orders of architecture

orders of architecture.

In classical tyles of architecture the various columnar types fall, in general, into the five so-called classical orders, which are named Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, Tuscan, and Composite. Each order comprises the column with its base, shaft, and capitalcapital,
in architecture, the crowning member of a column, pilaster, or pier. It acts as the bearing member beneath the lintel or arch supported by the shaft and has a spreading contour appropriate to its function.
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 and the supported part or entablatureentablature
, the entire unit of horizontal members above the columns or pilasters in classical architecture—Greek, Roman or Renaissance. The height of the entablature in relation to the column supporting it varies with the three orders, Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian, but
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, consisting of architrave, frieze, and cornice. Each order has its own distinctive character, both as to relative proportions and as to the detail of its different parts. The entablature height is generally about one quarter that of the column; a pedestal, when used, is about one third the height of the column. For the Doric orderDoric order,
earliest of the orders of architecture developed by the Greeks and the one that they employed for most buildings. It is generally believed that the column and its capital derive from an earlier architecture in wood.
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, the Ionic orderIonic order
, one of the early orders of architecture. The spreading scroll-shaped capital is the distinctive feature of the Ionic order; it was primarily a product of Asia Minor, where early embryonic forms of this capital have been found.
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, and the Corinthian orderCorinthian order,
most ornate of the classic orders of architecture. It was also the latest, not arriving at full development until the middle of the 4th cent. B.C. The oldest known example, however, is found in the temple of Apollo at Bassae (c.420 B.C.).
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, originally developed by the Greeks, the Roman writer VitruviusVitruvius
(Marcus Vitruvius Pollio) , fl. late 1st cent. B.C. and early 1st cent. A.D., Roman writer, engineer, and architect for the Emperor Augustus. In his one extant work, De architectura (c.40 B.C., tr.
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 attempted to formulate the proportionings of their parts. In Greece the Doric was the earliest order to develop, and it was used for the ParthenonParthenon
[Gr.,=the virgin's place], temple sacred to Athena, on the acropolis at Athens. Built under Pericles between 447 B.C. and 432 B.C., it is the culminating masterpiece of Greek architecture. Ictinus and Callicrates were the architects and Phidias supervised the sculpture.
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 and for most temples. The Corinthian was little used until the Romans adapted it. They employed it more than they did any other order and introduced brackets, or modillions, in its cornice. The Roman orders made greater use of ornament than the Greek, and their column proportions were more slender. In the 15th cent. Alberti revived an interest in the work of Vitruvius. At the same time, architects made drawings of Roman ruins and applied the Roman orders rather arbitrarily to building design. In the 16th cent. a more systematic use of orders was practiced. Architectural writers, notably Serlio, Scamozzi, Vignola, Palladio, and Sanmichele crystallized the Roman versions and additions (Tuscan and Composite) into the five definitely formulated orders, with minute rules of proportion. Philibert Delorme, Claude Perrault, Abraham Bosse, and Sir William Chambers were among those who composed treatises on the subject. Using the classical orders as a basis, the designers of the Renaissance and of subsequent periods created many variations. However, during the classic revivalclassic revival,
widely diffused phase of taste (known as neoclassic) which influenced architecture and the arts in Europe and the United States during the last years of the 18th and the first half of the 19th cent.
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, a strict adherence to the proportions of the original Greek and Roman models became the rule. Though 20th-century architects are aware of the orders, they no longer use them.


See J. Summerson, Classical Language of Architecture (1966).

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