The oldest known example is in the cella of the Temple of the Epicurean Apollo at Bassae (ea. 420 b.c.). Among the chief examples are the circular structure known as the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates (334 b.c.), the earliest surviving building with external Corinthian, columns, and the octagonal Horologion of Andronicos (also known as the Tower of the Winds), with two Corinthian porches (before 50 b.c.). Both are in Athens. Also in that city was the massive Temple of the Olympian Zeus, started about 530 b.c. and completed by Hadrian in the second century a.d. It was perhaps the most notable of all Corinthian temples; it was certainly the largest. The Corinthian order was seldom used by the Greeks, although it solved the problems that had been presented by the Doric and Ionic orders. However, it was enthusiastically developed in the Roman world.

The Romans copied Greek art and architecture, captivated by the forms rather than the cosmology that generated them. They employed the Corinthian order more than any other, cosmetically modifying it by changing the column base, adding complicated carved embellishments to the cornice, and producing all manner of fanciful variations to the capital, with showy leafage and sometimes grotesque human and animal figures. The so-called Composite order, attributed to the Romans by sixteenth-century writers, was simply a distortion of the Greek precedents, combining Ionic volutes with Corinthian acanthus motifs. The Romans also used the Ionic order but seem to have been too impatient to achieve the refinements of the Doric, inventing their own version. The Roman Doric, used infrequently, was also influenced by a slender column (with a base) developed by the Etruscans. The Tuscan order, known only from the account of the first-century architectural writer Vitruvius, closely resembled the Roman Doric.

The classical orders were eclipsed by the rise of Christianity, although they persisted in vestigial forms. An interest in Vitruvius was awakened in fifteenth-century Italy, and architects, captivated by all things Roman, made archeological studies of ancient ruins and employed the orders, often in an intuitive, uninformed way. Leone Battista Alberti and other more derivative architectural writers, including Serlio, Scamozzi, Vignola, and Palladio, urged the systematic application of the Roman—not the Greek—orders, with pedantic rules of proportion. Later, beyond Italy, the Frenchmen Philibert Delorme and Claude Perrault and the Englishman William Chambers wrote theoretical treatises about the architectural orders. Subsequently, during the artistic period known as the Greek Revival, strict conformity to the proportions of the original Greek models was practiced. Modern architecture had no place for the orders, but with the rise of postmodern architecture in the second half of the twentieth century, they appeared again, often so abstracted and deformed as to be barely recognizable. The American architect Charles Moore even invented one to flank his lively Piazza d’Italia in New Orleans (1977–1978); he named it the Neon order.

See also


Further reading

Mauch, J. M. von, and C. P. J. Normand. 1998. Parallel of the Classical Orders of Architecture. New York: Acanthus.

Onians, John. 1988. Bearers of Meaning: The Classical Orders in Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Summerson, John. 1980. The Classical Language of Architecture. London: Thames and Hudson.

Øresund Link


The ambitious project to construct a fixed rail and road link across the 65-mile (105-kilometer) Øresund Strait was agreed to by the Danish and Swedish governments in March 1991. The resulting 10-mile (16-kilometer) combination of submarine tunnel, artificial island, and bridge, carrying a double-track electrified railroad and four lanes of freeway between Kastrup, Denmark, and Lernacken, Sweden, was officially opened on 1 July 2000. Responding to complex social, cultural, economic, ecological, geological, and technological constraints, the transoceanic international highway is a major achievement of design and logistical skill, demonstrating that high technology and environmental sustainability are compatible.

Each country was responsible for extending its transport system to connect with the link. A/S