Classical Comments: The Ionic of the Erechtheum

by Calder Loth
Senior Architectural Historian for the Virginia Department of Historic Resources and a member of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America‘s Advisory Council

Calder Loth

The Ionic of the Erechtheum is commonly acknowledged to be the most beautiful of the Greek Ionic orders.[i] Located in the shadow of the Parthenon, the Erechtheum was erected between 421 and 406 BC (figure 1). The temple was first recorded in modern times by Julien-David LeRoy, who published drawings and a description of the Erechtheum in his 1758 treatise, The Ruins of the Most Beautiful Monuments of Greece, Historically and Architecturally Considered. The Erechtheum was the subject of more in-depth study and comprehensive illustrations in the second volume of James Stuart and Nicholas Revett’s The Antiquities of Athens (1790). It was through this famous latter work that the Erechtheum gained widespread admiration. Although the temple is best known for its unique Caryatid porch, the Erechtheum’s distinctive Ionic order has been employed to adorn countless buildings throughout the western world.

Figure 1. Erechtheum, Athens (Loth)

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2011 Driehaus Prize Winner Announced

by Paul Gunther, ICA&CA President

Robert A. M. Stern

Everyone at the Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America heralds the selection of Robert A.M. Stern as winner of the 2011 Richard H. Driehaus Prize awarded annually by the School of Architecture at the University of Notre Dame thanks to the magnificent support of the prize’s generous namesake. Dean Stern has long been an ICA&CA stalwart now serving on our Council of Advisors. His example has long inspired and nurtured many in our ranks.

He has quite simply had more impact on the future course of contemporary classicism than anyone working today. All previous winners are inevitably tied to him as global avatar and prolific author and polemicist. That’s what the Board of Directors here honored him five years ago with its eponymous special distinction as conceived by that year’s Arthur Ross jury chair, Bunny Williams.

Trustee Adele Chatfield-Taylor, who serves on the Driehaus Prize jury says it best as one of those in charge of bestowing it, “This is a wonderful year for Robert A.M. Stern to be winning the Driehaus Prize. He is known and admired around the world, and will bring attention not only to contemporary classicism, but also to historic preservation, urban design, and quality in the public realm in all its dimensions. And above all, this will bring recognition to his inspired deanship at Yale. What could matter more than an engaged educator? Congratulations to Bob for this long deserved honor and long may he wave.” Read more »

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Mayan Classicism: Axial Symmetry in Uxmal (Part I of II)

by Nathaniel R. Walker
Graduate Student (Ph.D), History of Art & Architecture, Brown University

The Institute of Classical Architecture & Art welcomes new member and guest blogger, Nate Walker, to share his views on the Classicist Blog. This post is part one of two; please check back next month for the conclusion to Mayan Classicism. Your comments are welcome.

I believe that one of the most neglected fields of traditional architectural and urban design is that of the Ancient Maya. Even among those, such as myself, who harbor and profess a belief that Classical design offers timeless, elegant, functional solutions to many contemporary problems, it would occur to very few to engage with the rich and varied achievements of Mayan builders. This is regrettable for two reasons: first, having a family member such as the Maya in the big tent of traditional design helps to undermine the argument—tattered but still raised and flapping in many a gust of hot air—that Classicism is the coded language of European imperial hegemony. Secondly, the Maya offer a remarkable case study in the universal and timeless power of human cognitive functions and bodily scale to shape architecture and cities in ways that are remarkably consistent throughout the world. This is not least because the Mesoamericans had absolutely zero contact with any civilization in Europe, Africa, or Asia…alien visitations and other diffusionist nonsense notwithstanding.

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The I. Grace Company and the ICA&CA Southern California Chapter announce Winterim Scholarship Recipients

The I. Grace Company and the Institute of Classical Architecture and Classical America’s Southern California Chapter are proud to announce the two recipients of their scholarship to the 2011 Winterim (January 4 – 15) in New York. Congratulations to the first-place winner: Domiane Forte. Forte holds a M. Arch from the University of Notre Dame. This year he also collaborated on the team for the winning entry in the Habitat for Humanity and ICA&CA Southern California Chapter Multi-Family Housing Design Competition. He has been a Senior Project Manager in the Santa Barbara offices of Appleton Associates since 2005.

I. Grace Scholarship Recipient, Domiane Forte

The Chapter is also pleased to announce that the applications were so strong, the jury created a second-place award for this year. Congratulations to Carolina Chacon Allen on this award. Allen holds a B. Arch from University of Southern California. She is a past recipient of the American Field Service Scholarship to Italy, and participated in the Rotary GSE exchange in Rome. She is currently employed at Tim Barber, Ltd. In Los Angeles.

Second Place I. Grace Scholarship Recipient, Carolina Chacon Allen

ICA&CA Southern California Chapter is deeply indebted to the I. Grace Company for their generous gift. David Cohen is a founder of the Chapter and the scholarships given by his firm are part of an ongoing commitment from the I. Grace Company to educate emerging architects in the classical tradition.

The Chapter is also grateful for the unstinting endeavors and good judgment of the 2010 jurors , Tom Callaway, Stephen Harby, and David Cohen in awarding this year’s scholarship.

A special thanks goes to Jeff DiCicco, the last year’s I. Grace and ICA&CA – SCC Scholarship winner. This autumn, Jeff began teaching perspective and field drawing at the JFK Architecture and Digital Arts Magnet High School. Thanks to Jeff for teaching the first outreach education classes for the Southern California Chapter.

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Classicism in Tropical Hawaii

~~Classicism in Tropical Hawaii has been rescheduled for late February 2012.  Please check back for more details~~

A special invitation from board member Anne Fairfax, architect

Dear Classicist Blog Readers,

I want to invite you to consider joining us on the very special upcoming tour titled Classicism in Tropical Hawaii with emphasis on Honolulu and the island of Hawaii planned for February 26–March 4, 2011.  As a past resident of Honolulu for almost 30 years and now an architect, as well as co-tour director with Lani Summerville of Classical Excursions and a board member of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America, I am excited to share with others the architecture of Hawaii, unique in its blending of tropical classicism.

Iolani Palace Facade

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SALVE MMXI O Laetissimum Nuntium

A message from our President, Paul Gunther

The year to come is an auspicious one, including a soon-to-be-announced design competition that will emphatically embrace the skills and preferences of our unique and growing national constituency. It will also herald the fall launch of our first year-long, full-time design atelier. Details about this Beaux Arts Atelier and the competition will be announced in the first weeks of 2011. Members and friends like you will be the first to learn more as respective details become final.

Paul Gunther

I am pleased to report today that the winner of the third biannual Alma Schapiro Prize Affiliated Fellowship at the American Academy in Rome is artist and current student at our Grand Central Academy of Art, Will St John. Visit his Web site at to learn more and explore recent examples of his work. He will begin his Rome sojourn in September of next year. Meanwhile the third biannual winner of our alternating Rieger Graham Prize for architecture, Jana Vandergoot, will conclude her Affiliated Fellowship later this month with results appearing soon on our blog, where an interim description of her project progress is posted already.

In the dense flow of Institute initiatives it is vital not to lose sight of these ongoing opportunities serving not only the individual recipients but also contemporary classicism as a whole across related disciplines.

For example let is not lose sight of the all important Arthur Ross Awards for excellence in the classical tradition, now approaching its 30th anniversary year and as impactful as ever. The submission deadline is December 15, 2010 again as explained on the Web site. William Harrison is the upcoming jury chair.

On behalf of our board and staff, I hope you greet the New Year ahead in health and good cheer. We would not have the strength or enthusiasm to do it were it not for your steadfast partnership. Glad tidings to one and all.

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