The Influence of the Classical Style on Modern Structures Its 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 Presley records. This is also true with architecture.
Its 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, table 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 Parthenon 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". web.