Column Proportion

Here are a few examples of proportional analyses for classical columns.
If builders even glanced at traditional drawings like these, there'd be
a lot less ugliness around!


Properly designed, column thickness is a function of height.
As the example below shows, for a typical Tuscan column, the height of the column  equals seven times the diameter, and the height of the entablature above is one and three-quarters diameters.  The column's diameter is measured just above the base, before tapering begins.  Other orders are somewhat slimmer, such as the Roman Ionic which is usually nine diameters high, and the Roman Corinthian which can be as much as ten, but with a proportionately taller entablature.  The Greek Doric, however, as seen on the Parthenon, and on the temples at Paestum, is even thicker.  It entablature, however, is generally maintained in the range of two diameters. 

Before the modern era, architects and builders made it a point of pride to understand these proportions, which have been elaborated upon by masters such as Palladio, Vignola, and Jefferson.  


Examples from the American South
Examples from Renaissance and Ancient Italy
Examples from Washington and Arlington
Return to Portico Page

Email the Architect  Press Here

 All artwork or other original material copyright © 1997-2001 Classic Graphics.  All rights reserved.