Palazzo Ruccelai

The Palazzo Ruccelai was one of the first works by Leon Battista Alberti. He was an Italian architect, architectural theorist, and universal genius. Albert was the most important early Renaissance architect after Filippo Brunelleschi (Gympel, 44).
The "Palazzo" originated in Florence. The monumental private building is derived from "palatium." This Latin word comes from the Roman hill which Emperor Augustus and his successors lived. During the 13th and 14th centuries, many of Italian towns were destroyed during the power struggles. This explains why the exterior of the Early Renaissance palaces were dark, defensive, raw and uninvited (Gympel, 44).
Construction on the Palazzo Ruccelai began somewhere between 1455 and 1460. Leon Batista Alberti designed the original Palace to have five bays, the center being where the door was located. Later on, two more bays were added by someone else (class notes 1/19/00). There are three stories on this building. Each story is equal in height and rustication is uniform. This "evenness" is what gives the Renaissance its name. Most buildings made at this time have similar attributes.
Each story has its own column capital to it. The ground floor has the Tucson order, the middle floor has Alberti\'s own design, and the top floor has the Corinthian order. I thought in Leon Battista Alberti\'s treaty, The Ten Books of Architecture, I would find out what each of the column capitals meant to him, but all I could find is dimension requirements for each order. The Colosseum has similarities with the Palazzo Ruccelai also. I believe some of Alberti\'s ideas came from at least the columns. It has a similar placement of the columns. They both have the Tucson order on the ground story, and the Corinthian on the top story. Where the Palazzo Ruccelai has the composite though, the Colosseum has the Ionic (Kostof 207). I wish I could find what was on the inside of this building. This could have some importance in the placement of the columns, but I came up empty.
The exterior gives no consideration to what is inside the Palazzo Ruccelai. Each window is the same, except for the two over the doors, which I could only think are used to emphasize the entry into the Palazzo. The Palazzo Ruccelai is a building that can continue to grow, as it has. It started with the original five bays, and two and a half more were added. If there was enough space, even more could be added. The last bay not being completed gives some indication of how this building can continue to grow.
The Palazzo Ruccelai is a very simply building. Everything is equal. Measurements would be simple because everything is similar in design and dimension. I wish there was more information on the Palazzo Ruccelai. I believe this is a very interesting building. Even though the last bay is incomplete, I believe it gives it a very unique quality.


Works Cited

Alberti, Leon Battista. The Ten Books of Archtecture. 1755. New York: Dover Publications Inc., 1986

Gympel, Jan. The Story of Archtecture: From Antiquity to the Present. Cambridge: Goodfellow & Egan, 1996.

Kostof, Spiro. A History of Architeture: Settings and Rituals. 2nd Ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.