as were the many columns with balloon capitals, and featured a distinct downward tapering shaft, as in the Palace of King Minos at Knossos in Crete.
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The architecture of Bronze Age Crete, which reached its apogee between the 19th and 14th century B.C. Most important were its palaces, in which a great number of rectangular rooms of various sizes, serving different functions and connected by long labyrinthine passages, were clustered around a large central courtyard. Gate buildings with columnar porches provided access to the otherwise unfortified compounds, which were generally constructed on sloping sites, utilizing terracing and split and multilevel organization of buildings with a great number of open and enclosed stairs; light wells, air shafts, elaborate drainage and sewage systems, and flushing toilets were the engineering features. Foundation walls, piers, lintels, and thresholds were built in ashlar stone; upper walls and stories in timber framework with rubblestone masonry faced by stucco and decorated by wall paintings. Ceilings were of wood, as were the frequently used columns with their typical downward-tapering shape.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.