Before the flowering of the classic Greek architectural style in the mainland there were two important periods of development in building that had come before. The Minoan (c. 2600–1100 BCE) and Mycenaean (c. 2800–1100 B.C.E.) civilizations prospered in the island of Crete and in mainland Greece for close to 2,000 years. Many of their accomplishments in art and architecture were unknown to the Greeks of the seventh and sixth centuries BCE but some memory of their accomplishments was preserved in mythology and epic poetry such as the Iliad and the Odyssey of Homer, and some archeological traces of their structures survived. The Minoans are known by the modern name given to them resulting from the mythical king Minos who was said to have a great palace at Knossos in Crete. The Palace of Knossos is an excellent representation of Minoan architecture.
The Mycenaean peoples, named after Mycenae, the most prominent city on mainland Greece at this time, were driven by a new attitude toward architecture and building. The Mycenaean’s were a dominating culture and soon expanded from the mainland of Greece into the Greek isles. They began building compact citadels and fortresses protected by massive walls instead of large extensive palace complexes. A good example of this architectural innovation can be found at the citadel at Tiryns.
The main difference between these architectural structures is the geography. Minoan’s, which where located on an island, provided some defense against invaders and marauders so the art of fortification and fortress building was not especially developed. Although both cultures had their purpose for why they design what they design. The most noticeable similarities in these two designs are their complex corridors. Both civilization employed complex barriers that limited the power of the invaders attacking the palace. The Palace of Knossos building were design in a maze-like whereas over at Tiryns there was a long approaching ramp that force the enemies to expose there unshielded self’s to the defenders.
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