Role of Platform Pyramid Essay

Pages: 6 (2297 words)  ·  Style: Chicago  ·  Bibliography Sources: 8  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Architecture

Platforms and pyramids have served many functions in antiquity. For the most part, these objects either of the natural world or made by man serve as a place of worship or symbolic reference to being closer to the heavens/god(s). The framing, manipulation and representation of the priestly or godlike ruling class as keepers of secrets and mystery often use such sites, be they chalk hills in Europe or temple pyramids in the Mayan culture to display their heavenly influence upon the world by residing or functioning as close to heaven as is humanly possible. All of the most important functions of life and worship were conducted upon these sites while in some cases they were built as monuments and/or pathways for important people to ascend to heaven, such as in the case of the hill mounds, ship burials or the great platforms of Egypt or of course its pyramids.

The development of the modern world is demonstrative of wealth, industry and technology building. To that end the secular ideologies of excess are associated with architectural similarities of platform and pyramid building on a similar scale to the pyramids and platforms of old. Skyscrapers and the cities that surround them are architectural marvels, rivaling those of the ancient world in structure, appearance and a desire to challenge the natural world.

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The modern secular world builds monuments such as the platform pyramid complexes of the ancient world, though the scale is often less grand the meaning is only slightly more practical. Skyscrapers are today's modern pyramids and though they do not attempt to bring the important people within them closer to heaven per se they are symbols of the development of wealth and influence, in much the same way as the ancient platforms and pyramids were to those who built them. The skyscraper, much like the pyramid is a demonstration of the ability of man to build outside a normal set of rational standards, to conquer the elements and live in the sky. Even the name, skyscraper is proof of this grand scheme.

Using an example from London, the famed Gherkin Skyscraper one author discusses the role that the building has played as a symbol of grandeur.

Essay on Role of Platform Pyramid Assignment

"During its short life, the Gherkin has become a potent symbol of the power and success of the 21st-century Square Mile. Johnny Vaughan dangled off it to advertise his Capital Radio show; an Olympic gymnast vaulted over its peak to push London's Olympic campaign."

Though the same author goes on to stress concerns that the Gherkin and its influential owners have had monumental trouble, as of late filling the rented space within the tower, as have others, since the 2001 terrorist attacks in the U.S., the symbol is still a high flying example of the feats of humanity. Every architect and architectural designer has an overarching goal of someday being involved in the development of a grand skyscraper, despite the fact that their building is in decline, as they prove to be illogical and poor draws for tenancy. The skyscraper is a functional and societal challenge to the elements and to the ability of science and construction to overcome the logical laws of physics. Building materials and the progress of technology have to a large degree been created, refined and manipulated to develop skyscrapers and make them real and manageable realities, regardless of the fact that appearance, rather than function often dictated the whole of the vision and determined the lengths that the monument would go as a symbol of human progress and success.

There's an instructive little story about another Fuller project, the Munsey Building erected in Washington for the Munsey periodicals. The great Stanford White drew the plans. Like many another architect, he was gifted with the ability to rise above mere practical matters. His position was--almost -- that a building's usefulness should be subordinate to its appearance."

The messages and meanings of the architecture of a skyscraper or even a large building is demonstrative of the idea that man must explore his artistic and technical skill as a monument to overcoming nature to live and work within a space that once would never have existed. In many cases these buildings, like the pyramids have proven to outstrip their practicality, almost immediately, as the pyramids proved to be a fantastic marker for official and unofficial grave robbing, where the new administration or a poor farmer might seek funding for life today, as apposed to continuing to allow the dead to reap the benefits of wealth, the skyscrapers immediately challenged building managers and their owners in very practical ways.

OVER the years the skyscrapers of America arose one after another in majesty and splendor. Amid the uproar the owner, the architect and the contractor hurried, busy and preoccupied, while another figure brooded dejectedly on the sidelines. He was the building manager; nobody consulted him till the job was done. Often when the finished building was placed in his experienced hands, he noted at once things that could have been done differently or better. Elevators were in the wrong places, columns could have been spaced to better advantage, widths and depths of offices were unrealistic. Year after year managers brought haircurling reports of these shortcomings to conventions of the national association.

The city of Dubai serves as a modern example of the Nile river valley, where its inhabitants created grand schemes to challenge the practicality of the real world. In Dubai they are happily building man made islands (ecologically sound) and skyscrapers galore to resound that they over the many who have tried are capable with wealth and privilege to challenge and even overcome the natural world and laws of physics.

"It had six million visitors last year and it is aiming for 15 million by 2010, when its 600 skyscrapers and super-malls will make Manhattan look as quaint as Chipping Camden."

From the desert, an inhospitable place to all but Bedouin nomads, who acknowledge the pull of nature by moving to instead of conquering resources, has been transformed into a modern city, with all its draw on natural resources.

The development of the city itself, is unnatural in nearly every sense of the word, as it dominates resources that it actually contains little of, demanding from the region and the world that such resources be trucked, railed, floated or flown in to meet the needs of its land and its people, secondary to cost or sustainability.

The city and the skyscraper are modern examples of platforms and pyramids in both the fundamental and spiritual senses.

"Megacities -- characterized as metropolitan areas of 10 million or more inhabitants -- have become an important focus in terms of water provisions, sanitation services and the related impact of urban development on natural resources. While basic needs of residents of smaller cities are very similar, the emphasis placed on megacities lies in the fact that these massive urban conglomerates have grown to almost unmanageable dimensions."

Though there are examples in the modern world of temple building, in a similar spirit to the platform/pyramid, including but not limited to U.S. presidential libraries and monuments to presidents, and they are often architecturally similar to platform like complex building, the sky scraper and the city are more openly representative of the modern artifices of worship.


The development of the modern world is demonstrative of wealth, industry and technology building. To that end the secular ideologies of excess are associated with architectural similarities of platform and pyramid building on a similar scale to the pyramids and platforms of old. Skyscrapers and the cities that surround them are architectural marvels, rivaling those of the ancient world in structure, appearance and a desire to challenge the natural world. For a millennium humans lived in consort with nature, and yet some developed societies felt the need to build in a manner that is wholly outside the rational and truly monumental in scale and this is true of the modern world as well.


Attia, Abdalla Abdelaziz. "Cities Spanning the Millennia: Cairo/Alexandria." In Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat: Cities in the Third Millennium, 269-288. New York: Spon Press, 2001.

David, A.R. The Pyramid Builders of Ancient Egypt: A Modern Investigation of Pharaoh's Workforce. New York: Routledge, 1996.

Green, Charles. Sutton Hoo: The Excavation of a Royal Ship-Burial. London: Merlin Press, 1963.

Long, Michael E. "Presidential Temples: How Memorials and Libraries Shape Public Memory." Presidential Studies Quarterly 37, no. 1 (2007): 176+.

Shultz, and Walter Simmons. Offices in the Sky. Indianapolis, IN: Bobbs-Merrill, 1959.

Stiebing, William H. Ancient Astronauts, Cosmic Collisions, and Other Popular Theories about Man's Past. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 1984.

Tortajada, Cecilia. "Challenges and Realities of Water Management of Megacities: The Case of Mexico City Metropolitan Area." Journal of International Affairs 61, no. 2 (2008): 147+.

"Touching the Void; Skyscrapers Are Brash Symbols of Money and Masculinity; No Wonder Developers, Architects and Mayors Are Eager to Erect Them. But with the Minerva Building on Ice and… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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Role of Platform Pyramid.  (2009, May 12).  Retrieved March 1, 2021, from

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"Role of Platform Pyramid."  May 12, 2009.  Accessed March 1, 2021.