Roman marvel has also incorporated Greek form and style. More than just impressive Greek architecture is timeless. We don’t have to dig in ruins to find Greek architecture, it is all around us.
One of The main feature of Greek architecture is columns. Greek columns come in three verity or orders, ‘Doric’, ‘Ionic’, and ‘Corinthian’. All three shares the same fluted column or drum, where they differ is at the top which is called the capital of the column.
Columns were not the only significant feature, there was more to Greek architecture. Greeks built breathtaking temples as well as treasuries, stadiums, and theaters.
The structure of the Greek temple is a roofed rectangle and surrounded by columns. The roof spanned the gaps between columns to provide a solid surface and rested upon an even plane called an ‘Entablature’.
As temple building developed architects added decorations to the entablatures called ‘Meta Peace’, separated from each other by three lines called a ‘Tri Glyph’.
The holiest place of the temple was a smaller enclosure called a ‘mouse’ lined with its own columns, and usually housed an idol of the deity for whom the temple was built.
Perhaps the most famous The Greek temple is the ‘Parthenon’. The Athenians began building this temple to Athena in 447 BC and did not complete it until fifteen years later.
It even had an extra feature the Meta piece depicting a battle centaurs and Lapiths.
We can see how they tapered the columns at the top to make the building look taller a trick they called ‘entasis’.
Yet the mind expects right angles, by taking advantage of the mind’s expectations the Greek architects could make the Parthenon appear even larger than it actually was. The overall effect is one of airy grandeur.
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Treasuries and stadiums pop up in important Panhellenic sites like Delphi and Olympia. Places where all the Greeks came to worship, meet and compete.
Stadiums provided a place to watch the competitions. These stadiums were not the massive round affairs that we have today but rather tiered benches along the side of a long track called a ‘Stade’ which is where we get the name ‘stadium’.
Competitors would race down the stade and back again. Another way the city-states competed that these holy sites were by making lavish donations to the God which they housed in the treasuries, is full of treasure, treasuries lacked the airy openness of the Greek temples.
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Yet perhaps the most distinctly Greek piece of architecture is the Theatre indeed. An archeologistcan identify a Greek colony based on little else.
Greeks use their theaters for more than just entertainment. Theaters were both religious and competitive and the Greeks took the theater and music competitions as seriously as their sporty events.
If the Greeks refined their engineering skills in their temples they mastered it in their theaters.
Greeks theaters are an engineering marvel vast enough to seat thousands yet precisely designed to carry the slightest sound all the way to the back.
At the center of every Greek theater lays a small stone, this is the sweet spot of the theatre. From that spot, even the slightest whisper resonates and spoken words ring like the voice of God.
No stage, no hall no cathedral can match the acoustic mastery of the Greek theaters. The Greeks left us an architectural legacy that we have failed to improve upon.
None have matched the Greek balance of elegance and power, grace and gravity in three thousand years. Sure Roman arches are quite useful and their dome defied gravity.
Castles are beautiful relics and we don’t build many Gothic cathedrals these days.
Steel and glass have replaced the stone, and steel and glass have allowed the modern architects to construct marvelous, unimagined by the Greeks.
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So it may seem that we have achieved with steel but the Greeks merely suggested with curves and angles.
Greek architecture by tailoring itself to human perception somehow contrives to be the grander and tallest tower.
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