Post 726 -Gautam Shah
Greek architecture is broadly divided in two eras, the Hellenic period (900 to 300 BC) and the Hellenistic period (300 BC to 30 AD.). During the Hellenic period, after 600 BC, many buildings of refined details and an improvised layout appeared. In the later phase Greek style spread out, as a result of conquests by Alexander and the rise of the Roman empire. During the late 5th– 4th CBC, town planning became an important issue for Greek builders.
Architecture, at that point of time was more of the inclusive process, of construction management, construction engineering, chemical engineering, civil engineering, materials engineering, mechanical engineering, military engineering and urban planning.
It was a Greek sculptor, not an architect, who said that ‘successful attainment in art is the result of meticulous accuracy in a multitude of arithmetical proportions’.
The word architect meant an expert proficient in building design, execution management, construction, the practice of sculpting and many other skills. The Greek Architects of 5th CBC onward would have been lost in antiquity, but for the resurrection through the critical mentions, by Vitruvius, in the book ‘De architectura’ (known as ‘Ten Books on Architecture’). Marcus Vitruvius Pollio (80–70 to 15 BC) was himself, a Roman author, architect, civil, military engineer and acoustic expert.
Vitruvius in the book(s), discussed about proportions, human body measures, and the architectural elements. He considers buildings to have three attributes: ‘firmitas (strength), utilitas (utility), and venustas (beauty)’.
Some of the few, of several Greek architects (builders) of the period 5th CBC onward that find mentions in various records were, Antistates, Callaeschrus, Antimachides, Pormus, Cossutius, Hermogenes, Pytheos, Chersiphron of Gnosus, Metagenes, Demetrius, Paeonius or Paionios of Ephesus, Ephesian Daphnis, Ictinus, Philo, Cossutius, Gaius Mucianus, Antimachides, Kallaeschros, Porinos, Hippodamus of Miletus, Arcesius or (T)arcesius, Hermodorus of Salamis, etc.
Greek architects of the period were innovative and meticulous in detailing. This, perhaps emerged, from the acute professional competition and need to get public confirmation of their works. The Later process was a perquisite before the work started. It was a period, when the architectural or construction drawings were rare, and scaled models were rarer. They relied more on description substantially oral and occasionally written. Such design confirmative process did not survive, but for the mention by Vitruvius. He made a point that ‘the work of some of the most talented are unknown, while many of those of lesser talent but greater political position are famous’.
Doric and Ionic were not successive Greek orders, but, possibly appeared in different regions, rather concurrently, (Doric in eastern Greece and Ionic in the west and mainland). In Ionic architecture, (from 480 BCE onward), there is greater variety in details. Corinthian order, first came up in the late Classical period (400-300 BCE), but was widely used during the Hellenistic era (300-30 BCE).
Greek builders used mathematical formulations to determine the height, width and other characteristics of architectural elements. They went on to refine a perfect column by making it slender and increasing the number of flutes, altering their sectional shape, column base, capital, and the distance between the columns. The efforts also included the optical refinements and corrections.
By the end of Hellenic period (900 to 300 BC) and beginning of the Hellenistic period (300 BC to 30 AD.), Classical form of the Doric temple was out of favour. Few Doric style structures being built were elaborate in plan and detail. The changed Doric style robed the simplicity of the order. The new Hellenistic age saw new temples’ construction in the eastern parts of Greece. Here, the favoured Ionic style was getting replaced with resplendent Corinthian form. The balance and precision of the earlier periods were getting lost in new forms of structures being built.
The Hellenistic period also witnessed involvement of architects in new architectural forms and development of urban facilities. The new architectural forms were agora, colonnaded stoa, gateways, propylaeum (entrance to the Acropolis or temples), circular temples (tholos), hippodromes (horse-chariot racing), gymnasiums (palaestra), senate houses (bouleuterion), lighthouses (Pharos), libraries, clock towers, fountains, and mausoleums. A variety of administrative and court buildings were without front colonnades. Palatial architecture experimented with new forms, as officials aspired to grandiose buildings of palatial pretensions. In new forms of buildings the need for real or decorative columns was no longer important. The pristine walls were formatted with ornamental surface decorations. At places the arch and vault began to manifest.
Parthenon Constructions: ‘The Parthenon embodies an extraordinary number of architectural refinements, which combine to give a plastic, sculptural appearance to the building. Among them are, the upward curvature of the base along the ends and repeated in the entablature; an imperceptible, delicate convexity (entasis) of the columns as they diminish in diameter toward the top; and a thickening of the four corner columns to counteract the thinning effect of being seen at certain angles against the sky’. –from Encyclopaedia Britannica.
Karpion was a Greek architect and architectural theorist active in the 5th CBC. He and Iktinos (also spelled Ictinus, Iktinus), co-authored a treatise on the proportions of the Parthenon (the major building was Temple of Athena on the Acropolis of Athens). Many of the temples, including the Parthenon, were rebuilt during the so-called Golden Age of Athens (460–430 BC). Phidias, an Athenian sculptor, and Iktinos and Callicrates, two famous architects, were responsible for the reconstruction. Iktinos was also an architect of the Temple of Apollo at Bassae and the Telesterion at Eleusis, a gigantic hall.
Hermogenes of Priene was a Greek architect (3rd– 2nd BCE), of the Hellenistic period. Hermogenes favoured the symmetry of the Ionic over the Doric. He, in his books, codified, not just the Ionic order, but rules on symmetry and proportions. He canonized the proportional relationships based on the diameter of the column, as the module. Vitruvius called it an architectural ideal, ‘eustyle’ (eu stylos =right column).
Doric order originated in Greek mainland, sometime during 7th BCE and remained major order till 5th BCE, whereas, Ionic order developed in Ionia during the mid of 6th BCE. Ionic order had volutes on front-back side of the capital but to make it symmetrical (visually more so, on corner or end columns), four-sided volutes were devised. the Corinthian capital was, however equal on all four sides. itruvius associates the Doric representing the masculine, and the Ionic with feminine proportions.
Most famous works of Hermogenes include the Temple of Artemis in Magnesia, One of the largest Temple of Dionysos (in hexa-style peripteral) in the Ionian city of Teos, Vitruvius is expressing when he writes “in the members of a temple there ought to be the greatest harmony in the symmetrical relations of the different parts to the general magnitude of the whole.” One element in a classical system cannot be changed without changing the other proportions too.
Pythius (Pytheos) of 350 BC, built the Temple of Athena. He is cited by Vitruvius as –Pythius, the celebrated builder of the temple of Minerva at Priene. He too disliked the Doric order, for the ‘faults and incongruities’ caused by the inconvenient placing of triglyphs.
Satyros or Satyrus was a Greek architect in the 4th CBC who designed and oversaw the construction of the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus.
Antistates, Antimachides, Kallaeschros, and Porinos, during 560–527 BC, designed the temple of Jupiter Olympius, Athens. The project was revived in 174 BC, with substantial changes, like Corinthian order in design, and as Decimus Cossutius in charge of it. The project, yet, it remained incomplete in 164 BC.
Paeonius or Paionios of Ephesus (350–310 BC), with Demetrius (300 BC) and, also, possibly, Deinocrates, were responsible for the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus. Metagenes was a Cretan architect, who along with his father, architect Chersiphron, is also considered responsible for the construction of the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus. Similarly, Paeonius with Daphnis of Miletus designed the Ionic temple of Apollo at Didyma. Both were huge structures.
Hippodamus of Miletus (498-408 BC) was an ancient Greek architect, urban planner, physician, mathematician, meteorologist and philosopher. He is considered to be the pioneer of European urban planning, Hippodamian Plan with grid layout.
Arcesius or (T)arcesius (probably the same as Argelius) was an Ionian architect who worked in Ionia during the 3rd CBC. He was assigned the Temple of Asclepius. He wrote a critic on Doric order for being ‘faulty and inharmonious’.
Hermodorus of Salamis was a Greek architect from Cyprus, active in Rome (146-102 BC). He designed, the Temple of Jupiter Stator, Temple of Mars and the Port Navalia.
Anthemius of Tralles was a Greek geometer and architect in Constantinople. With Isidore of Miletus, he designed the Hagia Sophia for Justinian.
The Greek respect for proportion, scale, details, imaging the comprehensive structure, began to dilute with new varieties of buildings and professional competition for projects. Some of these architectural concerns, affected the Roman architecture, and later in the neoclassical architecture of Renaissance onward.