The Art of Classical Details

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THE ART OF

CLASSICAL DETAILS THEORY, DESIGN, AND CRAFTSMANSHIP

P J D Foreword by D E


Contents

9 17

F OR EWOR D by DAV I D E A S TO N INTRODUCTION

The Essays From The Writers & Scholars 31

CR E AT IN G T HE PR I VAT E A R C A DI A by J E R E MY MUS S O N

35

T HE L A N GUAG E OF CL A S SI C A L A RCHIT E C T UR E by JA M E S S T EV E NS CU R L

41

MUSI C A ND A RCH IT E C T UR E by DAV I D WAT K I N

49

ON M AT HE M AT I C S A ND SYM M ET RY by RO B E RT C H I T H A M

55

CL A S SI C A L OR NA M E N T by H E N RY H O P E R E E D

From The Architects 59

SWIM M IN G AG A INST T HE T IDE by Q U I N L A N T E R RY

65

T R A DIT I ON A ND IN VE N T I ON by RO B E RT A DA M

69

T HE CR A F T OF CL A S SI C A L DETA IL S by JU L I A N B I C K N E L L

75

BUIL DIN G TO L A ST by J O H N S I M P S O N

79

T HE A R A B E S QUE IN CL A S SI C A L A RCH IT E C T UR E by P ET E R P E N N OY E R

83

DE SI G N DEVE LOPM E N T A ND T HE A NA LY T I QUE by J O H N B. MU R R AY

87

DR AWIN G IN F UL L by R I C H A R D C A M E RO N

91

T HE F U T UR E OF T HE CR A F TS by HU G H P ET T E R

From The Craftsmen & Artisans 97

T HE IM P ORTA N CE OF J OINE RY IN T HE CL A S SI C A L H OM E by A I DA N MO RT I M E R

103

M ETA LWOR K : T HE J EWE L RY ON A H OUS E by A L A I N O L I V I E R

107

T HE CE N T E R PIE CE OF A RO OM by PAU L C H E S N EY

111

DE C OR AT I VE PA IN T IN G A ND G IL DIN G : CL A S SI C A L OR I G INS A ND E XOT I C INF LUE N CE S by K EV I N C RO S S

115

T HE PE R M A N E N C E OF STONE by R I C H A R D C A R B I N O

119

OR NA M E N TA L PL A ST E RWOR K by F O S T E R R E EV E

123

T HE B E AU T Y OF H A NDM A DE B R I CK S by J I M M AT T H EWS


The Projects 129

A NEW C OUN T RY H OUSE by RO B E RT A DA M , ada m archit ect ure

133

HE NBURY H A L L by JU L I A N B I C K N E L L & A S S O C I AT E S

137

A PA R K AVE NUE A PA RTM E N T by T I MOT H Y B RYA N T A RC H I T EC T

141

R AVE N WO OD by R I C H A R D C A M E RO N *

145

A CL A S SI C A L P O OL PAVIL I ON by CU RT I S & WI N D H A M A RC H I T EC TS

149

FA R M L A ND S by FA I R FAX & S A M MO NS A RC H I T EC TS

153

H OL LYWO OD R E G E N CY by FE RGUS O N & S H A M A M I A N A RC H I T EC TS

157

WAYSIDE M A N OR by FR A N C K & L O H S E N A RC H I T EC TS

161

A C OTSWOL D S M A N OR H O USE by RO B E RT FR A N K L I N A RC H I T EC T

165

A G E ORG I A N C OUN T RY H OUS E by A L L A N G R E E N B E RG A RC H I T EC T

169

R I VE R OA K S TOWNH OUSE by I K E K L I G E R M A N BA R K L EY A RC H I T EC TS

173

A R E G E N CY VIL L A by FR A N C I S J O H N S O N A N D PA RT N E R S

177

A G E ORG I A N M A N OR by DAV I D J O N E S A RC H I T EC T

181

A G E ORG I A N M A N OR H O USE by J O H N M I L N E R A RC H I T EC T S

185

F IF T H AVE NUE PIE D –A–T E R R E by J O H N B. MU R R AY A RC H I T EC T

189

DRUM L IN H A L L by P ET E R P E N N OY E R A RC H I T EC TS

195

A NEW C OLONI A L H OUSE by HU G H P ET T E R , ada m archit ect ure

199

F E R NE PA R K by Q U I N L A N & FR A N C I S T E R RY A RC H I T EC TS

203

A G R E E K R EVI VA L C OUN T RY H OUSE by G. P. S C H A FE R A RC H I T EC T

209

A S HF OL D H OUSE by J O H N S I M P S O N & PA RT N E R S

213

A NE O – CL A S SI C A L PE N T H OUSE by A N D R EW S KU R M A N A RC H I T EC TS

217

C A L IF OR NI A G E ORG I A N by E R I C J. S M I T H A RC H I T EC T

221

PIET R A M A R by S M I T H A RC H I T EC T U R A L G RO U P

227

PE N T IM E N TO by K E N TAT E A RC H I T EC T

231

A G E ORG I A N C OUN T RY E STAT E by WA D I A A S S O C I AT E S

Credits 239

A B OU T T HE AU T H OR

240

ACK N OWL E D G E M E N TS

243

L IB R A RY

245

C ON T R I BU TOR S

254

PH OTO G R A PHI C & DR AWIN G CR E DITS


8

FOREWORD


Fo r e w o r d David Easton

W

ITH THIS FOREWORD, I want to journey through the Art of Classical Detail—with a nod to our past and a keen eye to our future, knowing that it is inevitable that each reader will realize that “the old order changeth, making way for the new.” This book speaks of a broad view of the homes we live in, and how it relates to “Classical Detail.” Growing up in America, our “home sweet home” image is one that is a clear reference to the past—the way we lived and the houses we built within the landscape of mid-19th century America. The influence of the Beaux Arts movement, and the implementation of the Classical orders had a profound impact on architecture in America, and the houses we built. We drew on this past from England, France, and Italy. Our colleagues in England had a “leg up” on us, so to speak, as they were already well versed in these principles, which were evident in all the glorious architecture already in existence in England, and the continent. For the last ten years or more, my reference point has been both looking back and then into the future of the lives we will lead in this 21st century. My education was first rooted in the Bauhaus Movement at Pratt but with the luck of a scholarship to study at Fontainebleau the summer I graduated, and the experience of traveling in Europe and seeing first hand all that it had to offer, I was seduced by classical architecture. But then again, travel is what made all of this possible for all of our generations. The Greeks and Romans were the beginning of the Classical Orders, and then they were laid down by Vitruvius, and Palladio. With that wonderful occurrence, the use of the classical orders were revived— proportion, scale, and a system to apply them—all played a part in the architecture of the Renaissance, through our current time. Various architects in the past, be they Italian, English or French, applied these principles and fashioned our minds and eyes, to see what we all refer to as Classical Architecture. The details in this are what matters, because that is where education

ABOVE A rosette, acanthus leaves, and egg-and-dart moldings are some of the decorative Georgian motifs that are included in this wall panel. David Jones Architect OPPOSITE A design rendering for a formal living room Design by David Easton, and rendering by James Steinmeyer

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CALIFORNIA GEORGIAN (see page 217): The dining room is decorated with Gracie hand-painted wallpaper that complements the highly detailed door casings and ceiling crown. 12 Eric J. FOREWORD Smith Architect


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FERNE PARK (see page 199): Over the portico of engaged Composite columns, the pediment on the entrance faรงade is fitted with a carved coat of arms surrounded by flying ribbons, reminiscent of similar designs by Palladio. Quinlan & Francis Terry Architects

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Although at first glance Mickley Park in North Yorkshire appears to be an authentic Georgian home with period details, it also incorporates modern construction techniques and innovative green technologies. 30 Francis CREATING THE&PRIVATE ARCADIA Johnson Partners


Cr e a t i n g t h e Pr i v a t e A r c a d i a Jeremy Musson

I

F I HAVE OBSERVED one thing in all my years of writing about Classical country houses, it is that they were even in the 17th and early 18th centuries considered to be the perfect medium for a happy and fulfilled life by their creators—and both patrons and designers were creators then. Indeed today, this is also often the case, for this ideal is, I think, reflected in the many contemporary Classical houses I have visited in England and in the United States of America. In these recent houses the emphasis is on creating a harmony and a sense of order and beauty in which detail is used with restraint and discipline. These houses are more usually drawn from the model of the later-18thcentury Georgian house and are, in spirit, dedicated to the private family life of the patron as a contrast to the chaos and discordance of life outside the walls of the house and the boundary of the park.

project to create a suitable seat for his family in the Classical style, “Grant Me, ye gods, a pleasant seat, in Attic elegance made neat” after which he goes on to celebrate the joys of family and friendship that would be enjoyed within his architectural achievement. Order and joy “in Attic elegance made neat.”

It could be argued that the Classical interior is today, in essence, a private arcadia—an interior paradise— created for the patrons and their children and generations yet unborn, as the secure setting and the shelter for a happy life. This would be a direct inheritance from the spirit of 18th-century interiors. The original arcadia as expressed by the poets of the Ancient world was an idealised and remote pastoral community to belong to which led to simple contentment; the arcadia of the contemporary Classical family home is in the same way an idealised place within a landscape which binds all its inhabitants in bonds of love.

The historic iconography of classical mythology was re-introduced into the consciousness of the educated man during the renaissance and put into vivid English by poets led by Alexander Pope. Within these stories lay a wealth of dramatic accounts of the encounters between the mortal and the deity, which seem to elevate the nature and status of the architectural space they decorate. The activities of the loving deities as described in Ovid’s Metamorphoses are encountered over and over again in the interior decoration of the country house, and the theme depicted is so often that of love or the triumph of love, or the triumph of love and the return of spring.

The inspiration of the classical world is recognised in the notes made by Nathaniel Scarsdale, the patron of Adam at Kedleston Hall in Derbyshire, when he wrote in his notebook as he embarked on his great

In the early 18th century, the “private arcadia” was usually reflected vividly in the iconography drawn from Classical mythology, especially as translated by the British poets and poured into the Palladian interiors by William Kent and Lord Burlington in painted decoration and plasterwork, in marble, and in stone, as well as on tapestries, paintings, and details on carved and gilded furniture as well as the sculptures and—those outdoor living rooms of the Georgian gentleman—the Classical temples in the park.

Of course, such scenes were chosen by patrons and decorative artists and sculptors for decorative reasons, but they were not chosen for decorative reasons alone.

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Architectural Composition I: This analytique assembles the details of the Corinthian order from Zappeion Hall, Athens. Oil on canvas by Carl Laubin

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A PARK AVENUE APARTMENT (see page 137): The dining room is the apartment’s exclamation mark, where highly embellished moldings complement the specially commissioned Chinese murals, and collection of antique Irish furniture. Timothy Bryant Architect

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HOLLYWOOD REGENCY (see page 153): The great room features walnut bookcases and paneling, as well as a coved ceiling. 40 Ferguson INTRODUCTION & Shamamian Architects


Mu s i c a n d A r c h i t e c t u r e David Watkin

M

USIC AND ARCHITECTURE1 are linked at the dawn of our civilisation by the celebrated musician, Amphion, who features in the writings of Homer and Euripides.2 Son of Jupiter and Antiope, Amphion built the walls of the city of Thebes by drawing the stones into place with the magical sounds of the golden lyre, given him by Hermes.3 A beautiful relief of him from the 2nd century AD was incorporated into the Meridiana Gallery at the Palazzo Spada in Rome in the mid-16th century.4 In the chapter “The Education of the Architect” in De architectura, Vitruvius insisted that the architect should “understand music so that he is conversant with the system of harmonic relationships and mathematical theory,”5 and devoted a subsequent chapter to “Harmonics.”6 The analogy with music is not only mathematical as it is in Vitruvius who was influenced by the Pythagorean theory of harmony as “heard arithmetic.” The analogy is also, as we shall see, similar to tonality in music, providing a frame within which part answers part. In the classical revival of the 18th century, much thought was given to the relation of musical and architectural harmony, notably by the Abbé Laugier, Père Castel, and Le Camus de Mézières. In his influential Essai sur l’architecture (1752), Laugier argued that “Round mouldings are to architecture what consonances are to musical harmony, whereas square mouldings correspond to dissonances. The blending of mouldings and sounds has the same aim and must follow the same rules. The round mouldings give all the softness, the square ones the harshness … Hence the rule not to employ any dissonance which is

not prepared and rescued [sauvée] by a consonance.”7 This is a development from Greek musical theory, as summarised by Vitruvius, which divided intervals into those that were concordant and blended together (the octave, fifth, and fourth, as well as those compounded from them); and those (all the others) that were discordant.8 In his edition of Vitruvius, Berardo Galiani imputed “the degeneracy of modern architecture” to the ignorance of music shown by current architects, in contrast to the ancients who “attended to it in proportioning their buildings.”9 Laugier was followed by the architect and theorist, Le Camus de Mézières, who wrote a sensationalist exploration of form and its expressive value in which he gave an account of Amphion at Thebes. Here, he claimed that “Music, that divine Art which enchants us, has the most intimate connections with Architecture. They have the same consonances, the same proportions.10 In considering the harmony between proportional systems and musical intervals, he referred to the “marvellous harpsichord of colours” of the Jesuit priest, Louis-Bertrand Castel, with which in 1754 he “gave a concert of colours and at the same time of sounds.”11 John Soane, who was profoundly influenced by Laugier and Le Camus de Mézières, believed that “Mouldings are as essential and important to the architect as colours to the painter”.12 The great polymath, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832), said that architecture was frozen music, as recorded in Conversations with Goethe by Johann Peter Eckermann (1792–1854). The parallel had been drawn earlier by Goethe’s friend, Friedrich von

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The wood floor is painted in a marquetry-like pattern, and the door casing engages with the room’s entablature enabling triglyphs to be used to further accentuate and decorate the passage from one room to another. John B. Murray Architect

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INTRODUCTION


Design Development and the Analytique John B. Murray

A

T A TIME when stunningly innovative software that seemingly brings the design process cuttingedge efficiency is available, it might be perceived that keeping alive the methodical craftsmanship of the Beaux-Arts School is “quaint.” Yet when I began as an architect, more than 30 years ago, I was intrigued and inspired by the Beaux-Arts commitment to classically high standards that insisted upon “a compositional analysis, an analytique,” design concept for any building, façade or interior. Centuries later, using the template of analytique drawings as multi-visionary tools for producing the highest of quality results called to me as still very modern. To this day I am impressed by the joy and creative excitement the analytique design process brings to my clients. To create a space of one’s own, whether from the ground up, or by working from a seemingly mundane shell, must be a well-considered journey of proportion, light, space, texture, depth, interior, and exterior views. Through my years of collaboration with clients, designers, masons, specialists in lighting, heating, and climate control, the craftsmen still creating plaster cornices and intricately laid mosaics of stone or perfectly set variations of wood, I have continued to appreciate, yes, of course, the refined art, in and of itself, of an analytique rendering, but more importantly its ability to communicate design details in a manner that permits all involved to envision the importance of every detail within a broader composition. Writings on the possibilities of an analytique drawing, such as Lloyd Warren’s 1922 foreword to John F. Harbeson’s The Study of Architectural Design, continue to inspire the work of my firm. Warren

describes society’s love of “the short-cut way,” but advocates for a “most sincere … admiration for the excellent methodical way … of a good analytique rendu.” His assessment that “in these drawings can be seen sensibility to proportion, feeling for composition, character in drawing, appreciation of ornament, and knowledge of descriptive geometry in projections and in shades and shadows” begins to illuminate the multifaceted means of communication these drawings provide. For me, what continues to make analytique drawings so successful, is as Warren once wrote, that because the drawings are produced as a result of dialogue between client and architect “everything seems as clear as day.” After my team meets with the client, we illustrate design conversations with hand-wrought drawings that stimulate the client to increasingly clarify—again in Warren’s words, “the personality which is the basis of all style.” There is a classicism to our architectural process that is timeless. Working with our clients through drawings that capture dimensions and spatial relations, we pull out the finest of design details, creating an end product that is uniquely personal. Our design process at 825 Fifth Avenue is a case in point. A couple from Boston approached us with the concept of creating a New York City pied-à-terre in a pre-war building on Fifth Avenue. We began design development from the known parameters of two rather nondescript one-bedroom apartments. Our clients expressed their intention to carve a “jewel” from this completely demolished space. For their urban residence they sought highly articulated, richly detailed, beautiful materials, and expert workmanship.

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A craftsman hand-modeling a Corinthian capital in clay that will later be used to create a mold to cast the finished piece in plaster. Foster Reeve & Associates

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“The architects and craftsmen featured in this wonderful book all have a love for classical detail, and it is proudly displayed in their work. I know anyone who has a love of architecture will see in these pages the finesse that is applied to make all these houses special.” David Easton “The well-judged employment of Classical detail in a new home has an additional significance that cannot be underestimated. It is an expression of an informed personal choice and an aesthetic statement of faith in civilised values and an evocation of the delight in the human senses. This is true of all the houses featured in this book.” Jeremy Musson