THE IONIC ORDER

HISTORY of THE IONIC ORDER

GREEK IONIC ORDER

The Ionic Order derives from the Grecians who occupied Ionia, a Greek city-state that neighbored the Greek islands predominately around the middle of the 6th century.  The development of this order gave way to more noticeably complex, elaborate, and ornate detailing, which was a clear deviation and evolution of the earlier Doric Order – that was, in essence, more primitive and austere.

The most obvious features of the Ionic Order were its more slender proportions as well as the unique volutes, or scrolls, of the capital.  Vitruvius correlated the Ionic Order with femininity by linking the column’s slender proportions to the female figure and associating the capital’s scrolls to the curls of a woman’s hair.  This connection between column and female figure was also seen in early Egyptian temples honoring female deities, such as the constructed caryatid of the goddess Hathor.  It is believed that the first Ionic columns were constructed and represented the Greek goddesses, Hera (island of Samos) and, Artemis (in Ephesus).

Although the origins of the Ionic Order are clear, the origins of the Ionic capital – itself – are obscure.  Egyptian artwork conveys scroll-like capital details that many have said resemble rams’ horns, shells, or even the scroll pattern of rolled-up papyrus; and many ancient Ionic capitals possess spirals that mimic the curvature of plant life.  Some of the earliest Greek Ionic capitals are seen at the temple of Apollo, in Bassae as well as at the Erechtheum, in Athens.

Typically, the Ionic Order is exemplified by slender proportions and has a column height between 8 and 9-1/2 diameters, while the column shaft is predominately fluted (24) times around with the flutes being rounded off instead of ending at both the top and bottom of the column shaft.  The column shaft terminates downward to an Ionic (or Attic) base that consists of two convex tori (an upper and lower ring) that are divided by a concave section called a scotia.  The earliest Attic bases did not have square plinths below the base molding.  Flutes at the top of the column shaft are also rounded off before meeting the capital’s echinus that is generally ornamented on the front and back with egg-and-dart detailing above a bead-and-reel molding pattern.  The echinus transitions into two, parallel pairs of volutes that are around 2/3 the diameter of the column shaft in height and are topped off by a rectangular abacus, which is greatly smaller than the abacus in the Doric Order; and the abacus is generally enriched with a molded pattern – such as a lamb’s tongue design, for instance – around its rim.  Occasionally, in between the top of the column shaft and the bottom of the capital’s echinus featured an extended neck that was adorned with palmette, anthemion, or honeysuckle ornamentation, as seen on the columns at the Erechtheion.

Ionic entablatures are approximately 1/5 of the height of the Order as a whole and consist of 3 main parts (bottom to top):  the architrave, the frieze, and the cornice.  The architrave has three fasciae that overlay on each plane that have little to no decoration.  Early Greek entablatures omitted the frieze section, but other examples show friezes that were unadorned and generously fabricated with relief sculptures.  Triglyphs were excluded in order to avoid vertical interruption altogether.  The uppermost part of the entablature, the cornice, has no mutules but displays rich dentils underneath the ovolo; and the corona and cyma recta molding top off the cornice section of the Ionic entablature – both of which project over the frieze.

Overall, the Greek Ionic Order displays more elaborate decoration than seen within the Greek Doric Order – and according to Vitruvius – Greek Ionic columns were representative of female figures all the way from the captials’ volutes (a woman’s hair) to the flutes on the column shaft, which signified the folds of a woman’s dress.  As so, Greek Ionic columns are best utilized for projects that call for elegance and sophistication.

ROMAN IONIC ORDER

As with the Doric Order, the Romans were not unfamiliar with the Greek’s application and elements of the Ionic Order, and they gradually made distinct modifications to several areas in what is considered the framework of the Greek Ionic Order.  However – for Roman architecture – the Ionic order was not as favored as the Corinthian Order or the Roman’s very own, Composite Order.  One of the notable Roman applications of the Ionic Order is seen at the Temple of Fortuna Virilis.

The most obvious features of the Ionic Order, still implemented by Roman architects, were its more slender proportions as well as the unique volutes, or scrolls, of the capital.  While the volutes were a universal identifier of the Ionic Order, the Romans created other variations of Ionic capitals.  Generally, Roman Ionic capitals seemed smaller than the most familiar Greek counterparts; and whereas a typical Greek Ionic capital had a pair of two parallel volutes, the Romans invented an Ionic capital with four identical sides – each possessing volutes that are equally angled.  Another popular practice for Roman Ionic capitals was to position the volutes at all four corners of the capital – giving it a total of (8) volutes.  This method was used to avoid the abrupt ending of a column that was situated at the corner of a structure.  The 16th century Renaissance architect Vincenzo Scamozzi created a version of this 4-sided capital, known – respectively – as the Scamozzi capital.

As mentioned in the History of the Greek Ionic Order, Vitruvius correlated the Ionic Order with femininity by linking the column’s slender proportions to the female figure and associating the capital’s scrolls to the curls of a woman’s hair.  This connection between column and female figure was also seen in early Egyptian temples honoring female deities, such as the constructed caryatid of the goddess Hathor.

The Roman Ionic Order still showcased columns with leaner proportions that had a height between 8 and 9-1/2 diameters.  In some instances, Roman architects reduced the height to 7 diameters, but the previous is what is widely considered standard even today.

Greek column shafts were always fluted, but Roman Ionic column shafts could be either fluted or unfluted.  The shaft in the Ionic Order as a whole, though, is predominately fluted (24) times around with the flutes being rounded off instead of ending at both the top and bottom of the column shaft.  The column shaft terminates downward – with a congé on the shaft – to an Ionic (or Attic) base that consists of two convex tori (an upper and lower ring) that are divided by a concave section called a scotia.  Below the slightly larger torus (lower ring), the moldings sat atop a square plinth that was 1/3 the height of the base moldings.  In some occasions, the complete column stood on top of a pedestal.

Flutes at the top of the column shaft are also rounded off before meeting the capital’s echinus that is generally ornamented on the front and back with egg-and-dart detailing above a bead-and-reel molding pattern.  Volutes on capitals that are positioned at an angle extend below the small, ornamented bead-molding.

Roman Ionic entablatures frequently dawned ornamentation at every possible location of the entablature, and they are approximately 1/5 of the height of the Order as a whole.  The entablature is broken down into 3 main parts (bottom to top):  the architrave, the frieze, and the cornice.  The architrave has three fasciae that overlay on each plane – the bottom which rested on top of the capital’s abacus.  The frieze regularly showcased garlands, putti, and other accents that appeared opulent.  At the Thermae of Diocletian, pulvinated friezes were first introduced.  Triglyphs were excluded in order to avoid vertical interruption altogether.  The uppermost part of the entablature, the cornice, has no mutules but displays rich dentils underneath the ovolo; and the corona and cyma recta molding top off the cornice section of the Ionic entablature – both of which project over the frieze and help support a projecting roof.  For the most part, Roman Ionic entablatures were highly decorated to convey a lavish and magnificent lifestyle.

Overall, the Roman Ionic Order can be associated with a female figure all the way from the capitals’ volutes (a woman’s hair) to the flutes on the column shaft, which signified the folds of a woman’s dress.  Many scholars have also correlated the Ionic Order with both wisdom and grace.  As so, Roman Ionic columns are best utilized for projects that call for elegance and sophistication.


PLATES

(click on the plates to review the .pdf)

The Ionic Order - Plate The Ionic Order Layout - Plate The Ionic Order Entablature - Plate The Ionic Volute - Plate The Ionic Order In Design - Plate
ORDER LAYOUT ENTABLATURE VOLUTE IN DESIGN
Courtesy of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art  |  Renderings by:  M. Gunnison Collins

CLASSICAL APPLICATIONS

•  Temple of Minerva Polias (Greek)
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•  The Erechtheion, Athens (Greek)
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•  Temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae (Greek)
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•  Temple of Fortuna Virilis (Roman)
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•  S. Maria Maggiore Basilica (Roman)
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Ionic Order - Roman Ionic Plain Columns - Chadsworth Columns

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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THE DORIC ORDER

HISTORY of THE DORIC ORDER

GREEK DORIC ORDER

The application of Post & Beam as a structural entity was collectively practiced by many early civilizations – such as the Cretan and the Minoan – that predate the wave of classical Grecian architecture.   Architectural intricacies of what is now considered as the Doric Order appeared in Egyptian work, like the colonnade from the funerary temple of Queen Hatshepsut (1480 B.C.).

Although elements of the Doric Order observed in the most primitive applications of architecture existed before the canonization of the 5 Classical Orders of Architecture, the Greeks are widely recognized for compiling the strands of architectural thought to form a precedence that could be classified and defined in all its elements.  Most notably, the Parthenon in Athens – since the mid 18th century – has been considered as the model of proportions and antiquity.

Highly distinguished as the earliest and the simplest of the classical orders, Greek Doric columns have a height (including the capital) between 4 and 6-1/2 times their diameter and consist of a capital and column shaft with no molded base.  Instead, Greek Doric columns sat directly on a stylobate, or a tiered step-structure.  The column shaft has a convex profile (or entasis) and typically consists of 20 shallow, concave vertical flutes; occasionally, the Greek Doric shafts were left unfluted to give them a more archaic and sturdy look.  On fluted columns, the shaft ends when the flutes meet a band of 3 horizontal grooves, or hypotrachelion, at which point the flutes continue upward onto the columns’ neck.  The top of the necking consists of horizontal rings called annulets, which signify the end of the column shaft and the beginning of the Greek Doric capital.  Above the annulets, the column transitions upward to the capital portion which is first introduced to a convex, cushion-like component called the echinus that supports a plain, square abacus – thus ending the column section of the Greek Doric Order and leading into the Greek Doric entablature.

Vitruvius sets the prototype for the Greek Doric entablature, which consists of 3 main parts (bottom to top):  the architrave, the frieze, and the cornice.  The architrave consists of two bands – the lower band consisting of a flat face and the upper band consisting of flat molding (or taenia) that contains, underneath, guttae – or drops that resemble a cone like shape.  There are generally 18 total guttae, broken up into three rows of 6 that lie underneath the mutules.  The frieze is most noticeable for its triglyphs that are positioned directly over the column’s center-line as well as directly over the center-line within the spacing of each column.  The uppermost portion of the entablature, the cornice, is broken up in two portions – the cymatium and the corona – both of which project over the frieze.

Overall, the Doric Order commonly displays minimal decoration, and according to Vitruvius – Doric columns were traditionally representative in form to the stature of a man’s body because of their broad proportions and utilitarian, structural purposes.  As so, Greek Doric columns are best utilized for projects that require a sense of stability and refinement.

ROMAN DORIC ORDER

Even before the Roman conquest of Greek colonies in southern Italy, Roman architecture’s assimilation of the Grecian architectural form was already in motion.  Although Roman architects implemented the Greek’s use of the Doric Order, they gradually made significant modifications to many components of the Doric Order.  The Theatre of Marcellus in Rome is an early, prime example of an application that blends both Greek traditional standards and Roman architectural advancements of the Doric Order as a whole.  In this paradigm, the columns mimic the Greek Doric style by excluding the base portion of the column and simply resting the shaft on an elevated surface; whereas, Roman influence includes a plain column shaft that is more slender (7.65 diameters high) leading up to a simplified ring, or astragal, that signified the end of the column shaft and beginning of the neck leading up to a Tuscan-like capital.

As the Roman Doric Order continued to evolve (throughout 400 centuries), additional modules appeared within the order that are more representative of what is currently acknowledged as the Roman Doric Order, and due in large part to the advancement of printing, we are able to reflect on different versions of the orders from a variety of Renaissance authors and architects.  Agreeably, the column is 8 diameters high with a fluted shaft.  Also, a base molding and a plinth was added to the bottom of the column shaft to show the termination of the column itself.  The two styles of base moldings introduced were the Roman Doric style and the Ionic [Attic] style – both which sat atop a flat, square plinth.  The necking of the column, above the astragal, often was adorned with 4 or 8 decorative rosettes or paterae. (See our Renaissance Doric capital).  The astragal may be ornamented with a bead-and-reel molding, while the echinus may display a decorative egg-and-dart pattern around the molding.

The Roman Doric entablature also experienced modifications as the architrave was occasionally divided into two fasciae that were sometimes plain and sometimes decorated.  The frieze maintained triglyphs positioned at the column’s center (and not touching at the frieze’s angles), but the frieze’s metopes were often garnished with rosettes, paterae, or bucrania.  The cornice was also more elaborate as it showcased dentils on the bed-moldings, and its soffit was richly decorated with guttae and geometrical moldings spaced between the mutules.

Although modified, the Roman Doric Order was still associated with sturdiness and masculinity, and according to Serlio, Roman Doric columns were suitable for the application in churches dedicated to specific male Saints who may have participated in military action.  Overall, the Roman Doric Order is observed as simplistic with slight ornamentation, having broad proportions and practical when a project’s objective is to appear firm and stout.


PLATES

(click on the plates to review the .pdf)

The Doric Order - Plate The Doric Layout - Plate Denticulated Doric - Plate Mutulary Doric - Plate Mutulary Doric Pediment - Plate Doric Order Spacing - Plate Doric Order In Design - Plate
DORIC ORDER
DORIC LAYOUT
DENTICULATED DORIC
MUTULARY DORIC
MUTULARY PEDIMENT
   DORIC    SPACING
   IN    DESIGN

Courtesy of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art  |  Renderings by:  M. Gunnison Collins


CLASSICAL APPLICATIONS

•  The Parthenon (Greek)
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•  The Lion Tomb at Cnidos (Greek)
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•  The Temple of Hephaestus (Greek)
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•  The Roman Doric temple at Cori (Roman)
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•  The Theatre of Marcellus (Roman)
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Mahogany Wood Greek Doric Fluted Column by Chadsworth Columns

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exterior Fluted Fiberglass Greek Doric Columns by Chadsworth Columns

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interior Wood Fluted Roman Doric Columns with Attic Bases by Chadsworth Columns

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exterior Plain Roman Doric Columns with Roman Doric Bases by Chadsworth Columns

This Old House | Manchester, MA

MOVIES & TELEVISION | THIS OLD HOUSE

PhotoTech PB4 521

PHOTOGRAPHY:  PASCAL BLANCON

PHOTOGRAPHY: PASCAL BLANCON

COLUMN DESIGN NUMBERDesign #109

COLUMN DESIGN:  Authentic Replication (Architectural) fluted wood columns.  Decorative Roman Doric capital and Ionic (Attic) base moldings / plinths.

 

COLUMN MATERIAL:  Finger-Jointed Pine

 

COLUMN SIZE:  [Round] – 10″ x 8′  |  [3/4 Square] – 10″ x 8′

PROJECT LOCATION:  Manchester, Massachusetts

 

PROJECT COMMENTS:  Chadsworth’s Wood Columns were featured on the television series, This Old House, for an interior residential project.  It featured architectural Roman Doric columns with Roman Doric Renaissance capitals and Ionic (Attic) base moldings / plinths that were made of wood.  Also, notice the fluted Roman Doric Renaissance pilaster that precedes the round column before the main dining area.  This is known as an “Ante-column.” Ante – the Greek pre-fix meaning “before.”

 

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Hillside Farmhouse | Boston, MA

RENOVATION PROJECTS | HILLSIDE FARMHOUSE

PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF:  KRISTINA E. ELDRENKAMP, EXTERIOR, RENOVATION

PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF: KRISTINA E. ELDRENKAMP, EXTERIOR, RENOVATION

COLUMN DESIGN NUMBERCustom

COLUMN DESIGN:  Architectural Wood – Partially fluted.  Greek Doric taper, with Greek Doric flutes that start 2′-08-7/8″ from the bottom of the column shaft.  Greek Doric capital and no base molding / plinth.

 

COLUMN MATERIAL:  Finger-Jointed Western Red Cedar

 

COLUMN SIZE:  14″ x 8′-10-1/2″

PROJECT LOCATION:  Boston, Massachusetts

 

PROJECT COMMENTS:  Chadsworth Columns specializes in custom columns.  We can make wood columns to your exact overall specifications.  This projects features (4) of Chadsworth’s custom Greek Doric columns for a renovation project in the Boston, Massachusetts area.

 

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Private Residence | Chestnut Hill, MA

PRIVATE DWELLINGS | CHESTNUT HILL, MA

PHOTOGRAPHY:  PETER LABAU, ARCHITECT - CLASSIC RESTORATIONS

PHOTOGRAPHY: PETER LABAU, ARCHITECT – CLASSIC RESTORATIONS

COLUMN DESIGN NUMBERDesign #121

COLUMN DESIGN:  Architectural wood, fluted, round, tapered Roman Corinthian columns.

 

COLUMN MATERIAL:  Paint-grade, finger-jointed lumber

 

COLUMN SIZE:  12″ x 7′-10-1/4″  |  10″ x 7′-10-1/4″

PROJECT LOCATION:  Chestnut Hill, MA

 

PROJECT COMMENTS:  Chadsworth’s 1-800-COLUMNS provided (2) – 12″ x 7′-10-1/4″ fluted, round Roman Corinthian wood columns as well as (6) – 10″ x 7′-10-1/4″ Roman Corinthian wood pilasters for a private residence in Massachusetts.  The pilasters have a custom base and the round columns have Ionic (Attic) base moldings / plinths.

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