When you look at Alexander Hamilton’s home comfortably nestled on the sloping hillside of St. Nicholas Park in an area of northern Manhattan that has long been known as Hamilton Heights, it almost seems to be … well … at home.
Admittedly there are a few jarring juxtapositions with nearby buildings, none of which can claim anything close to its 1802 vintage. And there is the sense you often have in New York City when a free-standing house looks as though it should have far more space surrounding it than it does.
Story by Edward Rothstein – The New York Times; Photo by Jim Henderson
Historical clothing design of the day is from the miscellaneous section, for the Ionic Order. Each day a new design is chosen and an article is posted to highlight the historical significance of the design.
The Ionic order forms one of the three orders or organizational systems of classical architecture, the other two canonic orders being the Doric and the Corinthian. (There are two lesser orders, the stocky Tuscan order and the rich variant of Corinthian, the Composite order, added by 16th century Italian architectural theory and practice.)
The Ionic order originated in the mid-6th century BC in Ionia, the southwestern coastland and islands of Asia Minor settled by Ionian Greeks, where an Ionian dialect was spoken. The Ionic order column was being practiced in mainland Greece in the 5th century BC. The first of the great Ionic temples was the Temple of Hera on Samos, built about 570 BC–560 BC by the architect Rhoikos. It stood for only a decade before it was leveled by an earthquake. It was in the great sanctuary of the goddess: it could scarcely have been in a more prominent location for its brief lifetime. A longer-lasting 6th century Ionic temple was the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
The Ionic columns normally stand on a base which separates the shaft of the column from the stylobate or platform; The cap is usually enriched with egg-and-dart. Originally the volutes lay in a single plane; then it was seen that they could be angled out on the corners. This feature of the Ionic order made it more pliant and satisfactory than the Doric to critical eyes in the 4th century BC: angling the volutes on the corner columns, ensured that they “read” equally when seen from either front or side facade. The 16th-century Renaissance architect and theorist Vincenzo Scamozzi designed a version of such a perfectly four-sided Ionic capital; Scamozzi’s version became so much the standard, that when a Greek Ionic order was eventually reintroduced, in the later 18th century Greek Revival, it conveyed an air of archaic freshness and primitive, perhaps even republican, vitality.
Below the volutes, the Ionic column may have a wide collar or banding separating the capital from the fluted shaft, as at Castle Coole. Or a swag of fruit and flowers may swing from the clefts formed by the volutes, or from their “eyes.” After a little early experimentation, the number of hollow flutes in the shaft settled at 24. This standardization kept the fluting in a familiar proportion to the diameter of the column at any scale, even when the height of the column was exaggerated. Roman fluting leaves a little of the column surface between each hollow; Greek fluting runs out to a knife edge that was easily scarred.
The Ionic column is always more slender than the Doric: Ionic columns are eight and nine column-diameters tall, and even more in the Antebellum colonnades of late American Greek revival plantation houses. Ionic columns are most often fluted: Inigo Jones introduced a note of sobriety with plain Ionic columns on his Banqueting House at Whitehall Palace, London, and when Beaux-Arts architect John Russell Pope wanted to convey the manly stamina combined with intellect of Theodore Roosevelt, he left colossal Ionic columns unfluted on the Roosevelt memorial at the American Museum of Natural History, New York, for an unusual impression of strength and stature.
The major features of the Ionic order are the volutes of its capital, which have been the subject of much theoretical and practical discourse, based on a brief and obscure passage in Vitruvius. The only tools required were a straight-edge, a right angle, string (to establish half-lengths) and a compass.
The entablature resting on the columns has three parts: a plain architrave divided into two, or more generally three, bands, with a frieze resting on it that may be richly sculptural, and a cornice built up with dentils (like the closely-spaced ends of joists), with a corona (“crown”) and cyma (“ogee”) molding to support the projecting roof. Pictorial often narrative bas-relief frieze carving provides a characteristic feature of the Ionic order, in the area where the Doric order is articulated with triglyphs. Roman and Renaissance practice condensed the height of the entablature by reducing the proportions of the architrave, which made the frieze more prominent.
Read More about Classical Orders on Wikipedia.
In the decades after American independence, the atmosphere of liberty in Philadelphia spawned an artistic spirit that earned this city its reputation as the Athens of America. Here, enthusiasm for the arts grew with the same fervor and in the same houses, streets, and shops where the seeds of political freedom had been sown and cultivated a generation earlier. Philadelphia began to grow into a vibrant, varied, and long-lasting center for arts and culture.
To many, there were clear parallels between Athens in the Great Age of Pericles (480-404 B.C.) and Philadelphia in the early national period (1790-1840). Athens’ architectural monuments, sculpture, wall painting, pottery, furniture, literature, music, and theater established the fundamental elements of these arts for more than 2,000 years. Philadelphia was poised to take the lead artistically for America in the same way Athens inspired the ancient world.
Story by Alexandra Alevizatos Kirtley – Philadelphia Inquirer; Photo by Wally Gobetz
It is one of the best preserved buildings from the Roman world, a 2,000-year-old testament to the immense power and wealth of the empire.
But mystery has always surrounded what lies behind the unusual design of the Pantheon, a giant temple in the heart of Rome that was built by the Emperor Hadrian.
Now experts have come up with an intriguing theory – that the temple acted as a colossal sun dial, with a beam of light illuminating its enormous entrance at the precise moment that the emperor entered the building.
Constructed on Hadrian’s orders and completed in AD128, the Pantheon’s hemispherical dome is punctured by a 30ft-wide circular hole known as the ‘oculus’.
Story by Nick Squires – Telegraph
Each year 160,000 visitors travel to Pennsylvania’s scenic Laurel Highlands to visit Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater and to pay homage to America’s most celebrated architect.
Thanks to an impeccable restoration completed in 2002 by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (which obtained Fallingwater from the owner Edgar Kaufmann Jr. in 1963), the house appears in near-perfect condition, and tours regale visitors with such entertaining details as which rooms Albert Einstein and artist Frida Khalo slept in during their visits to estate. As a testament to Fallingwater’s prominence in American history, U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar recently nominated the site for inclusion in UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
Story by Alexandra Polier – Architectural Record