Roman and Modern Architecture

By Bayley Shiver

Roman Orders

Roman temple architecture came in three main types of styles, called orders. They are called the Doric order, the Ionic order, and the Corinthian order. They contain many of the same elements of design, such as the incorporation of columns, the use of an entablature, and using a stereobate as a base. However, the three orders differ in how ornate the columns are, with Doric being the least so and Corinthian being the most.

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Roman Design

All Roman temples use the same elements. They all have an entablature, which is the upper part of the temple. The entablature consists of triglyphs, metopes, guttae, cornices, and pediments. Triglyphs are small, ornamental pieces of the temple with three notches which are meant to be purely aesthetic. Guttae are small notches underneath the triglyphs that are meant to add to the design. Metopes are the spaces in between each triglyph which are also meant as an aesthetic choice. Cornices are the gables on the temples roof which were built to keep snow or water from piling on top of the temple. Pediments are the flat space which is made from a triangle of cornices. The pediment is usually decorated with a scene from a myth or with a god or goddess.

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Roman Influence Today

Many modern buildings use design elements from the Roman orders of architecture. One such example is the Lincoln memorial which uses Doric columns, guttae, pediments, and a stereobate. The columns are Doric because they do not have a base and instead of being used for support as they were in the Roman temples, are being used almost entirely for the aesthetic they provide. The guttae and pediments are being used for aesthetic purposes as well, similarly to how they were used in ancient temples. Finally, the stereobate would still serve the purpose of being a functional base for the monument because it is made of stone.

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