Looking at Buildings

Styles & Traditions


Classicism without Columns

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Felbrigg Hall
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London, Bedford Square

Strictly speaking, every columnGlossary Term should have its own entablatureGlossary Term, but the reverse is not the case: many buildings have full classicalGlossary Term entablatures but no columns or pilasters supporting them. These buildings are known as astylarGlossary Term, that is without columns.

Most ordinary GeorgianGlossary Term house fronts belong in this category, though often the entablatures and openings are very plain, and the classicalGlossary Term spirit of the whole is limited to the general proportions of the storeys.

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The Cenotaph

Certain 20th-century buildings can be described as 'stripped classicalGlossary Term.' In these the details and ornaments of the ordersGlossary Term have disappeared, but the proportions still evoke the classicalGlossary Term tradition, and very simplified cornices and pilasters or square piers may also be used.

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London, No. 69 Fenchurch Street

From the 1980s, Postmodern architecture revived many features of classicalGlossary Term architecture, often in a self-conscious or even joking way. Rather than follow the old forms exactly, Postmodern classicalGlossary Term architecture tends to use simplified paraphrases: cylindrical columns with blocks for capitals, sloping or convex cornices, and coloured or patterned claddingGlossary Term instead of traditional materials.



Of a classical building: with no columns or vertical features.


External covering or skin applied to a structure, especially a framed building.


A term used for the architecture of Ancient Greece and Rome, revived at the Renaissance and subsequently imitated around the Western world. It uses a range of conventional forms, the roots of which are the orders, or types of column each with its fixed proportions and ornaments (especially Doric, Ionic and Corinthian). Classical buildings tend also to be symmetrical, both externally and on plan. Classical architecture in England began c. 1530 with applied ornamental motifs, followed within a few decades by fully-fledged new buildings.


An upright structural member, especially in the classical styles, of round section and with a shaft, a capital, and usually a base.


In classical architecture, collective name for the three horizontal members (architrave, frieze and cornice) carried by a wall.


The architecture of the British Isles in the reigns of George I, II, III and IV, i.e. 1714-1830, in which the classical style and classical proportions became the norm for both major and minor buildings.


The differently formalized versions of the basic post-and-lintel (column and entablature) system in classical architecture. The main orders are Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian. They are Greek in origin but occur in Roman versions. Tuscan is a simple variant of Roman Doric. The Composite capital combines Ionic volutes with Corinthian foliage. Though each order has its own conventions of design and proportion, there are many minor variations. Superimposed orders: orders on successive levels, customarily in the upward sequence of Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, Composite.