The Parthenon As A Architectural Marvel Essay

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The Parthenon As A Architectural Marvel Essay, Research Paper “The Parthenon…enjoys the reputation of being the most perfect Doric temple ever built. Even in antiquity, its architectural refinements were legendary, especially the subtle correspondence between the curvature of the stylobate, the batter, or taper, of the naos walls and the entasis of the columns.” This quote from John Julius Norwhich’s book, Great Architecture of The World , describes perfectly the reason for which the Parthenon in Athens, which is probably the most famous and most studied building on earth has had an incredible influence on modern and ancient architecture. Buildings even now continue to borrow parts of the doric order of which it is built. The Parthenon while deceptively simple in

design is in fact an intricate and complex piece of architecture for which the ancient Greeks should be admired. The Parthenon built by Pericles between 447 and 438 B.C. to immortalize the greatness of Athens and secure it a place in history did it s job very well. As mentioned before, the Parthenon is deceptively simple in design. It is simple because the structural elements are not overly complex. This is the result of a design process that focuses on determining the size and proportions of the columns, which are used in turn to determine every other aspect of the building’s design and size. The width of the average column base is in fact used to determine most of the other major dimensions of the structure and most importantly the interaxial spacing (the distance from column

center to column center) determines the center as well as the height of the colonnade and the height of the entire facade. These measurements seem insignificant to us, but to the Greeks, they appear to have been incredibly important and reflect a great deal of experimentation. This approach to architecture may seem somewhat odd to us, but if we think of architectural design primarily as a complex problem of geometry, the Parthenon will make more sense to us. The Parthenon was the climax of over four centuries of Greek temple architecture. Though no original plans of the temple exist, it appears that the temple was built on a square root-of-5 rectangle, that is, it is +5 times as long as it is wide. These are also the dimensions of the longest side view of the temple. The

Parthenon is littered with a (x to 2x + 1) system of proportions also known as the golden rectangle. These proportions are most readily evident in the plan of the temple which uses eight columns across its facade and seventeen along its flanks. More subtly, the Parthenon uses a four to nine ratio throughout much of its design. This four to nine ratio is used the width of the platform relative to its length, the height of the columns are up to the horizontal cornice relative to the temple’s width, the diameter of the columns relative to the interaxial distance between the columns, and also the front elevation is built these are only some examples of parts of the building which yield this 4 to 9 ratio. The Parthenon is really one giant optical illusion. It appears to be made of

straight horizontal and vertical lines. The columns have the appearance of being straight up and down when in fact they tilt ever so slightly toward the middle and if extended 2 miles up would touch. The corner columns are slightly larger in diameter, with their spacing reduced to make it possible for the frieze to conform to the rule that it must terminate with a triglyph. The area above the columns is a frieze made up of metopes and triglyphs. The metopes had statues of heroes or gods on them and were the section between triglyphs. The triglyphs are a pattern of three vertical lines between the metopes.. The stylobate or foundation has an upward curvature towards its center. The steps were 508 mm high to conform with the rest of its mathematical exactness. Unfortunately, this