Architectural Essay: How Did Greek People Build?


architecture essays

The legacy of ancient Greek architecture is in the basis of all subsequent development of world architecture and monumental art, which is associated with it. The reasons of such sustained impact of Greek architecture are in its objective qualities: simplicity, trustfulness, clarity of composition, harmony and proportionality of common forms and all parts, plasticity of organic connections of architecture and sculpture, close unity of the architectural and aesthetic, structural and tectonic elements of constructions. Features of Greek architecture will be examined in this architecture essay, also as examples of architectural styles of Greeks.

“Uniqueness” of Greek Architecture as one of the best writing services wants to tell you first about the unique features of Greek architecture. The main feature of the Greek architecture’s works of art is surprisingly harmonious blend with natural surroundings. Big emphasis on theory and practice of construction, formation of residential premises’ environment, system of cities’ engineering, development of frameworks of standardization and modularity in construction are the main achievements of Greek architecture of those times, which were embodied in a variety of famous temples that can be seen even today. In addition, Greeks brilliantly solved the problem of transition from constructive and technical problems to the artistic problems. Usually, essays on architecture means mention of architectural styles of certain type. We will talk about them later.

 Ancient Greek architecture distinguished by full compliance with the forms and constructive basis, which was integral. The basic construction consisted of stone blocks, from which the walls were laid. The columns and entablature (overlap, which is lied on the column-prop) were treated with different profiles, acquired the decorative details and were enriched with sculpture. Greeks did great job in processing of architectural structures and all details of décor, making them as constructions or details of art of the highest degree of perfection and elegance. These buildings can be called as giant works of art of jewelry, in which there was no minor for the master.

During the antiquity, Greek architecture was closely linked with philosophy. Representation of human’s power and beauty was the basis of ancient Greek art. Human in that time was in close unity and harmonious balance with the surrounding natural and social environment. Social life received a large development in ancient Greece that is why architecture and art had social character.

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Definition of Order in Architecture and Main Styles in Greek Architecture

Ancient Greek architecture got development with help of two stylistic currents, in two orders (Doric and Ionic), which had emerged in 8-th century B.C. Under the order in architecture, it is understood specific system of combination and interaction of bearing (supporting) and carried by (overlapping) elements. It is stand-alone columns-props and overlap, which is lying on them, which has name entablature in ancient architecture. The main structural elements of two orders are the same. The platform, which is treated around all perimeter by steps, is the basis for them. This platform is called stylobate. Columns, which consisted of three parts, were installed on stylobate, throughout outer contour of temple. These three parts were:

  • base;
  • stock;
  • capital.

There were three key styles of architecture:

  • Doric style;
  • Ionic;
  • Corinthian.

Doric style is the most simple and brief due to its form. The main features of this order are the rigor and simplicity. Ionic style has structure that is more complex and has more details. The main features of Ionic style are ease of proportions, big differentiation of forms, elegance and relative decorative effect. Besides the two major styles, ancient Greek architecture developed one more order, which got name Corinthian. Corinthian style is even easier in compare with Ionic and should be considered as a secondary formation, which arose on the basics of Ionic architecture. In this architectural essay, we will examine all examples of Greek works of art.

Order system is clearly marked in temples. Ancient Greek temples were small in compare with Ancient Egyptian temples and were proportionate to the person. Worships took place outside the walls of temple, who was considered the home of the gods. In the terms of plan, temples were like rectangle, surrounded by the perimeter by columns, with a gable roof. The entrance was decorated with a triangular pediment. A statue of deity, whom the temple was dedicated, was placed in the center of the temple. The composition of Greek temples was different. Order stylistic elements were used specially in each type of constructions. Greek architecture essay also contain information about the various types of temples in Greek architecture. There were such examples of temples:

  • distyle;
  • prostyle;
  • amphiprostyle;
  • periptery;
  • diptery;
  • round periptery.

The simplest and the earliest type of temple was distyle or another name was “temple in antis”. It consisted of the sanctuary – the cella, which had rectangular form, front façade of which was a loggia with central opening. On the sides loggia was limited by walls, which had name ants. Two columns were staged between antes on the front gable. That is why, this architectural style got name as “distyle” or “two column style”.

Second, the relatively simple type of temple was prostyle. This type of temple is similar with previous. The only difference is in that prostyle has four columns on its façade.

Third type was amphiprostyle. In common words, it is like double prostyle. Porticos with four columns are situated on the front and rear facades of the building.

The fourth type of temples was periptery. This was the common type of temples. It was surrounded by all columns on all sides along the perimeter. There were usually six columns on the front and rear facades. Sometimes it was situated not only one row of columns, but also two rows. This type of temple was called diptery.

One more type of temple existed in Greece, which got name round periptery. The cella in this type of temple had cylindrical shape. In addition, temple was surrounded by the ring of columns throughout the perimeter.

Greeks used in their buildings, also as in temples, beamed ceilings. The distances between props were small and did not exceed ten meters. An order system of Greeks was a post-and-beam structure. Orders were used not only for designing of exterior porticos, but also in the internal capacities of buildings and interiors.

Principles of architectural and planning solutions in Greece were expressed most fully in ensembles. These principles had exceptional importance for the further development of world architecture. Therefore, asymmetry was combined with harmonic balance of the masses in the ensemble of Athenian acropolis. It was thought the interaction of individual constructions between each other and consistency was taken into account in the perception of the buildings both outside and inside the complex. Architects conceived the close connection between these architectural constructions with the surrounding landscape. Athenian acropolis (“upper city”) is a natural rock of elongated shape with flattop. Its sizes are about 300 meters in length and 130 meters in width. Greek architecture followed two principles during the building of the acropolis, which consisted of harmonic balances of masses and perception of architecture in the process of consistent scan. Pearl of the acropolis is the Temple Parthenon, the central building of the ensemble. Active use of sculpture outside and inside the temple promoted the creation of majestic beauty.

Significance of Greek architecture as Conclusion of this essay

There are many information about the Greek architecture in this essay architecture. However, it is not enough to say about the beauty of Greek architecture. It definitely made an impact on the culture of humanity. We can observe the remnants of it nowadays. The greatest example is Parthenon. Greek architecture is the only type of architecture, which combined practicality and beauty. Despite of the fact that we know about the architectural styles of Ancient Greece only from books, we can imagine the social life of that time just looking on the ensemble of Athenian Acropolis, which is extant architectural monument.

Hellas is famous not only by its architecture, but also by great people. You can read useful information about the person, who created his own science of logic in one of the best Aristotle essays.