In this Westernsociety, it is not difficult to trace the sign of Eastern architectural qualities,e.g. Byzantine and Islamic, and this infusion of non-western culture has been commonlydefined as ‘Orientalism’.
In Edward Said’s Orientalism (1978, p.11), he stated “…a Western style fordominating, restricting and having authority over the Orient.”. He believed thatthe Occident’s hegemony to the Orient has led to this kind of cultural imitation.However, John Ruskin, an English art critic before 1910, had a different pointof view.
He argued that the Eastern and the Western cultures are two independentforces, and Venice, where buildings are full of Eastern characteristics, is theresult of the collision between these two forces. In Ruskin’s publications(1851-1853), he examined Venetian architecture, e.g. St. Mark’s Basilica andDoge’s Palace and discuss their Eastern qualities in detail. Although he laterwas criticised on his negligence of structural details, several architects, likeJohn Bentley and Edward Godwin, were also heavily influenced by Easternarchitecture and applied these ideas to their creations, for example, WestminsterCathedral and Northampton Guildhall respectively.