Greek Influence in Modern Architecture

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From Doric columns to social areas reminiscent of the Athenian Agora, Greek influence can be found all over the world in today's architecture. To take a quick and easy example, compare the White House to a typical Greek temple. The entrances both have the same triangular pediment supported by columns - in the case of the White House, they are Ionic columns.

Columns for the Greek were like arches to the Romans. Columns of various design were to be found on almost any Greek buildings. As time progressed, the types of column used were changed from Doric to Ionic to Corinthian and Aeolic.

Now these words might not mean much to some of you but if you google image these columns, you will most likely recognise them instantly as cheapened versions commonly found on houses.

I say cheapened versions and I mean it. Most examples of Greek architecture are half-efforts at replicating this great civilisation. Taking the White House entrance again as a classic example of modern Greek Architecture and comparing it to the Parthenon, Athens' pride, the differences will become evident.

The minute details decorating the frieze of the Parthenon are absent In the White House version. In fact, most modern examples of Greek architecture are quite boring compared to the original.

The purpose of a Greek temple was of course to honour the Gods and this purpose has been somewhat maintained. The Roman's held the notion that the most sacred place of all was a man's home and that in some ways is held true by the use of Greek architecture to create a mini temple out of a home.

Staying with the religious side of things, the plan of a typical Greek temple is similar to what is found in modern Christian churches and cathedrals. An open space running down the centre of the temple, the naos or cella, is also present in churches and a space running around this nave is also found in Christian churches. As well as that the pronaos which acted as a sort of entrance hall in a Greek temple is also used in today's churches.

Finally, the end of the nave where the opisthodomos was located is the same location as the altar of a christian church. The opisthodomos was a porch or room sometimes used as a treasury.

It is clear that Greek architecture has an influence on the design of today's buildings although it is no longer present at the vanguard of modern architecture as modern architects are attempting to steer away from classical and renaissance design influence.

More about this author: Sean Hassett

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