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Last edited 11 Sep 2019
Classical architecture refers to a style of buildings originally constructed by the Ancient Greeks and Romans, especially between the fifth century BC in Greece and the third century AD in Rome. The style of classical architecture has been reproduced throughout architectural history whenever architects looked to the ancient past for illumination and inspiration, and in search of what they may have regarded as lost ideals.
The Renaissance is an obvious example, but so are the Greek revivals of the 19th century in Victorian Britain and other parts of Europe. Victorian architects sometimes created exact copies of classical forms but otherwise they adopted an eclectic approach that involved recombining classical forms and motifs to create a new style or typology. For example, a Greek temple could become the model for a church, a town hall or even a railway station.
In the US, the Classical Revival or Neoclassical Style (1895-1950) is one of the most common architectural styles. It was most often used for courthouses, banks, churches, schools and mansions. Later, Hitler’s architect Albert Speer designed his vision of the new post-War Berlin entirely in a pared-down, mostly unadorned neoclassical style.
 Characteristics of classical architecture
Classical buildings in ancient Greek and Roman times were typically built from marble or some other attractive, durable stone, but since then, they have also been built in brick, concrete and stone. The architecture was primarily trabeated (post and beam) and evolved from timber origins.
Greek architecture followed a highly-structured system of proportions that related individual architectural components to the whole building. This system was developed according to three basic styles, or 'orders' – Doric, Ionic and Corinthian – that formed the heart of classical Greek architecture. The Romans also used these widely but added two of their own orders: Tuscan and Composite.
For further information see Classical Orders in Architecture.
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