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Influence of Classical Architecture in 21st Century Buildings

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Architecture
Wordcount: 2033 words Published: 8th Feb 2020

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Numerous structures that surround us daily have features, details and foundations of classical architecture. Classical architecture is deliberately derived from the principles of Greek and Roman architecture of classical antiquity, unambiguously from the works of Vitruvius. According to the websites “looking at buildings”, they say classical architecture is considered by a variety of conventional forms, whose roots are orders or types of columns, each with its proportions and fixed ornaments (Doric, Ionic and Corinthian). As stated by Neoclassicism.us, the use of the Greek and Roman aspects for symbolic and functional purposes was an incessant and dominant trend in Western art for a century after 1750. The Neoclassicisms was a movement where the revival of many styles and the spirit of ancient times were directly inspired in the classical period. In the United States, this movement influenced the civil government, the ideas, literature and arts of the eras of Thomas Jefferson in 1743 to 1826, who designed the state capitol of Virginia, The Rotunda (University of Virginia) and Monticello, at age 26 after inheriting land from his father.

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Neoclassicism was characterized by symmetry, elegance and sobriety, the use of a single order (Doric, Ionic or Corinthian, rather than baroque overlay); In addition, neoclassical buildings have clean and elegant lines, neat appearance, massive buildings, by scale grandeur, simplicity of geometric shapes, dramatic use of columns and a preference for blank walls. As stated by worldofleveldesign.com, the columns were used to carry the weight of the structure of the buildings. But then they got to used it as a graphic element. The roof is usually flat and horizontal and is often visible from the ground. The exterior was built in such a way that it represents classical perfection. The doors and windows were built to represent that perfection. The new taste for ancient simplicity represented a general reaction to the excesses of the Rococo style. What makes the difference between classical and neoclassical architecture is that classicism refers to art produced in antiquity; Meanwhile, Neoclassicism refers to art produced later but inspired by antiquity.

An example of the influence of classical architecture is the University of Virginia roundabout, which is the most emblematic building, which stands as the centerpiece of the Thomas Jefferson academic village. According to Grove Art Online, the Rotunda is seen as a lasting symbol of Jefferson’s belief in the separation of church and education, as well as his lifelong dedication to both education and architecture. Jefferson based it on the Pantheon in Rome with its proportions reduced by one half. This magnificent and domed building, with two tiers of windows behind the six-columned portico and pediment, faces the lawn, with a view of the distant mountains. Jefferson subtly emphasized the view by gradually increasing the spaces between the pavilions, thus falsifying the perspective and increasing the apparent length of the lawn. Jefferson designed and proposed his design to the visitors ‘ board in 1821. The construction began in 1822 and was completed in 1826, although the steps that led to the portico were not built until 1832. The Rotunda has been restored several times since the fire, even in 1976 for the Bicentennial celebration. The most recent restoration work began in 2012 and was completed at 2016. The Rotunda represents the “authority of nature and the power of Reason” and was inspired by the pantheon of Rome. The grounds of the new university were unique because they surrounded a library instead of a church, as was common in other universities.

The Rotunda is considered a lasting symbol of Jefferson’s belief in the separation of church and education, as well as his lifelong dedication to education and architecture. Based on the pantheon of Agrippa of Roman times, its central structure is circular and is preceded by a architrave architecture with a large tympanum similar to the facades of Greek temples, its columns are Corinthian order with the smooth axis , the materials in the columns and in other parts of the building are marble, while the walls are brick, the building suffered a big fire in 1895, after rescuing everything that could be inside, like a library, began its reconstruction and due The deterioration of the building is currently in restoration.

The changes were many and yet architecture had an influence on the reflection of its policies and the need to build new buildings that were in line with the new government policies arose.

Due to the influence they had with the European countries, they brought the neoclassical to their new projects, but representing more Greek styles and as a symbol of power projected their great cupolas, of Roman origin, since in their majority the style and the form It coincided with old buildings that we can admire in the Greco architecture and the Palladian style.

The constructions, mostly of marble, speak of how much they are interested in the aesthetics in their buildings and also the style in their decorative columns, which creates a allusive power and a great beauty, so they took their references from the old constructions of the Acropolis of Athens carried out each project, but without leaving aside the style of architect who was at the height of its splendor. The political and economic power that denotes the United States is reflected in its architectural style. Its architecture represents power at its highest magnificence, at the same time as the greatness of the American people.

The study of classical architecture taught me about symmetry, proportion, and balance, it also opens your eyes to the history. It is interesting that after many years, classical architecture which was developed in ancient Greece and Rome with famous buildings such as the Parthenon of Attica. Since then, Classical architecture it has continued to influence over the years. Ultimately, I think the knowledge of classical architecture covers much more than modern architecture just because it allows us to design in any style, providing a firm understanding of the classical principles that have endured throughout history.  Classical architecture will continue to be deeply rooted in the decorative arts, furniture and all kinds of architecture that will probably continue to be a significant impact, showing us the influence of classical architecture around us.

https://www.google.com/maps/uv?hl=en&pb=!1s0x89b38645c3e1a2f7%3A0x7c424e84bcb81680!2m22!2m2!1i80!2i80!3m1!2i20!16m16!1b1!2m2!1m1!1e1!2m2!1m1!1e3!2m2!1m1!1e5!2m2!1m1!1e4!2m2!1m1!1e6!3m1!7e115!4shttps%3A%2F%2Flh5.googleusercontent.com%2Fp%2FAF1QipMQBb0qe5GK1xQD2khXnHs1mDdSsBA2K38lFyCq%3Dw240-h160-k-no!5srotunda%20university%20of%20virginia%20-%20Google%20Search!15sCAQ&imagekey=!1e10!2sAF1QipO2rdKze6SO7PbRY0OA8EW4wHs7mFydi353Ywr0&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiL5qrJ0PvhAhWtneAKHRyqAjgQoiowF3oECAsQBg (Accessed: April 23,2019)

1819 draft of the Rotunda


The Great Rotunda Fire in 1895

Renovation underway on the Rotunda in 2011, with the Jefferson statue in the foreground

  • Article Title Itineraries in Treviso – Andrea Palladio – BHR Hotel Treviso
  • Date Accessed April 23, 2019


Works Cited

  • Randel, Steven Corley. “Roots of Style: Classical Details Flourish in 21st-Century Architecture.” Houzz, Houzz, 15 Nov. 2013, www.houzz.com/magazine/roots-of-style-classical-details-flourish-in-21st-century-architecture-stsetivw-vs~19816547.
  • Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Neoclassical Architecture.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 11 Jan. 2013, www.britannica.com/art/Neoclassical-architecture.
  • “Looking at Buildings.” Looking at Buildings:  Classical Architecture, www.lookingatbuildings.org.uk/styles/classical.html.
    neoclassicism.us. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 May. 2019.
  • Gontar, Cybele. “Neoclassicism.” In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/neoc_1/hd_neoc_1.htm (October 2003)
  • worldofleveldesign.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 May. 2019.


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