The Orders Of Architecture
Joseph Rykwert


Joseph Rykwert

©Monica Pidgeon

l About thirty or forty years ago the Creek and Roman Orders were thought of entirely as a thing of the past. And yet, in the last few years, interest in them has re— vived. I think the reason for this is partly that the architects' situation is so confused that anything which seems to offer the security and inflexibility of the Orders represents a point of appeal for those who wish to make their way out of the confusion. By tradition, there were five of these Orders, three Creek ones — Doric, Ionic and Corinthianf-and two which were added later, the first by the Romans - the Etruscan - and the Composite which was added by 16th Century theorists. What seemed now to be mere formulae, did in fact have an elaborate and fascinating background of specu- lation and ideas which are quite often forgotten in the present scramble for a secure formula.


The Doric, Ionic & Corinthian Orders. From The 16th Century Book 'The First & Chief Groundes Of Architecture' By John Shute

©Monica Pidgeon

The columns of the Orders were traditionally related to the human body: the Doric to the male body, the Ionic to the female and, by a curious lapse, the Corinthian to a maidenly. This is the Doric Order according to the first English book on archi— tecture which was called ’The First and Chief Croundes of Architecture' by a painter of the 16th Century called John Shuts. And, in it, the Doric Order is compared, not just to any human body, but to the figure of Hercules, a powerful figure dressed in a lion mane and holding a huge club to indicate the nakedness, the strength and the enormous power of the Order as a carrier of huge weights.

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