Classical architecture, which began in ancient Greece and Rome, is distinguished by symmetry, columns, rectangular windows, and marble, to mention a few characteristics. Architects have taken inspiration from these civilizations for millennia, incorporating ancient values into contemporary architectural forms. In fact, many modern buildings can be considered derivatives or adaptations of classical designs.
The word "classical" is used here to describe any design that is derived from the ancient world but does not necessarily follow all aspects of those designs. For example, a lot of Roman architecture was built with concrete instead of stone because of the abundance of timber available in Italy. There were also various Asian influences on European architecture, such as the use of arches instead of walls as a means of providing shelter from the elements. However, since these types of structures are no longer made today, they cannot be classified as classical.
The main characteristic that distinguishes classical architecture is its use of geometry and order to achieve balance and harmony between inside and outside spaces. Classical architects also often incorporated other materials besides stone and wood, such as brick or metal. Finally, classical architecture tends to focus on public service rather than private pleasure, which is why many of its features involve function over form.
Classical architecture was originally built in Greece in the 5th century BC and in Rome during the 3rd century AD. The style has been resurrected several times throughout the years. Architects tried to reconstruct traditional Roman architecture during the Italian Renaissance. Modern architects have also taken inspiration from this time to build structures that are both functional and attractive.
Classical architecture is based on formal principles of order, symmetry, and proportion. It uses simple shapes and clear divisions of space. Elements such as columns, domes, and friezes provide structural support for buildings while also creating a decorative atmosphere. Classical architecture can be found worldwide in buildings such as temples, theaters, and museums.
Classical architecture has been influential in many other fields including art, music, and science. Many great artists such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and George Washington Carver were influenced by classical design. Classical music styles such as symphonies and operas were developed over hundreds of years through collaboration between composers and musicians. Scientists also use classical mathematics every day in their work to model problems and develop solutions. For example, mathematicians use classical geometry when they design computer programs that perform calculations or simulate physical processes.
Classical architecture has been criticized for its aesthetic appeal rather than practicality. Some believe that it is too rigid and lacks innovation.
The evident distinguishing traits of ancient Roman architecture were absorbed by Renaissance architecture. However, the shapes and purposes of buildings, as well as the arrangement of towns, had altered throughout time, as seen by the ensuing synthesis of classical and 16th-century forms. Ancient monuments served as models for new structures, and their dimensions provided a basis for scale drawings of cities and buildings.
Renaissance architects were eager to demonstrate their understanding of the classics and their ability to emulate them. They used precise measurements taken from real buildings when designing new ones. They also borrowed from various styles that came before the Renaissance, such as Byzantine, Arab, and Gothic. Finally, they incorporated innovations of their own creation into existing building types rather than creating whole new categories of structure.
Renaissance architects were keen to distinguish their work from that of the ancients. So, they often modified traditional forms by adding or removing features. For example, they might include many windows in a wall without doors or use different materials for construction. Sometimes they even changed the purpose of a building! The famous Leaning Tower of Pisa is actually supported by metal cables attached to its base. This is because the original stone tower was built in 1181 but was found to be unstable so it was repaired in 1377.
People began to call the new style "Renaissance" because of the rebirth of interest in ancient culture after the Middle Ages.