THE COLUMN AS FORM AND STRUCTURE
An Exploration of the Column from GrecoRoman Antiquity to the Contemporary Period
Nichol as Swed berg
THE COLUMN AS FORM AND STRUCTURE An Exploration of the Column from GrecoRoman Antiquity to the Contemporary Period DC Recreation Center Nichol as Swed berg
Thesis submitted to the faculty of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Architecture
Paul Emmons, Advisor
Thesis Defense: May 13, 2015 College of Architecture and Urban Studies Blacksburg, Virginia Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center Alexandria, Virginia
For Mom... This can be your lanyard
â€œThere is nothing to be found in the art of building that deserves more care and expense, or ought to be more graceful, than the column.â€? ~Leon Battista Alberti
Table of Contents Preface
A Pillar of Architecture: The Column as Form and Structure
Site and Program
Thesis: Study and Development
PREFACE Classical architecture has always intrigued me, and in this interest acted as a catalyst for my study of architecture as a larger whole. As a child, I grew up reading books about ancient Greece and Rome, and I always enjoyed the abundant imagery that often accompanies literature designed for children. As a young boy, I at first enjoyed the stories of ancient warriors, but I could not help but notice the images and recreations of numerous buildings scattered throughout the Greco-Roman world. As I matured, I become more interested in the buildings of antiquity, and this interest in these Classical buildings evolved into a full-fledged interest in the larger body of architecture. Consequently, I considered a return to the subject that began my journey to architecture as an appropriate conclusion to five years of undergraduate study. Throughout the course of my undergraduate education, my interest and appreciation of Classical design has waxed and waned as I struggled to place my interest in the Classical world in the context of what I learned about the larger body of architectural theory and contemporary sensibilities. However, I felt the four prior years of study equipped me to tackle questions of Classical architecture in a way I once thought impossible. Part of that confidence no doubt derives from the small growth I have made as a young designer. I hope to continue questioning the validity and application of Classical thinking in contemporary architectural thought, and I think that this undergraduate v
thesis will form the foundation of continued inquiry throughout my life and professional career. I find it hard to believe that the journey of my thesis, as well as my tenure as an undergraduate, has come to a close. I could not have made the journey without the help and support of many individuals, though it would be impossible to acknowledge all those who have shaped my thinking or encouraged my work. I feel personally obligated to express my greatest gratitude to my primary thesis advisor, Paul Emmons. Paulâ€™s knowledge of Classical architectural theory is extensive and has been invaluable in shaping and informing my work. He has been a source of excellent critique throughout the course of my thesis. I must also acknowledge the contributions of Markus Breitschmid and Susan Piedmont-Palladino. Both Markus and Susan have also played a critical role in the development of my work as well, and I appreciate the insight, commentaries, and critiques from them as well. I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the important role that the WAAC has served with regards to my thesis. The WAAC provided an exceptional venue for my studies. I would also like to recognize my fifth year thesis companion, Laura Escobar. I would like to think that we pushed one another to pursue our theses aggressively. Finally, I must thank my friends and family, for though theirs was not an architectural support, it was no less important. I must specifically thank my parents, John and Carol, for their encouragement throughout the course of my vi
education and my life. They have made many of the opportunities in my life possible, and I am greatly indebted to their patience as well as their support. I would also like to thank Chaya for her assistance as well. Her constant encouragement throughout the year has helped me stay inspired to keep working. I hope that this thesis documentation can capture the passion and joy I found in pursuing an architectural subject that has long intrigued me. And if you are perusing the print version of this document, I hope that you find some small delight in its presentation. Nicholas C. Swedberg May 22, 2015
ABSTRACT The column, a fundamental architectural element, has a long, vibrant history. This thesis examines a portion of that history, looking at the Classical column, and explores its origins in order to posit a contemporary manifestation. The study analyzes various characteristics of the Classical column, aesthetics, symbolism, materiality, construction, function, and structure, and forwards a contemporary column based in the Classical spirit, but existing in a twenty-first century context.
A PILLAR OF ARCHITECTURE The Column as Form and Structure INTRODUCTION “There is nothing to be found in the art of building that deserves more care and expense, or ought to be more graceful, than the column.”1 One of the primary elements of architecture, the column garnered attention from architectural writers and designers throughout architectural history. The column derives power from its ability to address issues of both structure and aesthetics. Architects have approached the column from a variety of angles, but in the context of Western architectural design and thought, the legacy of the Greek and Roman treatment of the column carried significant weight for the architects of subsequent centuries. In contemporary architectural design, the column draws inspiration from its Greco-Roman ancestry, but also incorporates contemporary structural and design sensibilities. Drawing on this Classical ancestry, the column in contemporary architecture has the opportunity to remain a dynamic and active participant in architectural form. This essay will examine three distinct characteristics of the column: the column and its symbolic associations; intercolumniation, the spacing between adjacent columns; and the column’s ability to 1 Leon Battista Alberti, On the Art of Building in Ten Books, trans. Joseph Rykwert, Neil Leach, Robert Tavernor (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1988), 25. 3
mark public space. This inquiry will explore these three characteristics from three historical perspectives. The analysis of the column will consider ancient precedents, significant historical permutations, and finally, contemporary opportunities for adaptation. This study will first discuss Vitruvius, Roman author of the only surviving Classical architectural treatise; Vitruviusâ€™ writings formed the basis for Western interpretations of Classical architectural relationships. In order to address later thoughts and architectural expressions, this essay will explore the writings and designs of Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio, French Renaissance architect Claude Perrault, the Modern French architect Le Corbusier, twenty-first century British architect Norman Foster, and the writings of contemporary scholar Joseph Rykwert. Finally, after examining the Vitruvian basis for Western architectural thought and consequent historical interpretations, this study will offer suggestions for contemporary applications of these three column characteristics. This analysis will demonstrate that as a fundamental architectural element, the column reconciles questions of form and function, beauty and structure, and public and private into a comprehensive, totalistic whole.
SECTION I The Column as a Symbol The column of Greco-Roman antiquity possessed significant symbolic association. Classical Greek architecture described three orders of columns: the Doric, 4
Ionic, and Corinthian. These three orders represented a family-like relationship, with each holding a significant symbolic position. According to Vitruvius, these three Greek Orders possessed anthropomorphic associations, relating to the notions of the male and female genders. The proportions of the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian Orders, Vitruvius stated, related to the figure of a man, a woman, and a maiden respectively. The Doric Order, proportionally more robust than the others, derived its proportions from the thicker figure of a man, while the slenderest of the orders, the Corinthian, supposedly mirrored the proportions of a young maiden.2 2 In the beginning of Book IV in his Ten Books on Architecture, Vitruvius discussed the origins of the symbolism for the three Greek orders. Vitruvius summarized the origin of Doric proportions as follows: “On finding that, in a man, the foot was one sixth of the height, they [the ancient Greeks] applied the same principle to the [Doric] column, and reared the shaft, including the capital, to a height six times the thickness of the base. Thus the Doric column, as used in buildings, began to exhibit the proportions, strength, and beauty of the body of a man.” From Vitruvius, The Ten Books on Architecture, trans. Morris Hickey Morgan (New York: Dover Publications, 1960), 103. As the male figure provided basis for Doric proportions, Vitruvius attested that the female figure, that of an adult woman, inspired the Ionic Order: “When they [the Greeks] desired to construct a temple to Diana in a new style of beauty, they translated these footprints into terms characteristic of the slenderness of women, and thus made a column the thickness of which was only one eighth of its height, so that it might have a taller look. At the foot they substituted the base in place of a shoe; in the capital they placed the volutes, hanging down at the right and the left like curly ringlets.” From Vitruvius, The Ten Books on Architecture, 103. The third of the Greek Orders, the Corinthian, drew its proportions from a youthful maiden: “The third 5
As Vitruvius summarized: “Thus in the invention of the two different kinds of columns [the Doric and the Ionic], they borrowed manly beauty, naked and unadorned, for the one, and for the other the delicacy, adornment, and proportions characteristic of women.”3 While the column of GrecoRoman architecture possessed a strong symbolic association, the anthropomorphic symbolism of Vitruvius’ time did not prevail as strongly in Renaissance architectural thought. Italian Renaissance architects Leon Battista Alberti and Andrea Palladio drew relationships between the column and nature, as opposed to the strictly anthropomorphic relationships of Vitruvius. In his The Four Books on Architecture, Palladio summarized this relationship with nature, stating, “I assert therefore that, since architecture imitates nature (as do all the arts), it cannot endure anything that alienates and distances it from what nature herself permits; so we see that those ancient architects who began to make of stone those buildings that they once made of wood established a rule that columns should be less thick at the top than at the bottom, taking as their model trees which are always more slender at the top than at the
order, called Corinthian, is an imitation of the slenderness of a maiden; for the outlines and limbs of maidens, being more slender on account of their tender years, admit of prettier effects in the way of adornment.” From Vitruvius, The Ten Books on Architecture, 104. Together, these three explanations from Vitruvius outlined the basis of gender based symbolism of the three Greek Orders. 3 Vitruvius, The Ten Books on Architecture, 104. 6
trunk and near the roots.â€?4
This Renaissance relationship between architecture and nature, and consequently the column and the tree, differed from the anthropomorphic symbolism of Vitruvius. However, though the symbolic significance of the column changed, there nonetheless existed a continued tradition of symbolic association for the column. During the Modernist movement in architecture, the interest in endowing the column with symbolic qualities waned. Rather, during the twentieth century, Modern architecture sought to remove symbolism from the column. One of the foremost proponents of Modernist thought, twentieth century French architect Le Corbusier, battled against the architectural symbolism established in earlier epochs. In his Towards a New Architecture, Corbusier shied away from using the word column, fearing that this word carried too much historical and symbolic association. Le Corbusier wanted to free the Modern architect from these associations in order to allow unencumbered use of the column: â€œI hardly like to say columns, it is a worn out word.â€?5 Rather than use the word column, Corbusier instead preferred the term cylinder. The term cylinder emphasized what Corbusier believed represented the fundamental architectural strength of the column. Whereas Greco-Roman architects valued 4 Andrea Palladio, The Four Books on Architecture, trans. Robert Tavernor and Richard Schofield (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1997), 55. 5 Le Corbusier, Towards a New Architecture, trans. Frederick Etchells (New York: Dover Publications, 1986), 186. 7
the symbolism of the Greek Orders and used these symbolic relationships to help resolve decisions of hierarchy and order, Corbusier believed the column possessed value as a primary volume, and this value outweighed any symbolic association.6 Though the approaches of Vitruvius and Le Corbusier may seem disparate, when taken as part of an ongoing dialogue, they help explain how the Classical view of the column can fit into contemporary architecture. The key lesson of the Greek Orders derives from the family affiliation of these three This tripartite column types.7 relationship, when viewed in terms of a family association, provides the key to the contemporary interpretation of principles outlined 6 Le Corbusier believed that primary forms afforded architecture grace and beauty. When outlining his “Three Reminders to Architects,” Mass represented the first of these reminders: “Our eyes are constructed to enable us to see forms in light. Primary forms are beautiful forms because they can be clearly appreciated.” From Corbusier, Towards a New Architecture, 2. What Corbusier called mass (this is the term that appears in Etchell’s English translation) might more aptly be called volume in English, in order to better embody the three-dimensional quality of geometric solids. Despite questions of terminology, the relationship between pure volumes and light formed a fundamental basis of architecture. Corbusier’s Modernist name for the column emphasized its basic volumetric qualities. 7 In his description of the three Greek Orders, Vitruvius created a family-like association: “Thus a third architectural order [the Corinthian], distinguished by its capital, was produced out of the other two.” From Vitruvius , The Ten Books on Architecture, 102. Vitruvius identified the Doric as the father and the Ionic as the mother in this tripartite relationship, with the youthful Corinthian maiden as the offspring. 8
by the Greek Orders. Though Le Corbusier did not discuss the relationship of the Greek Orders in Towards a New Architecture, he nonetheless provided an excellent Modern interpretation of the relationship typified by the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian genus of orders in his design of the Parliament Building in Chandigarh, India. In this Palace of Assembly, Le Corbusier defined five different types of columns. These different columns, materially the same, varied in shape and dimension. The different columns in the Palace of Assembly represented a Modern manifestation of the principles of the Greek Orders. In Corbusierâ€™s assembly building, the different columns interacted according to a set of clear rules, and observation yields a distinct hierarchy among these column types. In this regard, Corbusier created a set of orders for this project. Though the orders in the Chandigarh Palace of Assembly did not derive propriety from a set of symbolic associations, as would be the Vitruvian approach, they did however express a similar method of interaction. Corbusierâ€™s ability to use the same material, concrete, while simultaneously varying the dimension and shape of the columns, achieved an effect similar to the proportioning and ornamenting of the Greek Orders. Occupants of the space could understand the autonomy of the column types, yet recognize the relationship between these five columns the same way an occupant of a Roman temple could understand the distinction between a Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian column, all while recognizing that these three Orders belonged to the same overall family of architectural expression. 9
SECTION II Intercolumniation, Form and Function Another important characteristic of the column is its relationship with other adjacent columns. Intercolumniation, the spacing between columns, deserves attention equal to that of the properties of an individual column. However, intercolumniation addresses more than the column itself, but also calls into discussion the beam or any other horizontal structural member that columns support, for the spacing between columns is in part determined by the spanning capabilities of the beam overhead. Therefore, the issue of intercolumniation must reconcile issues of structure and aesthetics. When looking at the differences between Classical intercolumniations and modern intercolumniations, it is important to consider building materials and their structural capabilities. Ultimately, in an effort to understand Classical principles of intercolumniation in contemporary architecture, technological advancements play a pivotal role, permitting beams to span ever greater distances. In Book III of Vitruviusâ€™ The Ten Books on Architecture, the Roman outlined the rules governing the five types of Classical intercolumniation: pycnostyle, systyle, diastyle, 8 araeostyle, and eustyle. These 8 Vitruvius laid out the rules for these five intercolumniations using a proportional system of measure. The intercolumniations he described used the diameter of the column to determine the spacing. According to Vitruvius, the pycnostyle had an intercolumniation of one 10
rules governing intercolumniation and half column diameters. For the systyle, the spacing between columns was two column diameters. From Vitruvius, The Ten Books on Architecture, 78-80. In discussing these first two intercolumniations, Vitruvius also discussed some problems confronted when using these systems: “These two kinds have practical disadvantages. When the matrons mount the steps for public prayer or thanksgiving, they cannot pass through the intercolumniation with their arms about one another, but must form a single file…the narrow space also interferes with walks around the temple.” From Vitruvius, The Ten Books on Architecture, 80. The third intercolumniation mentioned by Vitruvius, the diastyle, used three column diameters to form the spacing between columns. However, whereas the close proximity of columns in the pycnostyle and systyle drew Vitruvius’ critique, the larger spacing in the diastyle also caused Vitruvius concern: “This arrangement [the diastyle] involves the danger that the architrave may break on account of the great width of the intervals.” From Vitruvius, The Ten Books on Architecture, 80. The fourth intercolumniation, araeostyle, with its four diameter spacing, also posed structural concerns: “In araeostyles we cannot employ stone or marble for the architraves, but must have a series of wooden beams laid upon the columns.” From Vitruvius, The Ten Books on Architecture, 80. However, the fifth intercolumniation, eustyle, proved to be Vitruvius’ ideal arrangement: “An account must now be given of the eustyle, which is the most approved class, and is arranged on principles developed with a view to convenience, beauty, and strength. The intervals should be made as wide as the thickness of two columns and a quarter, but the middle intercolumniations, one in front and one in the rear, should be a thickness of three columns. Thus built, the effect of the design will be beautiful, there will be no obstruction at the entrance, and the walk around the cella will be dignified.” From Vitruvius, The Ten Books on Architecture, 80. Critical in Vitruvius’ praise for the eustyle intercolumniation is the assessment of the strength afforded by this intercolumniation. In his assessment of the eustyle, Vitruvius found this intercolumniation excellent in terms of beauty and functionality, but also in terms of structure. Vitruvius critiqued the larger spanning 11
reflected aesthetic, functional, and structural concerns. These first two concerns, beauty and function, dealt with the visual relationships between columns, the ability to see and use temple doors, as well as the ability of citizens and priests to successfully perform religious ceremonies. Questions of beauty and function are timeless concerns, and still confront the contemporary use of columns in architecture. However, the issue of structure provides the greatest room for contemporary interpretation. In his discussion of the diastyle and araeostyle intercolumniations, three and four module spacings respectively, Vitruvius commented on the structural issues these intercolumniations posed: â€œThis arrangement [diastyle] involves the danger that the architraves may break on account of the great width of the intervals. In araeostyle, we cannot employ stone or marble for the architraves, but must have a series of wooden beams laid upon the columns.â€?9
Vitruviusâ€™ critique of the broader spacing of the diastyle and araeostyle alluded to the structural limitations of the stone construction systems employed by the ancient Greeks and Romans. The spanning ability of unreinforced stone, in the form of temple architraves, directly impacted the rules governing intercolumniations. These comments by Vitruvius distances of the diastyle and araeostyle, fearing material failure of the stone used to construct the architraves, or in the case of the araeostyle, the intercolumniation was so great as to force the use of wood instead of stone. 9 Vitruvius, The Ten Books on Architecture, 80. 12
clearly demonstrated that issues of structure impacted GrecoRoman intercolumniations. Advances in structural systems offered later architects greater liberty in determining intercolumniations. As evidenced by the writings of Vitruvius, the structural limitations of stone exerted control on column spacing. During the seventeenth century, however, the work of French architect Claude Perrault demonstrated the ability of technological advances to allow architects to reconsider the ancient views on intercolumniation. In part of his treatise Ordonnance for the Five Kinds of Columns after the Methods of the Ancients, Perrault addressed the issue of Classical intercolumniations in a section on architectural abuses. In this section, Perrault introduced the notion of coupled columns, an architectural element that featured prominently in his design for the façade of the Louvre’s East Wing. He introduced the coupled column as an abuse because this architectural feature did not appear with any frequency in ancient buildings, but actually built a case for the coupled column’s inclusion in the pantheon of Classical thought. In his defense of the coupled column, Perrault asserted the following: “The third abuse is the pairing of columns, which some cannot approve of since almost no examples of it exist in antiquity. The truth is, however, that if we are permitted to add anything at all to the inventions of the Ancients, this is one innovation that deserves to be accepted into architecture for its considerable beauty and convenience. In terms of beauty, it is entirely in keeping 13
with the taste of the Ancients, who particularly appreciated buildings with closely spaced columns and who found nothing to object to in the usage except the inconvenience caused by such spacing as they practiced it…The Moderns introduced this new way of placing [coupling] columns…and found, by pairing them, a way to give more clearance to porticos and more grace to the orders. For by placing the columns two by two, we can keep the intercolumniations fairly large, so that windows and doors that overlook the porticos are not obscured, as they were in ancient works, where the openings were wider than the intercolumniations. In the usual arrangement, columns had to have diameters of three or four feet in order to obtain intercolumniations of eight feet. When columns are paired, however, it is enough for them to two or two and one-half feet in diameter, and as a result wide intercolumniations do not appear as awkward as they do when columns are arranged singly and seem to weak to support their entablature.”10
Perrault praised this new coupled column system as an invention of the moderns, and argued for its inclusion in Classical architectural language. Perrault’s coupled columns combined the aesthetic of the close intercolumniations of the pycnostyle and systyle, while simultaneously permitting larger intercolumniations. The larger intercolumniations of Perrault’s coupled columns allowed daylight to reach windows and doors, a problem Vitruvius noted with the 10 Claude Perrault, Ordonnance for the Five Kinds of Columns after the Methods of the Ancients, trans. Indra Kagis McEwen (Santa Monica: The Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities, 1993), 169. 14
pycnostyle and systyle. However, while Perrault defended the aesthetic and functional qualities of his coupled columns, he did not mention the structural key that made this form of intercolumniation possible. Hidden beneath the face of the stone in the Louvre’s east wing, a complex system of reinforcing metal allowed Perrault to create the large intercolumniations of the coupled column system. As architectural historian Joseph Rykwert noted, “These formal problems were paralleled by technical ones… the masonry had to be very elaborately cramped; not that this was particularly new…what Perrault proposed, however, involved not only very elaborate stone-cutting but cramps and ties in such a complex system that the structure virtually became a reinforced masonry construction, analogous to reinforced concrete.”11
As evidenced by Rykwert’s analysis, the use of metal cramps and tie rods afforded Perrault the ability to make stone reach further than previously possible during the time of Vitruvius. The extensive use of cramps and ties, as Rykwert noted, made the structural stone system of Perrault’s Louvre façade akin to contemporary reinforced concrete. Perrault used technological advances to develop new intercolumniation relationships, rather than simply imitate ancient precedents. Contemporary architects, in a manner similar to Perrault, have also found ways to navigate 11 Joseph Rykwert, The First Moderns: The Architects of the Eighteenth Century (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1980), 88-89. 15
the precedents of a Classical architectural language and use modern technologies to develop Classically inspired form in a contemporary setting. The contemporary British architect Norman Foster provides an excellent twenty-first century example of a Classical intercolumniation interpretation. Foster’s design for the Carré d’Art in Nîmes, France, sits opposite a well-persevered Roman temple, the Maison Carrée. Using modern structural systems to interpret column spacing, in the spirit of Perrault, Foster’s colonnade for the Carré d’Art reinterpreted the architectural language set out in the intercolumniations of the Maison Carrée. The delicately thin steel columns of the Carré d’Art, as well as the large intercolumniations, capitalized on twenty-first century structural technologies. However, Foster’s façade for the Carré d’Art still respected the Greco-Roman proportions of intercolumniation as expressed in the Maison Carrée.
SECTION III The Column and Public Space The final Classically derived column characteristic this study addresses is the relationship between the column and the public realm. The column possesses an ability to define architectural spaces that are accessible to the public. Especially when considered in an urban context, the ability of the column to define and provide public space works well within the fabric of a city. In this regard, the column can offer space within a private building to a larger community.
The Greek or Roman temple, as a basic architectural type, possessed four main components, the plinth, a raised floor, a roof, a central volume, and a peristyle of columns. Only priests and religious personnel could enter the temple proper, the central volume, relegating the general public of Greco-Roman antiquity to the colonnade and other exterior spaces. However, the exterior spaces of the Greek temple served citizens outside of the practice of formal religious ceremonies. According to Vitruvius, the temple offered citizens a public space even when religious ceremonies were not taking place. Vitruvius asserted that the columns of a temple’s peristyle served the citizens in times of inclement weather: “The arrangement of columns round a temple were devised in order that the intercolumniations might give the imposing effect of high relief; and also in case a multitude of people should be caught in a heavy shower and detained, that they might have in the temple and round the cella a wide free space in which to wait.”12
In this regard, the columned porch of a temple served citizens outside of religious ceremonies. This idea embodied a certain aspect of urban responsibility. The column of the temple identified the spaces of the temple permissible for public use even when the temple itself was inactive. Extrapolated into a contemporary context, the column can still indicate publically accessible space. As with Vitruvius’ argument, the modern colonnade could again offer citizens relief from 12 Vitruvius, The Ten Books on Architecture, 82. 17
the elements, extreme sun or rain, or could also offer a place of respite in the city, the opportunity to wait for a bus or escape from the urban rush.
CONCLUSIONS The column represents one of the fundamental elements of architecture. As demonstrated in this brief study of three essential characteristics of the column, its symbolism, intercolumniation, and the ability to define public space, the column represents a powerful component of architecture. Though these characteristics of the column developed in Greco-Roman antiquity, they still hold relevance for contemporary architecture. However, contemporary architecture is responsible for interpreting these Classical ideas and manifesting them in a modern setting. Each characteristic has the potential for interpretation. The ancient symbolism of the three Greek Orders bespoke a family relationship between the orders, a collection of distinct yet related parts. Architects like Le Corbusier have demonstrated how an interpretation of orders within a project, such as the Palace of Assembly in Chandigarh, can achieve an effect similar to the interrelationship of the three Greek Orders. The intercolumniations of Vitruvius demonstrated a concern for beauty, function, and structure. Limited by the structural capacities of unreinforced stone, Vitruvius had to develop intercolumniations with material limits in mind. As structural technologies changed, architects like Claude Perrault and Norman Foster revisited the intercolumniation relationships 18
of Vitruvius and redesigned them in their respective technological contexts. Finally, the column of the ancient temple had the ability to mark publically accessible space, giving built space back to citizens. This idea holds merit in contemporary architecture as well, as buildings possess a certain responsibility to engage their context and enrich urban life. Through a careful understanding of the origins of these three characteristics of the column, the contemporary architect has the ability to interpret the principles that have made the column a fundamental, beautiful, and necessary element of architecture.
BIBLIOGRAPHY Alberti, Leon Battista. On the Art of Building in Ten Books. Translated by Joseph Rykwert, Neil Leach, and Robert Tavernor. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1988. Le Corbusier. Towards a New Architecture. Translated by Frederick Etchells. New York: Dover Publications, 1986. Palladio, Andrea. The Four Books on Architecture. Translated by Robert Tavernor and Richard Schofield. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1997. Perrault, Claude. Ordonnance for the Five Kinds of Columns after the Methods of the Ancients. Translated by Indra Kagis McEwen, introduced by Alberto P茅rez-G贸mez. Santa Monica: The Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities, 1993. Rykwert, Joseph. The Dancing Column: On Order in Architecture. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1996. Rykwert, Joesph. The First Moderns: The Architects of the Eighteenth Century. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1980. Vitruvius. The Ten Books on Architecture. Translated by Morris Hickey Morgan. New York: Dover Publications, 1960. Weston, Richard. Key Buildings of the 20th Century: Plans, Sections and Elevations. New York: WW Norton & Company, 2010. 19
â€œFree plan is exchanged for free section...as though the solid wall structure has been turned on its side.â€? ~Colin Rowe
“Thus in the invention of the two different kinds of columns, they borrowed manly beauty, naked and unadorned, for the one, and for the other the delicacy, adornment, and proportions characterstic of women.” “A third architectural order, distinguished by its capital, was produced out of the two others.” ~Vitruvius
The three Greek Orders, Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian, share a family relationship. Though autonomous, they belong to a common architectural expression. These three drawings present the Greek Orders as described by Andrea Palladio.
â€œThe impression of light is extended outside by cylinders (I hardly like to say columns, it is a worn-out word). ~Le Corbusier
What is the contemporary column? These three drawings show different types of concrete and steel columns.
The contemporary columnn and the Greek column differ in their construction. These constructive realities informs the aesthetics and physics of each. The method of making the column relates to materiality of the column and the technology of construction.
â€œThere are five classes of temples, designated as follows: pycnostyle, with the columns close together; systyle, with the intercolumniations a little wider; diastyle, more open still; araeostyle, farther apart than they ought to be; eustyle, with the intervals apportioned just right.â€? ~Vitruvius
Intercolumniation is a question of aesthetics, function, and structure. Columns share visual realtionships with one another. Their space also affects the ability of people to move and interact with each other and the columns. Structure, the spanning capability of the beam that the columns support, profoundly impacts intercolumniation.
The Greek temple as an architectural typology consists of four basic elements: the plinth (or elevated floor), the roof, an enclosed volume, and a colonnade.
Site and Prog ram
Site and program, the physical realities with which to confront the questions of the Classical column. This thesis proposal utilizes a site at 601 Massachusetts Avenue, Washington, DC. Located on Mount Vernon Square, the site is irregular, thus preventing design proposals and inquiry from selecting symmetry as a Classical default. The proposed site sits adjacent to the Carnegie Library, a Neoclassical building that is both beautifully executed and rigorous in adherence to Classical canon. The contemporary thesis proposal and the Carnegie Library will sit alongside one another, engaging in an historical dialouge.
L St NW
K St NW
7th St NW
K St NW 9th St NW
K St NW
5th St NW
6th St NW
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N scale 1:400
The program, a public recreational facility for Washington, DC, provides dimensional reality for the thesis. The programmatic volumes of sport are fixed, governed by the rules and regulations of each activity. The thesis proposal includes a fifty meter Olympic swimming pool and a ninety-four foot college size basketball court. These drawings illustrate the study of various athletic activities and acknowledge the reality that the spaces required for sport exist as volumes.
The Thesis: Study and Development
Early in the development of the thesis proposal, questions of plan and arrangement manifested themselves. The irregular site presented peculiar geometries that had to reconcile with the prescriptive geometries of the program.
â€œUltimately, and in terms of the figure-ground, the debate which is here postulated between solid and void is a debate between two models and succinctly, these may be typified as acropolis and forum.â€? ~Colin Rowe
Studying the Athenian Acropolis and its arrangement of temples provided enlightenment for the arrangement of the program on the site. The independent athletic activties became individual volumes of activity; the site, the temple precinct.
“[The diastyle] arrangement involves the danger that the architraves may break on account of the great width of the intervals...in araeostyles we cannot employ stone or marble for the architraves, but must have a series of wooden beams.” ~Vitruvius
“Formal problems were paralleled by technical ones…the masonry had to be very elaborately cramped; not that this was particularly new…what Perrault proposed, however, involved not only very elaborate stone-cutting but cramps and ties in such a complex system that the structure virtually became a reinforced masonry construction, analogous to reinforced concrete.” ~Joseph Rykwert
In the early studies of the plan, the intercolumniations served only aesthtic wishes. The desire for a density of columns overruled all other concerns. But intercolumniation is a question of aesthetics and structure. The stone materiality of Greco-Roman antiquity imposed its limitations on the intercolumniations of Vitruvius. Building technology has not, however, stood still. By the time of Claude Perrault, cramped masonry allowed him to propose the coupled column for the Louvre, with a larger intercolumniation than any Greek or Roman building. This innovation, the realization of new spanning capabilities, is part of the contemporary manifestation of the Classical spirit of intercolumniation.
the use of a three-way space frame and the implications for the placement of columns equations and assumptions Approximating the Depth of the Section L = length of span L/ds ds = depth of the section *The units of measure used for both variables are equivalent, i.e.: an L defined in inches yields a value of ds in inches Acceptable Range of L/ds for Space Frames: 12 - 20 Range of Acceptable Spans for a Space Frame: 80’ - 300’ From: Ionnides, Socrates A. and John L. Rudy. “Rules of Thumb for Steel Design.” Modern Steel Construction (February 2000).
Group 1- Co
Other Space Frame L/ds Relationships 1-way space frame: 12 2-way space frame: 15 3-way space frame: 18 Cantilever Rule of Thumb Maximum cantilever length is 1/3 backspan From: Bursch, Craig W. PE. “6 Rules of Thumb for Structural Steel Designs.” Meyer|Borgman|Johnson (2006).
Equations for the Analysis s = Maximum column to column span sm/16 = ds sm = 16ds d = depth of the space frame lc = sm/3 l = length of the cantilever m
*Assumed L/ds = 16
Group 1 - C
Group 2 - Configuration A
Group 2 - Configuration B
the use of a three-way space frame and the implications for the placement of columns analysis Data Group 1 sm = 160’ ds = 10’ lc = 53’ 4” Minimum Required Columns: 10 Data Group 2 sm = 192’ ds = 12’ lc = 64’ Minimum Required Columns: 9 Data Group 3 sm = 200’ ds = 12’ 6” lc = 66’ 8” Minimum Required Columns: 7 Data Group 4 sm = 240’ ds = 15’ lc = 80’ Minimum Required Columns: 6 Data Group 5 sm = 250’ ds = 15’ 7 B⁄c” lc = 83’ 4” Minimum Required Columns: 5
Group 3 - Configuration A
Group 3 - Configuration B
Group 4 - Configuration A
Group 4 - Configuration B
Group 5 - Configuration
Group 5 - Configuration
The inquiry into the modern rendition of intercolumniation ongoing, the issue of maintaining a clear reading of the column within the proposal came to the forefront. In order to generate a clear reading, the Greek temple served as an integral touchstone. The four elements of the Greek temple, plinth, roof, volume, and column, all read clearly within this typology. In applying this language to the thesis proposal, the main athletic spaces served as volumes analogous to the main temple volume. The question of insuring that the athletic volumes communicated their autonomy became a chief concern.
With questions of intercolumniation and arrangement addressed, as well as a clarity of reading, the final move towards the proposal unfolded.
What would it be like inside of a column? Is a lighthouse a free standing, inhabitable column?
The Thesis: Final Proposal
â€œI will include plans and elevations of many buildings which I designed.â€? ~Andrea Palladio
The culmination of the thesis, the final proposal. This proposal seeks to forward the labors and interpretations of the initial study in a physical form: a public recreation facility for Washington, DC. The column is the champion of this proposal. Addressing the questions of aesthetics, function, and structure, the proposal presents a modern Classical column. The form, with its spreading base, communicates the massive weight each column must carry, recalling Greco-Roman ideas of entasis. Intercolumniation, in modern spirit, emerges as well. In the tradition of Claude Perrault, the recreaction center employs modern space frame technology to allow for greater spans. However, aesthetics are not subjegated by the will of structure alone: the columns group to form an ceremonial entry, a marker on the site. The elements of the proposal, the plinth, roof, volumes, and columns of the Greek temple typology, read clearly.
7th St NW
use tts A ve N
K St NW C
6th St NW
7th St 7thNW St NW
Incremental Measure Incremental Measure
Collective Measure Collective Measure
Section Bend Line
Section Bend Line
Massachusetts Ave NW
Section Bend Line
K St NW
0’ Collective Measure
BIBLIOGRAPHY Alberti, Leon Battista. On the Art of Building in Ten Books. Translated by Joseph Rykwert, Neil Leach, and Robert Tavernor. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1988. Ching, Francis D.K. Building Construction Illustrated. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, 2008. Eisenman, Peter. “Architecture and the Problem of the Rhetorical Figure.” Architecture and Urbanism A+U 202 (July 1987): 16-22. Kamin, Blair. “Driehaus and Krier Do Battle Against Gehry’s Eisenhower Memorial Design.” Chicago Tribune, February 15, 2012. Le Corbusier. Towards a New Architecture. Translated by Frederick Etchells. New York: Dover Publications, 1986. Lewis, Roger K. “Why Classical Architecture Makes Little Sense for Today’s Washington.” Washington Post, May 18, 2012. Murray, Irena and Charles Hind, editors. Palladio and His Legacy: A Transatlantic Journey. Venice: Marsilio, 2010. Palladio, Andrea. The Four Books on Architecture. Translated by Robert Tavernor and Richard Schofield. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1997. Perrault, Claude. Ordonnance for the Five Kinds of Columns after the Methods of the Ancients. Translated by Indra Kagis McEwen, introduced by Alberto PérezGómez. Santa Monica: The Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities, 1993. Rowe, Colin. The Mathematics of the Ideal Villa and Other Essays. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1982. Rowe, Colin and Fred Koetter. Collage City. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1984. Rykwert, Joseph. The Dancing Column: On Order in Architecture. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1996. Rykwert, Joesph. The First Moderns: The Architects of the Eighteenth Century. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1980. Setareh, Mehdi and Robert Darvas. Concrete Structures. Upper Saddle River: Pearson, 2007. Vitruvius. The Ten Books on Architecture. Translated by Morris Hickey Morgan. New York: Dover Publications, 1960. Weston, Richard. Key Buildings of the 20th Century: Plans, Sections and Elevations. New York: WW Norton & Company, 2010.
QUOTATION INDEX Epigraph. Leon Battista Alberti in On the Art of Building in Ten Books, 25. Page 23. Colin Rowe in The Mathematics of the Ideal Villa, 11-12. Page 29. Vitruvius in The Ten Books on Architecture, 104 and 102. Page 43. Vitruvius in The Ten Books on Architecture, 78. Page 65. Colin Rowe in Collage City, 83. Page 75. Vitruvius in The Ten Books on Architecture, 80 and Joseph Rykwert in The First Moderns, 88-89. Page 115. Andrea Palladio in The Four Books on Architecture, 6.
IMAGE CITATIONS All the images in this documentation are of my own creation unless otherwise noted. Page 27. Images of the Villa Savoye. Courtesy of Great Buildings.
Submitted as part of my undergraduate thesis, "The Column as Form and Structure" encapsulates a year of academic inquiry. Looking at the co...
Published on Jun 7, 2015
Submitted as part of my undergraduate thesis, "The Column as Form and Structure" encapsulates a year of academic inquiry. Looking at the co...