Principals of Pelli Clarke Pelli Choose Chadsworth


Restoration of Architects’ Home
By Principals at
Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects
New Haven, CT


*Designers of the world’s most recognizable buildings


From the World Financial Center in New York to the Petronas Towers in Malaysia and the International Finance Centre in Hong Kong, Pelli Clarke Pelli has had the great fortune to design many prestigious projects.  Our portfolio includes retail and mixed-use projects, academic buildings, libraries, museums, research centers, residences and master plans, and we have served private clients, businesses, institutions and government agencies.  Our work has received critical acclaim and hundreds of design awards, including the American Institute of Architects’ Firm Award, the highest honor for an architectural practice.  In 1995, the American Institute of Architects awarded Cesar Pelli the Gold Medal, its highest honor for an individual.  In 2004, the firm was given the Aga Khan Award for Architecture for the Petronas Towers.


For the past six years, two principals at PCPA have been doing a painstaking and loving restoration of their New Haven home, culminating in significant exterior work executed during the past year.  Chadsworth made a significant contribution to that effort.


The copy above was sourced from













Photos courtesy of:  Robert Narracci | Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects.

Moritz Spier House
Location:  New Haven, Connecticut
Year Built:  1895
Architects:  Brown & Von Beren
Style:  Georgian Revival


Consulting with Chadsworth, the architects chose a Scamozzi column capital, which was nearly an exact replica of the severely damaged originals at the main entrance.  Like much of the house, which had been neglected for many decades, the original capitals ultimately proved to be held together by 115 years of paint.  The capitals are a key feature of a strongly symmetrical façade, and the architects were grateful to remain true to the original design intent.  Brown & Von Beren Architects were very active in New Haven, and this house represents a late and rare example of very strict Georgian revival done in the East Rock neighborhood.  The original house owner, Moritz Spier, was a warm-hearted coal merchant known to have carried the accounts of hundreds of families through the many economic downturns of that period.  The house had few owners, and its highly detailed interior woodwork has thankfully remained unpainted.  Because of its large foyer and wide open central staircase, the geometry of the house helped it survive a trend of partitioning large houses into Yale graduate student apartments.  The current owners are pleased to bring this grand structure back to life.

For more information about the principal architects and the firm of Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, please visit their web site at:


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Chadsworth Columns Celebrates 26 Years


Chadsworth Columns Celebrates 26 Years




Byrd Residence Restoration Project

Chadsworth’s 1-800-COLUMNS is honored to have provided the Ionic columns for the restoration of the 1920’s Colonial Revival home — the Byrd Residence.

Located in Fort Worth, Texas, this project was tackled by renowned designers, Christine G. H. Franck & Brent Hull.

This renovation project, along with the respective designers, were honored with the Historic Fort Worth award for Excellence in Preservation and a John Staub Award from The Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, Texas Chapter.

Read more about the project, and see Before & After photographs here:


Byrd Residence Renovation

Byrd Residence Renovation

Byrd Residence Renovation

Byrd Residence Renovation

Classical Comments: Alternating Pediments (By Calder Loth – ICAA)

calder-loth-imgBy Calder Loth
Senior Architectural Historian for the Virginia Department of Historic Resources and a member of the
Institute of Classical Classical Architecture & Art‘s Advisory Council.

Courtesy of: the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art

A perusal of classical facades from ancient times to modern reveals a persistent use of alternating triangular and segmental pediments for topping openings and other architectural features. What is the rationale for this convention? Written discussion of alternating pediments is almost non-existent, thus we might surmise that it was an innately understood device for instilling an interesting visual rhythm to a series of bays or openings. A row of continuous triangular pediments is visually static. Alternating triangular pediments with curved-top ones provides visual lilt and encourages the eye to skip from one end of a facade to the other. Even when a structure has only three bays, alternating their pediment shapes makes a facade livelier than if all three pediments were treated the same.


Figure 1. Temple of Vespasian, Pompeii (Loth)

The courtyard of the Temple to Vespasian in the ruins of Pompeii offers a telling image of the ancient Roman application of alternating triangular and segmental pediments.[i] (Figure 1) Constructed after the earthquake of 62 AD, the bare brick pediments and frames of these blind openings likely served as foundations onto which more fully modeled stuccoed moldings and other ornaments were applied. Such decorative enhancement would have been obliterated in the fallout from the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD. Nevertheless, the denuded elements provide us with an early ancient use of this treatment for pediments. The architectural remains at Pompeii would have been unknown to Renaissance architects since systematic excavations and study of Pompeii were not undertaken until the 18th century.


Figure 2. Great Court side wall, Baalbek, Lebanon (Loth)

Constructed during the reign of the Emperor Trajan, the Great Court of the Temple of Jupiter in the magnificent ruins of Baalbek also preserve examples of alternating pediments. The court’s side walls are embellished with aedicules that presumably held images of deities. (Figure 2) The figures are long gone as are the columns that provided visual support for the surviving pediments. Anchored to the wall, the remaining alternating pediments are sophisticated works of Roman design. Each of the pediments breaks in the middle, with the center portion of each being recessed. Such details may have provided inspiration for Georgian-period designs through Robert Wood’s richly illustrated Ruins of Balbec, Otherwise Heliopolis in Coelosyria (1757).


Figure 3. “Temple of Jupiter,” I Quattro Libri, (Tavenor & Schofield Translation, 2002) Book IV, p. 43.

Andrea Palladio’s Book IV of I Quattro Libri dell’Architettura (1570) is filled with Palladio’s conjectural reconstruction drawings of Roman temples, an invaluable record of many structures that have since been lost. Although alternating triangular and segmental pediments became a standard treatment for openings on many Renaissance buildings, few examples are shown in Quattro Libri’s Book IV, and indeed few if any ancient examples survive in Rome. However, we see aedicules with alternating pediments on the courtyard walls of Palladio’s reconstruction drawings in Book IV of what he named the Temple of Jupiter. Scholars have now identified this temple as the Temple of Serapis, built by the Emperor Caracalla on the Quirinale Hill.[ii] (Figure 3) The ruins were destroyed in 1615; we know the temple and its pediments only through Palladio’s images.


Figure 4. Palazzo Chiericati, Vicenza, Italy (Loth)

Palladio applied alternating pediments in several of his own works including the Palazzo Civena, the Palazzo Thiene, the Palazzo da Porto, the Palazzo Barbarano, the Palazzo Porto-Breganze, and the Teatro Olimpico, all in Vicenza. He undoubtedly learned the device through his detailed study of Roman ruins, such as the temple discussed above, as well as through his observations of works of other Renaissance architects. What is perhaps Palladio’s most conspicuous and elegant application of alternating pediments highlights the center section of Vicenza’s Palazzo Chiericati, begun in 1551 and completed in stages. (Figure 4) Here Palladio placed reclining figures on each slope of the pediments, recalling Michelangelo’s use of such figures albeit more emphatic ones, on the Medici tombs. Palladio installed similar lounging figures on the pediments of the Palazzo Barbarano.


Figure 5. Design for Palazzo Cornaro, The Idea of a Universal Architecture (Architectura & Natura Press, edition, 2003) Vol . III, p. 87 (detail)

Palladio’s protégé, Vincenzo Scamozzi, continued his mentor’s tradition of alternating pediments in his designs for buildings both in Vicenza and Venice. Many of these projects, built and unbuilt, were published in Scamozzi’s treatise, L’Idea della Architettura Universale (1615). One of his more ambitious schemes was for a prodigious palace for Cardinal Federico Cornaro on Venice’s Grand Canal. (Figure 5) Scamozzi’s published elevation in L’Idea displays the top-floor windows framed by aedicules with alternating pediments. As with the Palazzo Chiericati, several of the pediments sport reclining figures. Although the construction of Cardinal Coronaro’s palace never commenced, the design for this and other works in the treatise subsequently influenced architects elsewhere in Europe, especially the Netherlands and Britain.


Figure 6. Banqueting House, Whitehall, London (Loth)

Inigo Jones is credited with introducing Palladio’s and Scamozzi’s versions of the Italian Renaissance mode to Britain. Jones traveled in Italy in 1612-13 where he visited many of Palladio’s buildings and met Scamozzi. He also acquired a copy of Scamozzi’s L’Idea della Architettura Universale.[iii] Jones was appointed Surveyor of the King’s Works in 1615, in which capacity he built several important royal commissions including the Banqueting House at Whitehall Palace in 1619-22. (Figure 6) With its unadulterated Italian character, the Banqueting House launched the first phase of Britain’s Anglo-Palladian movement. Following the precedent of Palladio and Scamozzi, Jones treated the windows of the Banqueting House main level with alternating pediments, some of the first of many to come throughout Britain.


Figure 7. Senate House, Cambridge University (Loth)

Architect James Gibbs was one of Britain’s most influential 18th-century practitioners of the Anglo-Palladian style. Gibbs popularized Palladio’s classical mode not only with his many finely composed buildings but through his two publications: Book of Architecture (1728) and Rules for Drawing the Several Parts of Architecture (1732), both of which served as guides for architects and builders throughout the British Isles and the American colonies. A rich but well-modulated example of Gibbs’s works is the Senate House at Cambridge University, built 1721-30. (Figure 7) As in many of his designs, Gibbs employed alternating pediments for its windows. He departed from convention here by placing the pedimented windows on the ground level with arched windows above. This treatment was probably dictated by the fact that the building has no podium and its interior is a single large room. Hence there is no piano nobile as in more academic classical buildings.


Figure 8. Drayton Hall, South Carolina (Loth)


Figure 9. Plate 38, Designs of Inigo Jones with some Additional Designs

The three second-story windows in the river front of the ca. 1740 Drayton Hall may well be America’s earliest use of alternating pediments and aedicule window frames.[iv] (Figure 8) John Drayton, for whom Drayton Hall was built, owned several British design books, including Vitruvius Britannicus, which illustrates numerous country houses with alternating pediments. However, the use of just three bays with alternating pediments closely resembles a scheme on Plate 38 in Designs of Inigo Jones with some Additional Designs (1727), edited by William Kent. (Figure 9) John Drayton did not own this tome but an illustration for a chimneypiece in this book definitely served as the basis for the chimneypiece in Drayton Hall’s great hall. John Drayton, however, did own James Gibbs’s Book of Architecture (1728), which illustrates individual pedimented Ionic aedicules closely paralleling those at Drayton. While academically correct from a design standpoint, the three windows are somewhat awkwardly placed, particularly the center one, which perches precariously on the tip of pediment below.


Figure 10. Southwest courtyard, Palace of Caserta, Caserta Italy (Loth)

When alternating pediments are employed on a multi-story building, it is usual to have only one level of openings so treated. Upper-level openings either have no pediments or have a row of windows with consistently triangular pediments as in Rome’s Palazzo Farnese. We can only speculate that the reason for this is that more than one level of alternating pediments would make for an overly busy composition. Caserta, the great country palace of the Kings of Naples, built 1752-1780, offers an exception. (Figure 10) The widows on the exterior elevations and in the four huge courtyards are enriched with alternating pediments on two levels. Architect Luigi Vanvitelli was clever enough to stagger the pediments so that the triangular and segmental pediments alternate vertically as well as horizontally. The lively treatment is countered by the palace’s gigantic scale. (Note the scale figure in the photograph.)


Figure 11. Brick Market, Newport, Rhode Island (Loth)

Among the most academic of our colonial-period structures is the 1762 Brick Market in Newport, Rhode Island designed by Peter Harrison, one of the earliest professional architects to work in America. The market’s main level is set off by windows with alternating pediments. (Figure 11) The windows are enhanced with pulvinated friezes and eared architraves. Architectural Historian William H. Pierson maintained that the market’s design was modeled after a now lost gallery of London’s Somerset House, a work attributed to Inigo Jones and illustrated in Colen Campbell’s Vitruvius Britannicus (Vol. 1, Plate 16, 1715). [v] Like the market, the Somerset House design has an arcaded ground floor with windows above framed by pilasters and topped with alternating pediments. Newport’s Brick Market may be the country’s only colonial-period public building to have alternating pediments.


Figure 12. White House, Washington, D.C. (Loth)

America’s most famous display of alternating pediments is, of course, on the White House where the pediments highlight the first-floor windows on both the north and south fronts. (Figure 12) An outstanding example of the Anglo-Palladian style, the White House exhibits the influence of James Gibbs’s designs, but more directly was inspired by Leinster House, the Dublin mansion erected 1745-48 for the Duke of Leinster, and now seat of the Irish Parliament. Designed by Richard Cassels, Leinster House likewise has alternating pediments decorating its windows. James Hoban, architect of the White House, was an Irish native trained in Dublin, and was well acquainted with Leinster house.[vi] Hoban’s White House scheme won the design competition for the President’s House as it was the personal favorite of George Washington.[vii] Our twenty-dollar bills have offered millions of immediately accessible images of the White House and its pediments.


Figure 13. Aile Napoleon, Louvre, Paris (Loth)

An arresting but frequently overlooked use of alternation pediments enlivens the Aile Napoleon (also the Galerie Nord), a wing of the Louvre, now housing the Musée des Arts Decoratifs. Following his becoming First Counsel in 1799, Napoleon determined to achieve the long-standing ambition to connect the Louvre with the north end of the Tuileries Palace, and commissioned architects Charles Percier and Pierre Fontaine to design the connector. For its south elevation, the architects chose to mirror the ca. 1600 facade of the Grand Galerie on the opposite side of the courtyard. Like the Grand Galerie, Percier and Fontaine’s facade was marked by an imposing progression of alternating triangular and segmental pedimented pavilions with each pediment supported on paired Composite pilasters. (Figure 13) The seven westernmost pavilions of the original thirteen sections of the Aile Napoleon were destroyed when the Tuileries was burned during the Commune of 1870, and were rebuilt to a different design. Moreover, the original Grand Galerie facade was lost in the 1860s when refaced with a different scheme by Hector-Martin Lefuel.


Figure 14. Leuchtenberg Palace, Munich, Germany (Loth)

Leo von Klenze’s Leuchtenberg Palace in Munich is instructive for illustrating the effect created by avoiding alternating pediments. Although the palace is a dignified adaptation of the Renaissance mode, one inspired by the Palazzo Farnese and other Roman palaces, von Klenze shunned the time-tested device of alternating pediments for the palace’s middle level windows. (Figure 14) As a result, the continuous row of triangular pediments is monotonous. It gives the facade a static appearance instead of one with the lively rhythm that alternating pediments could provide. Nevertheless, von Klenze’s design launched the Neo-Renaissance movement in 19th-century Germany. The palace was completed in 1816 for Napoleon’s stepson, Eugene de Beauharnais, who married into the Bavarian royal family and was created Duke of Leuchtenberg.


Figure 15. National Building Museum, Washington, D.C. (Loth)

Originally built as the Pension Building, Washington, D.C.’s National Building Museum, completed in 1887, is an awesome if not unique Victorian interpretation of the Italian Renaissance style. Army architect/engineer Montgomery Meigs took Rome’s Palazzo Farnese for inspiration but translated its form in bright red pressed brick and terra cotta, and gave it a facade of twenty-seven bays instead of the Farnese’s thirteen. (Figure 15) Nevertheless, Meigs was faithful to the model in his application of aedicules with alternating pediments for the mid-level windows. He strayed somewhat from the Farnese in his use of the Ionic order here instead of the Corinthian. Yet, true to his model, he maintained consistent triangular pediments for the top floor as did Michelangelo, who added the top story to Antonio da Sangallo’s lower two floors of the Farnese. Meigs’s alternating pediments indeed keep the eye bouncing down all twenty-seven bays.


Figure 16. Otto Kahn Mansion, New York City (Loth)

Alternating triangular and segmental pediments appear infrequently on 20th-century American buildings. The firm of McKim, Mead & White illustrated only a handful of examples in the voluminous monograph of their works. We see scant use of alternating pediments in the buildings of such notables as Carrère & Hastings, John Russell Pope, and Horace Trumbauer. A notable exception to this trend is the fabled mansion of the banker and philanthropist Otto Kahn in the Carnegie Hill neighborhood of New York City. (Figure 16) Designed by the British architect J. Armstrong Stenhouse, with New York’s C.P.H. Gilbert as associate, the main elevations are modeled after the ca. 1500 Palazzo Cancelleria in Rome, which, interestingly, does not have pediments on its windows. The pediments on the Kahn mansion add visual relief to the otherwise seriously Renaissance-style edifice.

Alternating pediments are a useful device for any classical-style building and can enliven an otherwise sober elevation. We would hope to see them used from time to time on 21-century works. I am not aware of recent examples of alternating pediments would appreciate learning of any.

[i] The temple complex is believed to have been originally been dedicated to the Genius of Augustus.
Andrea Palladio, The Four Books on Architecture, Translated by Robert Tavenor and Richard Schofield (MIT Press, 2002) p. 373.
Patti Garvin, Koen Ottenheym, Wilbert Vroom, Vincenzo Scamozzi, The Idea of a Universal Architecture. Volume VI, (Architectura & Natura Press, Amsterdam, 2008), p. 26.
I am indebted to Ralph Muldrow for making this observation.
William H. Pearson, Jr., American Architects and Their Builders; The Colonial and Neo-Classical Styles (Doubleday and Company, 1970) pp. 148-49.
Hoban was trained in Dublin where he received the Duke of Leinster’s medal for drawing from the Dublin Society in 1780.
Like Leinster House, the White House originally was built with an engaged Ionic portico on the north elevation. The present portico was added in 1829.

Take a look at our Decorative Pediments, Combinations, and additional Entryway Systems at:

Classical Comments: Eustyle – By Calder Loth

Classical Comments:  Eustyle

By:  Calder Loth

Senior Architectural Historian for the Virginia Department of Historic Resources and a member of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art’s Advisory Council.


Pantheon portico

Figure 1.  Pantheon portico, Rome; an ancient example of eustyle intercolumniation (Loth)


In The Ten Books on Architecture, the famous (and only surviving) ancient treatise on architecture, its author, Vitruvius, discusses how the character of a temple portico can be affected by the spacing of its columns.  Vitruvius defines closely spaced columns pycnostyle, which means the column shafts are spaced one and a half column diameters apart. This gives a portico a very static appearance. The widest spacing is araeostyle, which is four diameters apart. Vitruvius tells us araeostyle is impossible with masonry construction because the spans are too great for stone architraves. Areaostyle spacing is practical only when architraves are composed of wooden beams. Other types of intercolumniation are systyle (two diameters apart) and diastyle (three diameters apart). In all four spacing types, the columns have equal-width spaces between them.


Vitruvius then informs us that the ideal intercolumniation system is eustyle. As defined by Vitruvius, a eustyle portico has bays that are two and a quarter diameters in width except for the center bay, which is three diameters wide.  Vitruvius proclaimed the superior quality of eustyle spacing, stating, “In this way, the temple will have a beautiful configuration with no obstruction at the entrance.”[1] The term eustyle is derived from the Latin prefix eu, meaning good (as in euphoria—feeling good), and the Latin stilus, a narrow cylindrical object; i.e., a column shaft. The principle of eustyle spacing can be applied to porticos of four (tetrastyle), six (hexastyle), and eight (octastyle) or more columns.


Pantheon portico (detail)

Figure 2.  Pantheon portico (detail), ‘The Four Books’ (Isaac Ware edition, 1738) Book 4, plate LI


In perusing Book 4 of Andrea Palladio’s Quattro Libri (Four Books on Architecture), we might note that the majority of the ancient porticoed temples in Palladio’s reconstruction drawings incorporate some form of eustyle spacing.  Among them is the Pantheon, where Palladio notes that the portico’s center bay, in Vincentine feet and inches,[2] is  9’3½” wide, while the outer bays are 8’2½”wide. (Figure 2) Even though the temples Palladio measured and illustrated normally employ a slightly wider center bay, not all strictly follow Vitruvius’s spacing formula. Indeed, in some of the temple elevations, such as that for the Temple of Saturn, the dimension variation is so subtle that we need to look very carefully to see the effect. (Figure 3) Except for the Ionic temples of Portunus[3] and Saturn,[4] all of the porticoed temples Palladio included in Book 4 are in the Corinthian order, the preferred order for major buildings of the Roman imperial period.


Temple of Concord (Saturn)

Figure 3. Temple of Concord (Saturn), ‘The Four Books’ (Isaac Ware edition, 1738) Book 4, plate XCIII


Palladio employed some form of eustyle spacing in virtually all of his portioced villa and palace designs published in Book 2 of Quattro Libri. Because of the small scale of several of his villa elevations, as illustrated in the original woodcut prints, the eustyle spacing is not readily apparent. We see this in his elevation of the Villa Emo, where eustyle is not depicted. (Figure 4) However, as built, the villa subtly incorporates eustyle spacing in its Tuscan portico. (Figure 5) Palladio made no secret of his preference for eustyle intercolumniation. In Chapter IV of  Book 4 of Quattro Libri, Palladio paraphrased Vitruvius thusly: “So, then, the most beautiful and elegant sort of temple is called eustyle, which occurs when the intercolumniations are two and quarter column diameters, because it is extremely practical and also provides beauty and strength.”[5]


Villa Emo

Figure 4. Villa Emo, (detail), ‘Quattro Libri’ (Tavenor and Schofield translation of the 1570 edition), Book II p. 55


Figure 5. Villa Emo, Fanzolo, Italy (Loth)

Figure 5. Villa Emo, Fanzolo, Italy (Loth)


Among the aesthetic advantages of eustyle intercolumniation is the subliminal focusing of attention on a building’s entrance.  We see this in an almost subconscious way in each of the porticos of Palladio’s Villa Rotonda. (Figure 6) More importantly, making use of eustyle spacing can correct an optical illusion.  Consider, for example, the Tuscan portico of the 1826 Goochland County courthouse with its areaostyle (four diameters) column spacing. (Figure 7) Although the portico’s three bays are exactly the same width, the center bay appears narrower—an optical illusion. In contrast, the similar Tuscan portico on the 1823 Frascati makes use of eustyle intercolumniation. (Figure 8)  As with the Villa Emo, Frascati’s eustyle spacing lends a more visually pleasing character to the composition even though it is not immediately apparent that the center bay is wider, especially if not viewed straight on.


Figure 6. Villa Rotondo, Vicenza, Italy (Loth)

Figure 6. Villa Rotondo, Vicenza, Italy (Loth)


Goochland County Courthouse

Figure 7. Goochland County Courthouse, Goochland, Virginia (Loth)


Figure 8. Frascati, Orange County, Virginia (Loth)

Figure 8. Frascati, Orange County, Virginia (Loth)


Both the Goochland Courthouse and Frascati were designed and built by master builders who had worked for Thomas Jefferson at the University of Virginia. There they learned the classical language, but not necessarily a consistent use of eustyle spacing. Despite his strong advocacy of Palladian forms, Jefferson applied the eustyle principle only rarely. His Pavilion V at the University of Virginia is the only one of the institution’s ten pavilions to have eustyle spacing. (Figure 9) Here the hexastyle Ionic portico bears a strong resemblance to the porticoes of the Villa Rotonda, a work that was an important inspiration for Jefferson.  Jefferson headed his handwritten specification notes on the pavilion: “Pavilion No.V. Palladio’s Ionic modillion order.”[6] His awareness of eustyle is evident further down in the notes where he wrote: “from cent. to cent. of Columns mod 3 1/3 gives intercol. of mod. 2 1/3 the eustyle being 2 ¼ mod . . .”[7] Jefferson also used barely perceptible eustyle spacing in his proposed design for the residence of the United States President, a scheme based on the Villa Rotonda.


Pavilion V, University of Virginia (Loth)

Figure 9. Pavilion V, University of Virginia (Loth)


The 18th-century English Palladian architects were more consistent with their advocacy of Vitruvius’s and Palladio’s preference for eustyle spacing.  A majority of the portioced designs in Colen Campbell’s Vituvius Britannicus (1715 & 1725) have eustyle intercolumniation.  Sir William Chambers discussed some of the issues of eustyle in his Treatise on the Decorative Part of Civil Architecture. “It is however to be observed, that if the measures of Vitruvius be scrupulously adhered to, with regard to the eustyle interval, the modillions in the Corinthian and Composite cornices, and the dentils in the Ionic, will not come regularly over the middle of each column. The ancients, generally speaking, were indifferent about these little accuracies.” [8] Chambers went on to explain how to deal with the problem by making the column spacings slightly wider. Perhaps Campbell and Chambers were inspired by Inigo Jones, the patron saint of the Anglo-Palladian movement, who employed eustyle spacing conspicuously in the loggia on the Queen’s House, Greenwich (1616-35), a herald of English Palladianism. (Figure 10)


Queen’s House, Greenwich, England

Figure 10. Queen’s House, Greenwich, England, ‘Vituvius Britannicus’, Vol. 1, plate 15


The Anglo-Palladian architect, James Gibbs, on the other hand, was less concerned with eustyle design. He is silent on the subject in his otherwise highly influential Rules for Drawing the Several Parts of Architecture (1732). Moreover, nearly all of Gibbs’s portioced designs in A Book of Architecture (1728) lack eustyle spacing. Even his most famous work, St. Martin in the Fields (1722-26) avoids eustyle spacing, a design that influenced hundreds of American churches. (Figure 11) We might note, however, that in one of the most faithful adaptations of St. Martin, the 1924 All Souls Unitarian Church in Washington, D.C., architect Henry Shepley applied eustyle spacing in its Corinthian portico. (Figure 12)  Shepley may have been adhering to Chambers’ advice on how to handle the eustyle principle with the Corinthian order. More likely, he was following William R. Ware’s instructions in The American Vignola, the textbook for nearly every American architect of the first half of the 20th century. Ware wrote,


“The ancients . . . preferred what they called Eustyle Intercolumniation, of two and one-half Diameters (or three and one-half Diameters on centers, in place of three Diameters). But the moderns prefer to make the Eustyle Intercolumniation two and one-third Diameters (setting the columns three and one-third Diameters on centers), as this brings even Columns in Ionic and Corinthian colonnades exactly under the Dentil, and every alternate one just under a Modillion, the Dentils being one-sixth of a Diameter on centers, and Modillions two thirds of a Diameter.” [9]


If we look carefully at All Souls’ portico, we can see that each column is centered under a modillion.


St. Martin in the Fields

Figure 11. St. Martin in the Fields (detail), James Gibbs, ‘A Book of Architecture’, plate 3


All Souls Unitarian Church

Figure 12. All Souls Unitarian Church, Washington, D.C. (Loth)


Eustyle spacing is not so accommodating for the Doric order. If a column is to be properly centered beneath a triglyph, the middle bay cannot be widened without adding an extra triglyph, thus precluding any chance for a less pronounced increase in spacing in the center. We see this in comparing the porticos of Monticello (Figure 13) and the Redwood Library. (Figure 14) Monticello’s portico bays are the same width, but even here, the center bay appears narrower than the flanking bays. The entablature in the Redwood Library’s center bay employs the extra triglyph resulting in the center bay being conspicuously wider.


Monticello portico

Figure 13. Monticello portico (Loth)


Redwood Library, Newport, Rhode Island

Figure 14. Redwood Library, Newport, Rhode Island (Historic American Buildings Survey)


An awareness of the ancient principle of eustyle intercolumniation prompts us to take a more careful notice of the numerous porticoes we encounter. Many of the great landmarks of the American Renaissance employ eustyle spacing, including the Columbia University Library, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Supreme Court. John Russell Pope did not overlook the effectiveness of this age-old principle in what is perhaps the nation’s most prodigious Corinthian portico, on the National Archives. (Figure 15) Oftentimes the effect is so subtle that, like the Pantheon, it is more felt than seen.

National Archives

Figure 15. National Archives, Washington, D. C. (Loth)


[1] Thomas Gordon Smith, Vitruvius on Architecture, (The Monacelli Press , 2003) p. 96
Though various Renaissance texts vary, the Vincentine foot is approximately 13.5 inches imperial.
Called by Palladio the Temple of Fortuna Virilis.
Called by Palladio the Temple of Concord.
Andrea Palladio, The Four Books on Architecture, Translated by Robert Tavenor and Richard Schofield, (MIT Press, 1997) p. 219.
Mesick-Cohen-Waite Architects, Pavilion V, Historic Structure Report (University of Virginia, 1994) p. 20.
Sir William Chamber, A Treatise on the Decorative Part of Civil Architecture (2003 Dover Publications reprint of the London, 1791 third edition) p. 81.
William R. Ware, The American Vignola (1994 Dover Publications Reprint of the 1903 edition) p. 47.