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Classical Architecture: The Latest Architecture and News

MIT Launches New Open Access Collection of 34 Classical Architecture and Urban Studies E-books

Funded by Andrew W. Mellon and the National Endowment for the Humanities foundations as part of the Open Book Program, a collection of classic books, published between 1964 and 1998 are now available online as open access e-books through the MIT Press Open Architecture and Urban Studies book collection.

Round Pillars in Architecture: From the Classical Column to the Modern Sculptural Support

© Edgard Cesar© Edgard Cesar© Denilson Machado© Ilya Ivanov+ 47

The pillar has adorned many of the greatest monumental examples of Western architecture since antiquity, from the Doric columns of the Parthenon to the Corinthian capitals of the Pantheon portico. In the West, the legacies of these classical forms have permutated over the centuries and into modern times: the Doric columns of the Lincoln Memorial, the Ionic columns of the British museum portico, and the Villa Savoye’s pilotis are just a few examples of the classical column’s continued transformation and use over the last few centuries. Today, the round pillar continues to be used in modern design, both functionally and aesthetically. Below, we look into these elements in more detail, including their materials, construction, structural qualities, and several contemporary examples of their use.

“Making Federal Buildings Beautiful Again”: Three Comments on the Executive Order

A draft of an executive order titled “Making Federal Buildings Beautiful Again” is moving forward towards possible signing by President Donald J. Trump. The proposed document favors Classical Greco-Roman design typologies for federal buildings in Washington, DC and elsewhere throughout the USA. This order would revise the current rules that regulate the design of federal buildings contracted through the GSA (General Services Administration — a Federal agency managing the construction, administration, and upkeep of US Government buildings and real estate). It was initiated by the National Civic Art Society, a Washington, DC based nonprofit organization that disapproves of what the US government has been building for decades. According to the New York Times, the chairman of the National Civic Art Society, Mr. Marion Smith, stated that: “For too long architectural elites and bureaucrats have derided the idea of beauty, blatantly ignored public opinions on style, and have quietly spent taxpayer money constructing ugly, expensive, and inefficient buildings.” 

Executive Order Could Make America's New Federal Architecture Classical

A new executive order by Donald Trump has the potential to make new federal architecture in the United States follow the classical style. Called "Making Federal Buildings Beautiful Again", the order would require rewriting the Guiding Principles for Federal Architecture, issued in 1962, to ensure that “the classical architectural style shall be the preferred and default style” for new and upgraded federal buildings.

Capitals Of Classical Antiquity: Understand The Difference Between The 5 Orders

Whether it's to start analyzing a detail or impressing someone in conversation, understanding a classical building begins with an awareness of the different classical orders of architecture. In the historical records of architecture, the first account of the orders was written by Vitruvius: "[...] The orders came to provide a range of architectural expressions, ranging from roughness and firmness to slenderness and delicacy. In true classical design, order choice is a vital issue—it is the choice of tone," [1] which for the author, synthesizes the "architecture grammar." [2]

According to John Summerson, author of The Classical Language of Architecture, "[...] a classic building is one whose decorative elements derive directly or indirectly from the architectural vocabulary of the ancient world—the 'classical' world [...]. These elements are easily recognizable, such as, for example, the five standard types of columns that are used in a standardized way, the standard treatments of openings and pediments, or, still, the standardized series of ornaments that are employed in classical buildings." [3]

Call for Entries: The Sixth Annual Stanford White Awards

Focusing on excellence in classical and new traditional design, the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art’s (ICAA) Stanford White Awards recognize achievement in architecture, interiors, landscape, urbanism, and building craftsmanship & artisanship throughout New York, New Jersey, and Fairfield County, Connecticut. The awards program is named for Stanford White (1853-1906), of the distinguished New York firm McKim, Mead & White, whose legacy of design excellence and creativity in architecture and the related arts continues to serve as a source of inspiration and delight.

AD Classics: Acropolis of Athens / Ictinus, Callicrates, Mnesikles and Phidias

The Parthenon, perhaps the most celebrated example of Classical Greek architecture, was only the first of a series of remarkable buildings to be constructed atop the Athenian Acropolis in the wake of the Persian Wars. Led by the renowned statesman Pericles, the city-state embarked on an ambitious rebuilding program which replaced all that had been razed by the Persians. The new complex, while dedicated to the gods and the legends that surrounded the Acropolis, were as much a declaration of Athens’ glory as they were places of worship – monuments to a people who had risen from the ashes of a war to become the most powerful and prosperous state in the ancient world.

Although the western façade of the Propylaea has not survived the passage of time, its columns still stand guard at the entrance to the Acropolis. ImageCourtesy of Flickr user Thomas Hackl (licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0)Courtesy of Flickr user Aleksandr Zykov (licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0)Throngs make their way up the causeway to the Acropolis in this artistic imagining of the Panathenaic Procession.. ImageCourtesy of Yale University PressCourtesy of Wikimedia user Steinsplitterbot (Public Domain)+ 14

AD Classics: The Parthenon / Ictinus and Callicrates

It is unsurprising that Athens, the city widely considered to be the cradle of Western civilization, would have made as celebrated a contribution to architecture as it has to countless other human pursuits. Built on a hilltop above the contemporary city, the weathered marble complex known as the Acropolis stands as a faded remnant from the former city-state’s ancient glory years, surrounded by the products of the centuries that followed. The greatest of these landmarks, the Parthenon, captures an age long past when Athens was the wealthiest and most powerful city-state in Greece and beyond.

Courtesy of Flickr user Kristof Verslype (licensed under CC BY 2.0)The west pediment of the reconstruction of the Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee depicts Athena and Poseidon fighting for the rule of Attica while the other gods look on. ImageCourtesy of Flickr user damian entwistle (licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0)After almost 2,500 years, the Parthenon still stands tall above the city of Athens. ImageCourtesy of Flickr user Aris Gionis (licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0)The Parthenon’s columns, being narrower than typical Doric proportions dictated, served to reduce the bulk of the temple and make it appear more airy and graceful. ImageCourtesy of Wikimedia user Jebulon (licensed under CC0 1.0)+ 11