The Doric Order – 6th Century B.C.

The Doric order takes its name from the origin Peloponnesian and in this order were built some of the most important buildings of Greece.

 Where the Doric Order Originated?

Greek architecture is particularly important for the whole history of Western architecture. The Doric order is the first and oldest of the Greek architectural orders, coded in the sixth century B.C. with the Ionic and Corinthian in the treatise in ten books De architectura of Vitruvius, which is the theoretical foundation of Western architecture.


A 1521 Italian language edition of De architectura, translated and illustrated by Cesare Cesariano. Manuscript of Vitruvius, the Wolbert H.M. Vroom Collection, Amsterdam (on exhibition in Brussels)

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Who was Vitruvius and Why is So Important?

Vitruvius was the only ancient Greek or Roman writer on architecture whose works survived the Middle Ages. When his handbook for Roman architects, De architectura, was rediscovered in the early 15th century, Vitruvius was at once hailed as the authority on classical architecture. Based on his writings, Italian architects of the Renaissance and Baroque periods developed an aesthetic canon that established rules for superposing the classical orders.

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The coding orders was then deepened and defined very clearly by Vignola in his famous Rule of Five Orders of Architecture .

Diffusion of the Doric Order

The Doric order was born in the Peloponnese ( hence the name ) and it spread inland greek and in the Greek colonies in Italy. In this order they are built all surviving temples of Ancient Greece and some of the most important buildings of Greece itself, including the Parthenon on the Acropolis of Athens and the Temple of Zeus at Olympia.

Exterior View of the Parthenon ca. 447-438 B.C. Acropolis, Athens, Greece
Parthenon – Atene, Greece, 447 BC

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Ruins of the Temple of Zeus at Olimpia, Greece, 470-456 BC. The most representative buildings of the Doric order.

Tempio di Zeus – Olimpia, Greece, 470-456 a.C.

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What were the Characteristics of The Doric Order:

The Doric order has a solemn and solid appearance .

  • The platform of the temple , laid on the foundation , is called euthynteria .
  • On the basis of the temple rests a platform, called crepidoma , formed by the steps leading to the temple, originally three in number, and that will increase with time .
  • The shaft of the column rests directly on crepidoma, and is therefore devoid of basis, It has grooves with a sharp edge and is tapered from bottom to top .
  • The capital is formed by two elements :

– The echino ( with a shape of a truncated cone )

– The abacus ( a simple marble slab resting sull’echino )

Above the capital is the entablature, composed from the lintel on which rests the frieze divided alternately :

  • metopes ( marble slabs decorated in bas-relief )
  • triglyphs ( rectangles vertically furrowed by three channels).

Doric style: Column and entablature

Image source: Greek column 

Where CAN WE FIND THE Doric Style TODAY?

 Are several architects over the past centuries were inspired by the Doric style for their projects.

An example is the Palazzo Te, monumental building in Mantova (Italy), the opera’s most famous architect Julio Roman, built in 1524 by Federico II Gonzaga commission.

We find:

– in the external facades, with smooth pilasters (pillars embedded in a wall) giant Doric order.

– The inner courtyard, which is also a Doric order but here on marble columns, left almost raw and surmounted by a mighty Doric entablature.


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