Two hundred and sixteen years ago today George Washington laid the cornerstone for the Capitol building in Washington D.C. The Capitol as we see it today wasn’t completed until the 1860s.
It was inspired by the Pantheon in Rome, which was built almost 2,000 years ago. We visited Rome six years ago and loved it. The architecture there laid the foundation for much of the world’s architecture as we know it today. If you have a deep appreciation for architecture and an interest in seeing the remaining structures from antiquity, I encourage you to put Rome on your list of places to visit.
The Occulus at the top of the Pantheon looks small from far away but it is 27 feet in diameter. It is the only source of illumination for the Church, and on the Equinox (June 21st) the light shines through the door. I think it is beautiful.
Classical Roman architectural principles were what guided Andrea Palladio, and he is considered to be the architect that was most influential on Western Architecture. One of his most famous works is the Villa Rotunda completed in Italy in 1570.
One of my favorite staircases is the Tulip Staircase by Inigo Jones at the Queen’s House in Greenwich, London which was completed in 1635. Inigo Jones’s architecture was heavily influenced by Palladio.
The Neo-Palladian styleChiswick House in London completed in 1729 is also based on Palladian Architectural principles.
The Rotunda at the University of Virginia designed by Thomas Jefferson was completed in 1826. It is modeled on Palladio’s Villa Rotunda.
I find it interesting to compare the floor plans of the Pantheon, the Villa Rotunda, the Rotunda at UVA and a model of Chiswick House.
If you enjoy learning about the foundations of architecture I encourage you to read Palladio’s The Four Books on Architecture.
Those “palladian windows” we all love come from early Roman influences.
Next week I will look at Palladian influences on interior design.
Photo Credits: Wikepedia and flickr