Last edited 23 Jun 2024

Elements of classical columns



[edit] Introduction

A column is a structural element that transmits load from above to a supporting structure below. The word ‘column’ is associated in particular with elements that have a central shaft that is round in section.

Classical columns were generally constructed from stone. There are five basic styles of architecture that determine the form and decoration of classical columns;

[edit] Greek orders

Doric columns.jpg

Ionic column.jpg

For more information, see Greek Classical orders in architecture.


[edit] Roman orders

For more information, see Roman Classical orders in architecture.

Traditionally, a column is made up of a base, a shaft and a capital.

[edit] Base

The base is the lowest part or division of a column. Egyptian and Greek Doric columns were typically placed directly on the floor without a base. In contrast to this, Ionic columns had an elaborate base made up of groups of mouldings (decorative strips) and fillets (narrow bands with vertical faces).

An attic base for example is made up of:

Columns may sit on a more complex pedestal, usually having a die (a square block between the column and base), a base and cornice. This may sit on a plinth giving a more even distribution of the column weight.

[edit] Shaft

The shaft is the portion of a column between the base and the capital:

The term ‘drum’ is used to describe the individual circular sections places, one on top of another, to construct the shaft of the column.

The ‘entasis’ describes the subtle curved profile of classical columns.

[edit] Capital

The capital comprises the uppermost elements of a column. While capitals differ according to the classical order, they usually include the following elements:


[edit] Related articles on Designing Buildings

[edit] External references


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