In this Western
society, 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 commonly
defined as ‘Orientalism’. In Edward Said’s Orientalism (1978, p.11), he stated “…a Western style for
dominating, restricting and having authority over the Orient.”. He believed that
the 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 point
of view. He argued that the Eastern and the Western cultures are two independent
forces, and Venice, where buildings are full of Eastern characteristics, is the
result of the collision between these two forces. In Ruskin’s publications
(1851-1853), he examined Venetian architecture, e.g. St. Mark’s Basilica and
Doge’s Palace and discuss their Eastern qualities in detail. Although he later
was criticised on his negligence of structural details, several architects, like
John Bentley and Edward Godwin, were also heavily influenced by Eastern
architecture and applied these ideas to their creations, for example, Westminster
Cathedral and Northampton Guildhall respectively.