Development of Greek Architecture

Last Updated: 02 Aug 2020
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Same for Doric Style Visual Comparison -List the differences, similarities -Were the circumstances vastly different during the time periods of each (war, peace, etc. )? Conclusion Development of Greek Architecture: The Doric and Ionic Orders Undoubtedly, most eople have had the experience of driving around neighborhoods to look at Christmas lights with their family. We have all seen those humongous, beautiful houses or churches with the winding driveway, tall windows, or columns framing the face of the house.

However, very few people may stop to actually examine the homes and wonder about why they were made the way that they were. People may not know of the architectural structures from hundreds of thousands of years ago that are influencing those modern buildings. Columns, for example, are remnants of an era that changed the way that many cultures build structures; the height of Ancient Greece. The Doric and Ionic orders arose during that time and remain a staple in structural design. I will explain the two orders as well as compare them using two different, specific temples.

I will also give background information on the architects of each temple, on new ideas that sprung up during this time, and on events that could have influenced the development of structure in Greece and surrounding areas. During the Orientalizing Period in the seventh century, the Greeks built a temple at Prinias that resembled the Mycenaean megaron which travelers may have seen uring a Journey for trade. However, in sixth century BCE, known as the Archaic Period, Greek architects began to look to Egyptian structures such as the columnar halls in Karnak.

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With these in mind, they began to build the stone columnar temples that have become the iconic Greek style and have influenced architecture throughout the Western world. The basic Greek peristyle temple was put under the intense study of architects and philosophers who were trying the find a way to construct the 'perfect temple'. Vitruvius, a Greek writer, documented that both doric and ionic types eveloped while architects were trying to translate the styles of temples that were made of wood, mud bricks, and other less durable materials into stone and marble temples.

These would undoubtedly last longer and if they could discover the optimal proportions, they could potentially build their ideal or 'perfect' temple. People started searching for a mathematical formula that could be used to calculate the correct balance for all parts of the temple, which reflected the thinking of philosopher Pythagoras of Samos. He believed that that beauty resided in the harmony of ratios, so a Greek architect named Iktinos came up with a set roportional scheme that resulted in a formula for the best balanced temple.

Within the bounds of this formulaic approach, there developed two systems, or orders of designing the three parts of 'elevation' in a Greek temple. The three parts are the platform (stylobate), the colonnade, and the superstructure (entablature). The Doric order and the Ionic order differ in the detail and proportions of these parts. Their names are derived from the cultures and areas from which they supposedly originated (Dorians in central and southern Greece and Ionians in Athens and 'Ionia', the west coast and Asia Minor).

Both systems had the basic elements of a Greek temple (elevation from a platform, columns with a fluted shaft and a capital, entablatures with a frieze, a pediment, so on and so forth). The striking differences occurred in the designs ot these elements The Doric order was the tirst to develop during the 6th century. It had a much sturdier, squat look than the later ionic styles. The columns were thick, immense stone cuts that sat atop the stylobate. The fluted shafts were topped with a pancake-looking, simple capital that had a rectangular slab (abacus) between it and the bottom of the entablature.

Resting on the columns is the entablature which includes an architrave (closest to the columns), a frieze, a cornice, a pediment, and a raking cornice. (All of these describe the order of the temple from bottom to top). A distinctive feature of the doric order is that the frieze is broken up vertically by triglyphs and metopes. The plain, flat capital also marks a difference between the doric system and other styles. An example of a classic Doric order temple would be the Temple of Hera I which is located in Paestum, Italy (see Image #1).

It was constructed around 550 BCE and is 80 feet tall and 170 feet wide. Also referred to as the 'Basilica', its thick columns (nine across the front and back and eighteen down both sides) are closely spaced and resemble the shape of a cigar because they taper in slightly at the top. They are topped with the flat, circular capitals. Although almost the entire collection of columns remains, the majority of the entablature is no longer there. The Ionic order developed a little after the Doric Order, in the a different area.

The system began with the same basic structure of temple, including a platform or stylobate, columns (which occasionally had a base hat stood out from the shaft), a capital, and an entablature with an architrave, frieze, cornice, and pediment. However, the columns are slightly farther apart from each other and they are also more slender than the doric style. A good way to imagine an ionic temple is of it having 'lost weight'. They are not significantly taller, but may appear so because thinner columns and spacing. The capital is made of two volutes and resembles the curling ends of a scroll.

Some other distinct aspects of the Ionic system are that the frieze is left open and undivided, and also that the architrave is generally subdivided into three bands. As I previously mentioned, ionic temples also had columns with a base that was distinguishable from the fluted shaft. The Temple of Athena Sounias, located at Cape Sounia, still stands with a full entablature (see Image #3). You can see the volutes on the capitals of the slender columns. However, the frieze is divided up by triglyphs and metopes, and you can also see the smooth architrave.

Both of these reflect the elements of the original doric craftsmanship, so this piece of architecture cannot be considered exclusively ionic, as it has some doric influence. This temple was built in the middle of the 5th century, which would xplain the dualism in the style of attributes on the temple. A more modern, but basically accurate example of the Ionic style would be the University of Oslo in Norway (see image #4). The frontal steps lead up to a colonnaded porch, with columns reaching from their bases to their scroll-like capitals. The architrave is banded, but the frieze is completely smooth and open.

The pediment is also filled with figures all positioned so that they fit into triangle shape but still maintain proper proportions, which was used in previous eras. The temples themselves had various internal structures which varied depending n the architect, the region, or the purpose of the building. Some temples had columns that only went across the front (prostyle) while some had them across the front and back (amphiprostyle). Temples like the Temple of Athena Sounias and the Temple ot Hera I are reterred to as 'peristyle' because they nave columns all the way around the cella (inner sacred room) and the porch area.

However, all of the distinctive qualities of both the Doric order and Ionic order are mainly centered in features at the front of the temples, as well as their columns. The Greek architects' insistence on proportional harmony was the driving force ehind many styles between the sixth and fourth centuries. The closest that they ever came to achieving a 'perfect temple' was the Parthenon, built on the Acropolis of Athens in the mid-flfth century BCE (see Image #5).

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Development of Greek Architecture. (2018, Jun 10). Retrieved from

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