Classics Influence On Modern Structures Essay Research

Classics Influence On Modern Structures Essay, Research Paper

The Influence of the Classical Style on Modern Structures It?s safe to say

that the past has had profound influence on the way we live today. Many aspects

of life have evolved over time and have been fine tuned to fit our preferences.

A few examples are art, fashion and architecture. Every once in a while people

look to the past in order to decide what we want for the present. For example,

some people like to wear retro clothes that were popular in the 50?s and

listen to Elvis Prestley records. This is also true with architecture. It?s

easy to see the similarities and distinctions between ancient Greek structures

and modern structures. The classic architecture style of ancient Greece has a

profound influence on architecture today. The great political revolutions of the

late 1700?s and early 1800?s did not trigger a revolution in architecture;

instead they inspired still another classical revival (Jacobs, 135). About 1820

the Western world became very interested in ancient Greek architecture. The

Greek War of independence from Turkey was closely watched be Westerners which

sparked their interest in Greek architecture. Greek Revival style was used for

courthouses, city halls, and residences. From 1820 onward, most builders

preferred the Greek orders of column styles. These were the Doric, the Ionic and

the Corinthian styles (Hammett, 24). The Doric style was the simplest style of

columns and is characterized by having a slightly tapered column that is

relatively short. These columns have no base and sit directly on the stylobate,

or foundation, and are channeled by twenty shallow flutes. The top of the

column, or the volute, is plain and bold and generally there are three steps

which lead up to the stylobate (Alvey). Ionic styles are much slimmer, taller

and more elaborate. They are also characterized by volutes that are horn-like or

resemble a rolled up scroll. They also have bases which are very elaborate. The

Corinthian columns are similar to the ionic style but are even taller and have

more elaborate volutes that best resemble an upside-down bell surrounded by

leaves (Nuttgens, 92). The modern structure that best represents the style of

ancient Greece is the Lincoln memorial in Washington D.C. Construction began on

the memorial on February 12, 1915 and was dedicated on May 30, 1922. Henry

Bacon, the architect who designed the Lincoln memorial, was an admirer of Greek

architecture and purposefully tried to show his Greek influence in the memorial.

In fact he used the Parthenon in Athens as a specific model (Alvey). The

Parthenon is perhaps the most outstanding ancient Greek architectural

achievement. Built by Ictinus and Callicrates and sculpted by Phidias, the

Parthenon was dedicated to Athena, the virgin Athena. The Parthenon began

construction in 447 b.c. and was completed 432 b.c. (Alvey). Looking at the

attached photos, one can see the resemblance between the Lincoln memorial and

the Parthenon. The most noticeable characteristics are the columns and the use

of marble. The Doric style was utilized in both of these structures. The

interior of the memorial is also similar to that of the Parthenon. Both are

divided into chambers, with a statue of whom the temples are dedicated as the

focal point (Alvey). Another modern structure that show ancient Greek influence

is the treasury building in Washington D.C. The treasury building, built by

Robert Mills and Thomas U. Walter, is made of white marble and displays 38 Greek

ionic columns. Other structures that show Greek revival are the Old Illinois

State Capitol, the Ohio State Capitol, the St. Louis Court House, the Andalusia

in Philadelphia and the Second Bank of the United States which was the first of

many Parthanon adaptations (Hammett). It is easy to find Greek influence all

over the world. Just drive around to the banks, libraries or fraternity houses.

Mansions are known for having columns in front which is exclusively

characteristic of ancient Greek design. Greek architecture is so beautiful and

unmistakable that it is no wonder so many people want their home or business to

show its influence.

Jacobs, David. Architecture. New York: Newsweek Books, 1974. Hammett, Ralph.

Architecture in the United States. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1976. Nuttgens,

Patrick. The Story of Architecture. London: Phaidon Press Limited, 1997. Alvey,

Kevin. "Greek Architecture and its Legacy in 20th Century American

Architecture." Http://


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