Classic Style (Greek-Roman)

Classic Styles are represented by the three orders of architecture: Doric, Ionic, Corinthian. Plus two additional styles which derived from them: Tuscan and Composite.

An illustration of the Five Architectural Orders engraved for the Encyclopédie, vol. 18, showing the Tuscan and Doric orders (top row); two versions of the Ionic order (center row); Corinthian and Composite orders (bottom row).
An illustration of the Five Architectural Orders engraved for the Encyclopédie, vol. 18, showing the Tuscan and Doric orders (top row); two versions of the Ionic order (center row); Corinthian and Composite orders (bottom row).

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The Doric Order

It is the most recognizable style as it has simple circular capitals at the top of columns. Many of the most important Greek buildings use this style. Furthermore, it is the first style of Classical Architecture and it is a standard of beauty, elegance and strength. It is connected to the moment when monumental construction started using permanent materials, namely stones. Columns are fluted and are of sturdy, if not stocky, proportions, their shafts stand without a base on the Stygobite, which is the uppermost step of three or more steps of a platform called Crepidula. Capital consists of the Echinus and the quadrangular abacus and carries the architrave. The latter has frieze made of Triglyphs, square spaces for either painted or sculpted decoration, and metopes, marble slabs decorated in bas-relief.

Photo of capitals realized according to the Doric Order.
Doric Order- Kensal Green Cemetery in West London

Image source: by It’s No Game

Old tan drawing of column showing the features of Doric-Order
‘Doric-Order, Dossils, Double Fiche’

Image source: by Biblioteca Rector Machado y Nuñez

The Ionic Order

Is primarily identified by its capital, with its rolled-up cushion-like form on either side, which creates the distinctive volutes. Vitruvius describes it as a combination of Doric and Corinthian Orders.

The Ionic order incorporates a running frieze of continuous sculptural relief without the Doric triglyph and metope, yet sometimes has ornaments, such as carved figures. The Ionic column is nine times lowe than its diameter high, its shaft is eight times its lower diameter high, and it’s also marked by an entasis, or a curved tapering. A pair of volutes (scroll-shaped ornaments) decorate the capital, which is only one-third the thickness of the column.

Zoomed in photo of top of capital showing off the roof of Ionic temple.
Ionic order

Image source: by Arenamontanus

The Corinthian Order

It is the most elegant of the five orders. Its main characteristic is the striking capital, which is carved to create two rows of stylized acanthus leaves and four scrolls. The shaft has 24 sharp-edged flutes, while the column is 10 diameters high.

Zoomed in photo of arches on the inside roof of the Pantheon.
Corinthian order capitol-  The Pantheon (IX)- Pillars and columns holding the roof of the portico of the Pantheon in Rome.

Image source: by isawnyu

The Tuscan Order

It is one of the two classical orders developed by the Romans. It is not an ornate style, but it is quite solid. Although it is influenced by the Doric Order, it has unfluted columns and a simpler entablature with no triglyphs or guttae (literally dashes). The Romans did not consider this style to be a distinct architectural order.  For example, Vitruvius did not include it in his architecture. Its classification as a formal order is traced back to the Italian Reinassance.

Picture of column realized according to the Tuscan Order.
Column realized according to the Tuscan Order

Image source: by Following Hadrian

Composite Order

The Composite is a mixed order, as the capital is a combination of Ionic and Corinthian orders. This order is similar to the former one, except for the capital. In many versions, there is some ornament between the volutes. The column is ten diameters high.

Old drawing of the composite order, ornated with lot of leaves.
Composite Order- Speculum Romanae Magnificentiae

Image Source: by Léon Davent

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