Looking at Buildings

Styles & Traditions


Conventional Classical Features

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Liverpool, St George's Hall

Besides the different ordersGlossary Term, many other conventional features make up the classicalGlossary Term language of architecture.

The porticoGlossary Term derives directly from the classicalGlossary Term temple. It is made up of columns or pilasters, usually with a pedimentGlossary Term on top. A porticoGlossary Term often marks the major entrance to a building.

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The Banqueting House
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London, Huth's Bank (former)

Though pediments originally reflected the form of the end gableGlossary Term of a temple, they were also used decoratively over doorways, windows or niches, especially by the Romans. Curved segmental pediments may also appear alongside or instead of triangular ones. A range of windows may have an alternating row of pediments, triangular and segmental.

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The Reform Club

A broken pedimentGlossary Term omits the central upper part or the whole centre, an open pedimentGlossary Term(shown) the centre of the architraveGlossary Term or lower part.

An aediculeGlossary Term is a surround with a pedimentGlossary Term and often also two small columns or pilasters. The word comes from the Latin for 'little building.'

Plain stonework can be outlined with grooves (rusticated), often in combination with a rough or rock-like finish, or horizontally incised (banded). QuoinsGlossary Term are rusticated blocks used at the ends or angles of a building.

Parapets may be ornamented with urns or vases, or with balustrades, which have uprights of various forms usually quite unlike full-scale columns. Balustrades like this also appear on some staircases.

Other classicalGlossary Term forms were taken over from Egyptian architecture, notably the obeliskGlossary Term and the pyramid. These were used as the basis for new monuments, and sometimes also decoratively, on a small scale.

ClassicalGlossary Term architecture has always accommodated ornamental sculpture, whether as grand figure groups in pediments, statues on parapets or pedestals, or relief panels of various kinds.

Other common mouldings and enrichmentsGlossary Term associated with the classicalGlossary Term styles are illustrated in the glossary.

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London, Lodge, Euston Station
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London, Taviton Street, Bloomsbury
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Westminster Bank (former)


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