World-Class Architects & Designers Discuss “Winning” Entries for Newman Awards

Colorado has an impressive display of architectural beauty, much of which harkens moments of luxury, classicism, and rustic comfort. It is this architecture that holds the region’s history and appeal. But how do great architectural designs like the ones Colorado is known for, come to fruition? We asked the jury of the Rocky Mountain Chapter’s 2014 Robert & Judi Newman Awards for Excellence in Classical & Traditional Design to share with us what they are looking for in award winning projects.

Jurors Michael Imber, Suzanne Tucker, and Dr. Mark Gelernter

The 2014 Newman Awards jury consisted of Michael Imber, FAIA; Suzanne Tucker, ASID; and Dr. Mark Gelernter, Professor of Architecture and Dean, University of Colorado Denver Graduate School of Architecture. They joined honorary jurors, Robert and Judi Newman in reviewing over 40 submissions in the categories of Commercial, Civic & Institutional Architecture, Residential Architecture, Interiors, Landscape Design, History & Journalism, Artisanship, and Student Award.

The jurors review submissions for the 2014 Newman Awards

When asked “What is it that you are looking for to deem an entry an award recipient?” the word cohesiveness came up time and time again. The jurors stressed the importance of having a complete and cohesive submission in all aspects, even down to the small details like lettering. Just as significant, is that the submission is well executed in the traditional design language and approach.

Each juror offered up ideas on what recipe other architects and designers might follow to have their design stand out from the rest:

Suzanne Tucker: Look at the submission logically and at what will have the most impact. Consider the story behind the project, use the best photography, and present the project in a way that flows clearly and logically.

Michael Imber: Focus on the ideas that reinforce the project and make it better. Being able to go back, edit, and clarify what is important about the project, and understanding what goes into the process to make the whole project shine.

Dr. Mark Gelernter: A design jury values: 1) The overall appearance of the submission – all of the details need to be pulled together in one composition or dominant idea. 2) Plans that are organized and clear, with a logical way of walking through the space. The less successful projects are those that are not pulled together as a harmonious whole.

The judging process for the 2014 Newman Awards

With more submissions this year than last, it is evident that there is a rising tide of interest in contemporary classicism throughout the Rocky Mountain region. Dr. Gelernter, who served on the jury for a second year in a row, noticed a wider range of traditional design languages being used with more confidence across all award categories this year. The level of the student submissions showed particular promise. The thoughtfulness, understanding of history, attention to detail, and overall execution of the student work made the jurors excited for the future of architecture in Colorado.

A Pre-Award Honorary Gala will be held on Thursday, August 21, 2014 from 4:30–7:30 pm at the Materials Marketing Showroom, located within the Denver Design District, where all submissions for the 2014 Newman Awards will be on display. Winners of the Newman Awards will be recognized at an evening ceremony held on September 17, 2014 in Denver. Details for both events can be found on the Rocky Mountain Chapter website.

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The 33rd Annual Arthur Ross Awards

The Institute of Classical Architecture & Art  (ICAA) presented the 33rd annual Arthur Ross Awards for Excellence in the Classical Tradition on Monday, May 5 in New York City.

Over 400 guests were in attendance to celebrate the achievement and contributions of this year’s winners in the following categories:

David M. Schwarz Architects, Washington DC

Dennis Collier, Bangor, Pennsylvania

Salve Regina University, Newport, Rhode Island

Edward J. Fraughton, South Jordan, Utah

Stephen Fox, Houston, Texas

Board of Directors Honor
Jacob Collins, New York

Further cause for celebration was the formal introduction of recently hired president, Peter Lyden, who joined the ICAA in March. Previously the Chief Philanthropic Officer at the American Museum of Natural History, Peter brings a passion for classical architecture as well as a vision for the future of the ICAA.  In his brief remarks, Mr. Lyden thanked the sold-out crowd and paid tribute to Janet Ross and the Arthur Ross family. He noted, “Each of you in this room has the capacity to bring beauty into the world and thus nurture the human spirit. Your greatest impact and contribution is educating future generations in the classical tradition.”

Established in 1982 by Classical America advocate, Arthur Ross (1910-2007) and its president, Henry Hope Reed (1916-2013), the Arthur Ross Awards were created to acknowledge excellence in the classical tradition. From the beginning, the awards have brought to bare the achievements of architects, painters, sculptors, artisans, landscape designer, education, publishers, patrons, and others dedicated to preserving and advancing the classical tradition.

Adele Chatfield-Taylor, jury chair, acknowledged her fellow jurors Miriam Ellner, Francis Morrone, Deborah Nevins, Peter Pennoyer, Don Ruggles, Gil Schafer, Charles Warren, and Eduard Zepsa for their insight and dedication.

The awards ceremony was conducted by ICAA board Chairman, Mark Ferguson, and the dinner was co-chaired by Suzanne Santry, Bunny Williams, and Suzanne Tucker. The architectural table centerpieces were created for the event by Jonathan Preece of Bunny Williams, Inc. At the end of the evening, guests received advance copies of The Classicist No. 11.

All photos © Mia McDonald Photography

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CAN WE TRUST PALLADIO? Antoine Desgodetz Details Palladio’s Inaccuracies

Calder Loth

Calder Loth

by Calder Loth

Senior Architectural Historian for the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.
Member of the Institute of Classical Classical Architecture & Art‘s Advisory Council.

Henry Parke, Student Measuring the Temple of Castor and Pollux (detail) Sir John Soane’s Museum

Andrea Palladio’s Book Four of I Quattro Libri dell’Architettura (1570) is devoted to his documentation and reconstruction drawings of numerous Roman temples based on his extensive study of the ruins. He stated his intent for this endeavor in the introduction to Book Four as follows:

I intend therefore to illustrate in this book the form and ornaments of many ancient temples of which one can still see the ruins and which I have recorded in drawings, so that anyone can understand the form and ornaments. . . . and although one can see only portions of some of them standing above ground,  I have nonetheless proceeded to deduce from them what they must have been like when they were complete. . .[1]  

This was an extraordinary effort. It marked the first concentrated recording project involving above-ground archaeological remains. It is mainly through these illustrations that we have any idea of the probable appearance of much of ancient Roman architecture. Moreover, the images became an important resource for classical design henceforth. Yet a close look at some of the details reveals that Palladio was not always accurate in his depictions of many features.  We can speculate that Palladio relied on assistants to do some of the actual measuring while he wrote down the notes and made sketches based on the information being conveyed to him.

These discrepancies became clearly evident a century later when a young French architect, Antoine Babuty Desgodetz (1653-1728), was commissioned by Jean-Baptist Colbert, the King’s minister of finance, to travel to Rome to study the ruins in order to produce an architectural source book for French practitioners. Desgodetz had noted that Serlio, Palladio, and other Renaissance treatise writers were not necessarily reliable in their details. His determination to achieve a more precise documentation of the architecture of antiquity is noted in his own words.

For I found the means during sixteen months I was in Rome, to draw with my own hand those ancient structures, of which I have given the plans, elevations and profiles, with all the measures, which I have exactly taken. . . I have verified the whole over and over, in order to obtain a certainty for which I could answer. . .  [2]

Desgodetz’s extensive fieldwork culminated in the 1682 publication of Les edifices antiques de Rome, dessinés et mesurés très exactement, a monumental and beautifully illustrated work on Roman ruins that has remained reliable for the precision of its documentation to the present. In his narrative descriptions of the ruins, Desgodetz bluntly described where Palladio missed the mark in his recordings.

The following is a sampling of instances where Desgodetz shows that Palladio frequently leaves much to be desired in the accuracy of his delineations and dimensions.  The italicized quotes from Desgodetz are taken from a 1771 English translation of Desgodetz’s treatise by George Marshall, available in reprint by ECCO Print Editions.

Temple of Vesta, Rome (Fig. 1)

A storied landmark in the ancient Forum Boarium, near the banks of the Tiber, the so-called Temple of Vesta is one of the city of Rome’s few structures dating from the era of the Republic.[3] In the form of a Greek tholos (circular temple) and constructed of Greek Pentelic marble, it likely was designed by a Greek architect and executed by Greek artisans. Contributing to this notion are the pointed tips of the abacuses, a treatment preferred by the Greeks for the Corinthian order, but almost never used by the Romans. Palladio missed this detail; his depiction of the capital is a standard Roman Corinthian version. Desgodetz lets us know of Palladio’s error, among others.[4] (Figs. 2 & 3)

Palladio draws the capital quite otherwise than it is; he makes the bottom and top-leaves of one height, as they usually are, and puts five olive leaves to each division, he make the channels of the stalks twisted, ties the volutes together, and puts a small reversed leaf over them., he makes the volutes to ascend into the abacus, whereas they touch only the bottom of it, he puts a flower to bear the rose in the middle of the abacus, and makes not the rose as it is, he cuts off the angles of the abacus. . . .”

1. Temple of Vesta, Rome (Great Rift Valley Blogspot).

2. Palladio, Book 4, Chapter XIV, Temple of Vesta order [detail].

3. Desgodetz, Temple of Vesta order, Plate II [detail].


Temple of Fortuna Virilis (Fig. 4)

Next to the Temple of Vesta in the Forum Boarium is the diminutive Republic-era Temple of Portunus, the harbor god, which both Palladio and Desgodetz assumed was dedicated to Fortuna Virilis—manly virtue. Its richly decorated frieze was ornamented with swags alternating with candlesticks, bucrania (ox skulls), and putti.[5] These frieze decorations are of stucco and have eroded over the centuries so that the only ornament remaining in situ is a single candlestick with short sections of garlands attached. (Fig. 5) Apparently enough of the frieze survived by the late 17th century for Desgodetz to record and make the following observation about Palladio’s illustration.

. . . he [Palladio] puts but one festoon between the children and the ox-heads, entirely omitting the candlesticks, and lays the festoons on the children’s shoulders whereas they bear them in their hands. . .  He makes the festoons of the frieze with fruit, whereas they are of oak-leaves. (Figs. 6 & 7)

4. Temple of Fortuna Virilis, Rome (Loth).

5. Temple of Fortuna Virilis, frieze detail, (Loth).

6. Palladio, Book 4, Chapter XIII, Temple of Fortuna Virilis frieze [detail].

7. Desgodetz, Temple of Fortuna Virilis Plate IV: frieze [detail].


Temple of Antoninus and Faustina (Fig. 8)

Among the more conspicuous ruins in the Roman Forum is the Temple of Antoninus and Faustina. A defining feature of its entablature is the frieze decorated with carvings of griffins, Roman candlesticks, and acanthus foliage. (Fig. 9) These frieze decorations are found only on the side elevations. A dedicatory inscription occupies the frieze on the façade. (Fig. 10)  As quoted below, Desgodetz was quick to note several discrepancies between Palladio’s plates and the temple as it actually exists.

Palladio puts on the front of the temple ornaments in the frieze, instead of the inscription.  [In the frieze], Palladio has put no flowers, and turns up the griffins’ tails, which are trailing. He has placed directly over the middle of each intercolumnation the candlestick, on which the griffins have their feet supported, which is not the case, those candlesticks being set without order, and without any regard to the columns.(Figs. 11 & 12)

8. Temple of Antoninus and Faustina, Rome (Loth).

9. Temple of Antoninus and Faustina, frieze (Loth).

10. Desgodetz, Temple of Antoninus and Faustina, Plate II: elevation [detail].

11. Palladio, Book 4, Chapter IX, Temple of Antoninus and Faustina: capital and entablature.

12. Desgodetz, Temple of Antoninus and Faustina, Plate III: capital and frieze [detail].

Temple of Concord (Saturn) (Fig. 13)

The order employed in the columns of the Temple of Saturn,(which both Palladio and Desgodetz misidentified as the Temple of Concord, is one of ancient Rome’s rare examples of the Ionic order using angled volutes. (Fig. 14)  A prominent landmark of the Roman Forum, the columns belong to a 283 A.D. restoration of a 42 B.C. temple damaged by fire. While Palladio’s illustration of the order captured its general character, Desgodetz’s more meticulous examination revealed many of Palladio’s small inaccuracies both in the capital and the entablature.

On the face of the capital he [Palladio] makes the volutes reenter the vase, he puts a quarter-round on the top of  the abacus, where it is only a square list [6], he sets a flower in the middle of the abacus instead of a very peculiar ornament representing a chased [7] cup, he makes the volutes descend to the astragal of the top of the column, whereas they descend not so much as to the bottom of the astragal of the capital, he puts over each volute a leaf turned up, instead of a little scroll turned down . . .  He puts imperfect darts between the eggs, instead of the double flowers that are there. . . . The form of the modillions is too small, he makes them answer directly to the middle of the columns, whereas a rose answers to it. (Figs. 15 & 16)

13. Temple of Concord (Saturn) portico, Rome (Loth).

14. Temple of Concord (Saturn) capitals (Loth).

15. Palladio, Book 4, Chapter XXX, Temple of Concord (Saturn): portico order.

16. Desgodetz, Temple of Concord (Saturn) Plate II: portico order.


Temple of Bacchus (Fig. 17)

The circular structure that both Palladio and Desgodetz identified as the Temple of Bacchus we now know to be the mausoleum of Constantina, elder daughter of the Emperor Constantine, built for herself around A.D. 351.  It remains a well-preserved example of Late Roman architecture. A dominant feature of the interior is a colonnade of twelve pairs of Composite order columns supporting entablature blocks.  (Fig. 18) As we note below, Desgodetz details the many inconsistencies in Palladio’s image of the order.

Palladio puts olive-leaves on the capital, instead of the leaves of acanthus, formed like parsley-leaves that are there,  he does not make the flower in the middle of the abacus where it is, only a little foliage adorning the inside of the band which forms the revolutions of the volute.  He omits the little hollow which is at the top of the abacus.  On the architrave he makes all the bands plumb, whereas they project more below than above.  He puts a hollow at the bottom of the cornice, where is an ogee, and a drip under the chin of the corona which is not there. . . . The whole capital is too low by twelve parts, the abacus alone by two parts, the architrave and frieze are both too low, the former by a part and a half, the latter by one part, the cornice is too high by a part and a half. (Figs. 19 & 20)

17. Temple of Bacchus (Mausoleum of Constantina), Rome (Italian-architecture).

18. Temple of Bacchus (Mausoleum of Constantina), interior Composite order (

19. Palladio, Book 4, Chapter XXI, Temple of Bacchus, interior Composite order [detail].

20. Desgodetz, Temple of Bacchus, Plate III: interior Composite order.


Pantheon: (Fig. 21)

Circling the main body of the Pantheon are identical cornices composed of block modillions—short projections undercut with a cyma recta curve. These cornices have served as the model for numerous simplified modillion cornices, some of which are found in American colonial buildings. Being so visually accessible, we would think that Palladio would have no trouble accurately recording these cornices.  Nevertheless, the indefatigable Desgodetz shows us that Palladio didn’t get them just right.

Palladio, in the profile he gives the second cornice, which goes round the outside, puts not the cymatium that is over the modillions, and places mouldings below, which are not there.  He makes the height of the cornice too great by three parts. (Figs. 22 & 23)

21. Pantheon, Rome (Loth)

22. Palladio, Book 4, Chapter XX, Pantheon: block modillion cornice.

23. Desgodetz Pantheon, Plate XI: block modillion cornice [detail].

Temple of Vesta at Tivoli (Fig. 24)

The romantically situated circular temple at Tivoli, long identified as the Temple of Vesta, but more likely dedicated to Hercules, is noted for its distinctive version of the Corinthian order. Its capitals have two compressed rows of acanthus leaves and an oversized fleuron resembling the hibiscus flower. The entablature frieze is decorated with fruit swags and bucrania. The latter are intact heads with flesh and eyes. (Fig. 25) Surprisingly, Palladio’s image of the order shows a generic Corinthian capital, and bucrania skulls, inconsistencies with what are actually there. Desgodetz describes these along with other discrepancies.

. . .  he [Palladio] terminates semicircularly the flutings, which are all straight, and has expressed none of extraordinary particulars of the capital. He makes the second band of the architrave higher than that first, and joins the frieze by a curve to the list of the top of the architrave.  He draws the ox-heads in the frieze without skin, and so give only the bones.  He puts not a fillet that is at the top of the frieze, nor makes the drip low enough at the bottom of the corona of the cornice. . . . He makes the architrave too high by nine parts and a half, the frieze too low by one part, and cornice too high by fourteen parts and a half. (Figs. 26 & 27)

24. Temple of Vesta, Tivoli (LPLT/Wikimedia Commons).

25. Temple of Vesta, Tivoli: entablature detail (

26. Palladio, Book 4, Chapter XXIII Temple of Vesta, Tivoli: Corinthian order and frieze decorations [detail].

27. Desgodetz, Temple of Vesta, Tivoli, Plate II: Corinthian order and frieze decorations.

The above notes and quotes are a random sampling of the many instances where Desgodetz takes exception to Palladio’s plates in Book 4. This essay is not intended to disparage Palladio and his invaluable pioneering work in documenting some of the great monuments of antiquity. His seductive reconstruction woodcuts of Roman temples have inspired architectural masterpieces from the Renaissance to the present. His illustrations capture the essence of the features if not the minute details. Desgodetz gave us precision, and helpfully contrasted his own findings with Palladio’s. Palladio’s Book Four can certainly continue to be a design resource for new classical works. However, if one wants exact reproductions of specific ancient details, Desgodetz is the source to use.

The details of the Palladian plates in this essay are reproduced from the Robert Tavenor and Richard Schofield 1997 translation of The Four Books on Architecture with the permission of the MIT Press.

Amanda Claridge, Rome, An Oxford Archaeological Guide (Oxford University Press, 1998).
Antoine Desgodetz, Les edifices Antiques de Rome dessinés et mesurés très exactment (Paris, 1682).
George Marshall, The Ancient Buildings of Rome by Antony Desgodetz Published in Two Volumes (London, 1761), ECCO Print Editions.
Andrea Palladio, The Four Books on Architecture, translated by Robert Tavenor and Richard Schofield  (MIT Press, 1997).

[1] Andrea Palladio, The Four Books on Architecture, translated by Robert Tavenor and Richard Schofield (MIT Press, 1997). P. 213.
The ancient buildings of Rome; by Antony Desgodetz: published in two volumes, by George Marshall, architect. (London, 1771) ECCO Print Editions, p. xiv.
The temple was thought to have been dedicated to Vesta only because it is round.  Most scholars now assume it more likely was dedicated to Hercules.
Palladio’s entablature for the Temple of Vesta is conjectural since the original entablature had completely disappeared.
These ancient images of nude infants are sometimes referred to as geniuses, conveying the belief that individuals received their special attributes as infants.
a band.
  chased here means gadrooned.

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Calder Loth

Calder Loth

by Calder Loth

Senior Architectural Historian for the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.
Member of the Institute of Classical Classical Architecture & Art‘s Advisory Council.

Temple of Apollo Epicurius, from an 1812 drawing by John Foster

High on a mountaintop in the Peloponnese, the fifth-century B.C. Temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae is among the least known, least accessible, and most intriguing of all Greek temples.[1] (Fig. 1) It is the only Greek temple to have incorporated all three ancient orders in its design: Doric for the exterior, Ionic for the cella or naos, and a single Corinthian column marking the entrance to the adyton or inner sanctum. The 2nd-century A.D. Greek traveler and geographer, Pausanias, stated that Iktinos, best-known as one of the Parthenon architects, designed the temple, but scholars have found no further evidence to document his attribution. The temple was unknown to James Stuart and Nicholas Revett, so it was not included in their pioneering and highly influential treatise The Antiquities of Athens (1762-1795). It finally received serious study in 1811-12 when the temple was the subject of an expedition that included British architect Charles R. Cockerell and German scholar Karl Haller von Hallerstein. They and their colleagues undertook detailed measurements and drawings, but also plundered the site for artifacts.

1. Temple of Apollo Epicurius before enclosure (Wikipedia images)

Exposure to the elements on Mount Kotilion has caused progressive deterioration of the temple’s predominately limestone fabric. In 1987, the entire structure was covered with a canopy supported on a metal framework to provide temporary protection from damaging winds and rain while long-term conservation is undertaken. (Fig. 2) Although this huge tent hinders viewing the temple in context, it has a dramatic sculptural quality of its own.  No schedule for the canopy’s removal has been announced, and such protection may need to be permanent.

2. Temple of Apollo Epicurius with canopy enclosure (Loth)

Despite the canopy, it is possible to walk the temple’s perimeter within. Most of the thirty-eight Doric columns of the exterior peristyle have survived in situ. (Fig. 3) Two of the columns and sections of the naos walls were reassembled in a program of anastylosis undertaken in 1902-08. Antiseismic scaffolding erected in 1985 included wooden braces clasping the tops of the Doric columns just under the capitals. Although attributed to Iktinos, earthquake damage and settlement have made it difficult to determine whether the temple incorporated the visual refinements found in the Parthenon. Nonetheless, seeing the temple moved Pausanias to write, “Of all the temples in Peloponnese, next to the one at Tega, this may be placed first for the beauty of the stone and the symmetry of its proportions.”[2]

3. Temple of Apollo Epicurius west colonnade (Loth)

The temple plan illustrates the unique arrangement of the interior, which for clarity I will describe in the present tense. (Fig. 4) Passing through the north portico columns, the pronaos, or vestibule, is entered between two free-standing Doric columns. The pronaos precedes the naos or temple sanctuary. Defining the naos are five spurs or fins projecting from each of the side walls, forming recesses possibly used for shrines. Clasping each spur end is a fluted Ionic column topped by a distinctive capital. On axis at the far end of the naos is a single Corinthian column. Beyond the column is the adyton or inner sanctum where the most sacred ceremonies were performed. The central position of the Corinthian column has led some scholars to conclude that the image of the deity, probably a statue of Apollo, was positioned off axis. A tall opening in the adyton’s left side allowed daylight to illuminate the statue and back-light the column, creating a singularly dramatic effect.

4. Temple of Apollo Epicurius plan (Napoleon Vir @ ni.wikipedia)

A somewhat romanticized view of the temple interior made by Charles Cockerell in 1860, displays the axial placement of the Corinthian column and the flanking Ionic columns that terminated the projecting spurs. (Fig. 5)  Also depicted is the richly sculpted frieze that topped the naos walls. The surviving sections of the frieze were extracted from the ruins by Cockerell and his colleagues during in their 1811-12 expedition and sold to the British Museum in 1814, where they are displayed today. The concave abacuses of the Ionic capitals are conjectural since none of the capitals remained in situ. The vaulted ceiling is conjectural as well. Shown also in the image is the off-center statue of a deity, which appears to be a female figure rather than Apollo.[3] Cockerell’s view, however, captures the striking quality of the adyton’s indirect lighting, pouring in from the side opening shown on the plan.

5. Temple of Apollo Epicurius interior, Charles Cockerell, 1860 (Wikimedia Commons)

Possibly the earliest published image of the distinctive Bassae Ionic capital and its base appeared in a German edition of Charles Pierre Joseph Normand’s Nouvelle Parallèle des Ordres d’Architecture, published in three parts in 1830-36. (Fig. 6)  Normand accurately depicted the capital’s arched top, a conspicuous departure from the flattened volute tops found in nearly all other ancient versions of the Ionic capital. He shows no abacus since, as his narrative states, it was not in existence in its original form.  Normand admits, however, that the central anthemion or honeysuckle ornament was his own conjecture.[4] The capital had no evidence of any ornaments either there or in the echinus. Normand’s illustration of the base accurately records its strong curved projection (an exaggerated scotia). Several of these unusual bases remain in place in the temple today.

6. Temple of Apollo Epicurius Ionic order [detail] (Parallel of the Classical Orders of Architecture, Institute for the Study of Classical Architecture/Acanthus Press, 1998)

The British Museum holds what is believed to be the only known original fragment of the temple’s Ionic capitals. (Fig. 7) Charles Cockerell salvaged it from the ruin during his 1811-12 expedition and later presented it to the museum.[5] While the fragment is only a portion of a volute, enough is intact to appreciate the bold curve of the top edge. We are not told whether Cockerell and his colleagues found more Ionic capital fragments during their venture. Indeed, Haller von Hallerstein’s ca. 1812 drawings, the earliest reliable depictions of the temple, show none of the capitals in place. Consequently, this rare artifact remains the one tangible clue to the singular shape of the Bassae Ionic.[6]

7. Temple of Apollo Epicurius Ionic capital fragment, The British Museum (Loth)

The Bassae Ionic has inspired numerous modern versions. Appropriately, Charles Cockerell was perhaps the first to use the order when he applied it to the columns of the portico and side elevations of Oxford University’s Ashmolean Museum and Taylorian Institute, built 1841-45. (Fig. 8)  Its use for an exterior was considered somewhat daring since the order was originally an interior order. Cockerell was faithful to the original by avoiding ornaments on the volutes as shown in Normand’s Parallèle. However, he added discreet ornamentation to the abacus and echinus and topped it with an abacus employing concave sides and sharp tips. We can only speculate that he was basing the sharp tips on fragments that he may have seen in the ruin. Alternatively, he may have derived the abacus design from the abacus of the temple’s Corinthian capital. In any case, the architectural details of the pediment are entirely Cockerell’s, including the plaited decoration of the pulvinated frieze, an arresting treatment of an exterior frieze having no ancient precedent.

8. Ashmolean Museum portico, Oxford University, England (Remi Mathis, Creative Commons Attribution—Share Alike)

Daniel Burnham devoted as much attention to the decorative details of Washington’s Union Station as he did to the functionality and engineering of this great classical landmark, completed in 1908. This is evident in the terminal’s original main dining room (now a gift shop), which is a festival of Grecian decorations. The room’s walls are divided into a series of bays with recessed panels framed by fluted columns in the Bassae Ionic order. (Fig. 9) The capitals are picked out in gold, green, and red, a color pallet repeated in the entablature and other decorations.  Burnham also employed the Bassae Ionic for the columns supporting the canopies on the lower track platforms.[7] (Fig. 10) In both places, the capitals are decorated with enlarged anthemion ornaments and egg-and-dart echinuses, details shown in Normand’s Parallèle but not found on the originals.

9. Ionic capital, Union Station Gift Shop, Washington, D.C. (Loth)
10. Ionic capital, Union Station train canopy, Washington, D.C. (Loth)

The architectural firm of Zantzinger, Borie, and Medary applied a modified version of the Bassae Ionic for the corner pavilions of the 1931-34 Department of Justice in Washington’s Federal Triangle. (Fig. 11) The capitals are true to the Bassae precedent with their arched tops, but are expressed with parallel volutes rather than volutes having the forward curvature of the originals. Other departures from the original model are the egg-and-dart echinuses and the concave abacuses with their chamfered tips. As noted above, the form or even the existence of original abacuses is uncertain. However, following Normand’s conjecture, the capitals have an anthemion ornament in their centers.

11. Department of Justice portico, Washington, D.C. (Loth)

It is gratifying when one can discover a creative use of a rare and beautiful classical feature in one’s hometown. Such a find occurs on a small but elegant bank in Richmond’s historic Church Hill neighborhood. (Fig. 12) Appropriately named The Church Hill Bank, the building was designed by local architect Bascom J. Rowlett and opened 1914.  The main entrance is framed by two engaged columns in the Bassae Ionic order with each topped by a seated eagle holding wings aloft.  (Fig. 13) As with other modern versions, the volutes are flat-faced rather than gently curved forward. While Rowlett’s source for the order is not documented, a likely candidate is William R. Ware’s The American Vignola (1903), which illustrates the Bassae capital with a similar thick block for the abacus. The American Vignola was a standard textbook for American architects in the early 20th century.

12. Church Hill Bank, Richmond, Virginia (Loth)

13. Church Hill Bank Ionic capitals, Richmond, Virginia (Loth)

Most scholars contend that the temple’s Corinthian capital is the earliest known use of the Corinthian order. The illustration shown here was drawn by J. M. von Mauch for the 1830-36 German edition of Normand’s Parallèle, and is based on field notes and sketches by Haller von Hallerstein of fragments found during his 1811-12 expedition to the site. (Fig. 14) Regrettably, only a few of the fragments survive, preserved in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens. Even so, several parts of the illustration in the Parallèle are conjectural, such the flaring of the tops of the shaft flutes since the upper part of the shaft did not survive. The tips of the abacus were missing too, so it is uncertain whether they were pointed or chamfered. Nevertheless, Mauch’s restoration has a distinctive beauty and it is lamentable that it has inspired so few modern replications.

14. Temple of Apollo Epicurius Corinthian capital [detail] (Parallel of the Classical Orders of Architecture, Institute for the Study of Classical Architecture/Acanthus Press, 1998)

A rare (possibly unique) use of the Bassae Corinthian for an American house appears on the porch of the 1850 Hackerman house, an Italianate mansion on Baltimore’s prestigious Mount Vernon Place. (Fig. 15) The order is employed for both the forward and recessed porch columns as well as for the hall columns of the lavish interior.  Designed by the Baltimore architectural partnership of Niernsee and Neilson for Dr. John Hanson Thomas, the house became part of the Walters Art Museum complex in 1985. (Fig. 16) A native of Vienna, Austria, architect John Rudolph Niernsee studied in Prague and settled in Baltimore in 1839.  His source for the order was likely the German edition of Normand’s Nouvelle Parallèle des Ordres d’Architecture,(1830-36), which included J. M. von Mauch’s plate 78 showing the Bassae Corinthian.

15. Front porch capital, Hackerman House, Baltimore, Maryland (Loth)

16. Hackerman House, ca. 1890, Baltimore, Maryland (The Walters Art Museum)

Undoubtedly, the most ingenious and informed modern-day reference to the Temple of Apollo Epicurius is the Fellows’ Dining Hall of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge University. (Fig. 17) Designed by John Simpson and opened in 1998, the room is a reduced version of the temple’s naos, complete with the spurs fronted by their Ionic order, and the single Corinthian column on axis. All of the elements in the room are richly decorated with Grecian-style polychrome ornamentation that sets off the custom-designed Grecian-style furnishings. The Ionic capitals are true to the originals by lacking the anthemion ornaments added by Normand. Simpson employs a square abacus for the capitals with detailing echoing that on the Corinthian capital abacus. (Fig. 18)

17. Fellows’ Dining Hall, Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge University, England (Courtesy of John Simpson Architects)

18. Ionic capital, Fellows’ Dining Hall, Gonville and Caius College (Courtesy of John Simpson Architects)

The focal point of Simpson’s Fellows’ Dining Hall is the single Corinthian column following the precedent of the original. The polychromy and gilding emphasize the special beauty of this elegant order. (Fig. 19) The only liberty taken with known features of the capital is the insertion of a double row of compressed acanthus leaves at its base in place of the single row of leaves shown in Haller von Hallerstein’s drawing. Since Haller was working from fragments, it’s possible that an extra row was missing and therefore he didn’t draw one.

19. Corinthian capital, Fellows’ Dining Hall, Gonville and Caius College (Courtesy of John Simpson Architects)

John Simpson’s strikingly handsome room is clear demonstration that the Temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae yet offers design resources appropriate for adaptation in contemporary classical projects. It is important for such notable works of the past to continue to inform designs of today.

The author is grateful to Dr. George Skarmeas and his wife Dominique Hawkins for generously taking me to the temple in 2007.


Johann Matthaus von Mauch & Charles Pierre Joseph Normand, Parallel of the Classical Orders of Architecture, Compiled and edited by Donald M. Rattner (Institute for the Study of Classical Architecture, Acanthus Press, 1998).

Alexander Tzonis & Phoebe Giannisi, Classical Greek Architecture: The Construction of the Modern, (Flammarion, Paris 2004).

Kali Tzortzi, The Temple of Apollo Epikourios: A Journey through Time and Space, (Ministry of Culture, Committee for the Preservation of the Temple of Apollo Epikourios at Bassai, 2001).

David Watkin, The Life and Work of C.R. Cockerell, (A. Zwemmer Ltd, London, 1974).

[1] Epicurius (or Epikourios) was a reference to Apollo as a god of helping, a designation resulting from the belief that Apollo helped deliver the area from the plague. 
Quoted in Kali Tzortzi, The Temple of Apollo Epikourios: A Journey Through Time and Space (Ministry of Culture Committee for the Preservation of the Temple of Apollo Epikourios at Bassai), p 12.
Although the temple likely had a statue of a deity in this position, no fragments of one were found during Cockerell’s expedition.
Johann Matthaus von Mauch & Charles Pierre Joseph Normand, Parallel of the Classical Orders of Architecture, Compiled and edited by Donald M. Rattner (Institute for the Study of Classical Architecture, Acanthus Press, 1998), plate 33 text.
David Watkin, The Life and Work of C.R. Cockerell, (A. Zwemmer, LTD, London, 1974) p. 13.
A plaster cast of this fragment was given by the Metropolitan Museum of Art to the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art and is now displayed at the ICAA headquarters in New York City.
A proposed enclosure of the track platforms will result in the removal of the canopies and their supporting columns.

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Spring 2014 Continuing Education Schedule

Because we know that many of you are interested in furthering the scope of your knowledge of the classical building arts, we are pleased to share the Spring 2014 schedule of Continuing Education courses here at ICAA Headquarters. Ranging from foundational classes like Traditional Drafting by Hand to more topic-specific courses like A Crash Course in Period Style, the schedule offers classical enthusiasts and practitioners the opportunity to improve their architectural literacy and celebrate the many compelling aspects of the classical tradition.
Please find our course offerings below, or visit the ICAA website to enroll online. As per usual, all courses are held in the evenings and/or on weekends so as to better accommodate professional schedules. AIA/CES LUs are available, and all courses count towards the ICAA’s reputable Certificate in Classical Architecture. Please do not hesitate to contact with any further questions that you may have.

Spring 2014 Continuing Education Courses

Traditional Drafting by Hand
Five evening sessions: Wednesdays April 2 – 30, 2014

Elements of Classical Architecture: Introduction to Classical Mouldings
One Saturday session: April 5, 2014

Classical Interior Design & Detailing
Five evening sessions: Mondays, April 21 – May 19, 2014

Elements of Classical Architecture: Drawing the Tuscan Order
One Saturday session: April 26, 2014

Drawing Architecture in Two-point Perspective  
Six evening sessions: Thursday, May 1 – June 5, 2014

Exploring Urbanism: Disrupting the Grid 
One Saturday session: May 3, 2014

Basic Architectural Literacy 
Two evening sessions: May 6 & May 7, 2014

Know Your House in Detail
Two weekend sessions: Saturdays, May 10 & May 17, 2014

A Crash Course in Period Style
Four evening sessions: Tuesdays, May 13 – June 3, 2014

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Peter W. Lyden Named ICAA President

Peter W. Lyden

The Board of Directors of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art (ICAA) – the nation’s leading nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the classical tradition in architecture, urbanism, and the allied arts – is pleased to announce that Peter W. Lyden has been selected as the ICAA’s new President, effective March 18, 2014. Previously, Mr. Lyden was the Chief Philanthropy Officer of the American Museum of Natural History.

Mr. Lyden assumes the ICAA presidency with more than twenty-five years of leadership experience as a fundraising professional and nonprofit administrator. Over the course of his career, he has raised more than $2 billion in philanthropic support for major New York City cultural and medical institutions.

In his new role at the ICAA, Lyden will work to expand the ICAA’s regional reach, promoting nationally the organization’s core mission of advancing understanding and awareness of classical architecture and art, as well as its impact on humanity and the environment, among students, architects, artists, and philanthropists.

Mark Ferguson, Chairman of the ICAA Board of Directors, states that “Peter brings formidable leadership skills to his new position as well as a lifelong passion for the noble tradition we cherish. The National Board looks forward to working with him as he unites our members to pursue our most ambitious aspirations.”

As a volunteer trustee of the Blenheim Palace Foundation, Lyden has raised significant philanthropic support for the Palace’s preservation and was instrumental in establishing the future Winston Churchill Memorial Garden. Lyden’s involvement with the preservation of classical architecture also includes work to support the restoration of the John Russell Pope building on Central Park West and its halls at the American Museum of Natural History, as well as that of Irish Georgian buildings at the Dartfield Estate and Equine Museum.

Lyden is an active member of the Royal Oak Foundation and the National Trust of England. Prior to the American Museum of Natural History, Lyden’s professional leadership positions included a directorship of the American Ballet Theatre’s Development Department; he was also Senior Executive Director of Development of the Montefiore Medical Center and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

“I am delighted to be joining the dedicated and enthusiastic team of staff, volunteers, and directors that have made the ICAA a renowned cultural and educational force,” says Mr. Lyden. “Now, with its expansive initiatives and growing network of chapters, the ICAA is poised to offer its diverse range of services to a much broader audience. I look forward to cultivating relationships between the ICAA and students and professionals working in the classical tradition, as well as the general public. I will be honored to help inspire and encourage the next generation of architects, artists, planners, and design professionals.”

Peter W. Lyden received his Bachelor of Science degree from Providence College and a Master’s degree in Public Health and Administration from Yale University. Since 1991, Lyden has served as an adjunct faculty member of New York University where he lectures on nonprofit administration, fundraising, and marketing.

The ICAA resulted from the 2002 merger of Classical America and the Institute of Classical Architecture, founded in 1968 and 1991 respectively. Today, the ICAA is represented by 15 chapters nationwide and is a highly regarded resource for students of art, planning, architecture, design professionals, and the general public. The ICAA provides a broad array of resources that include continuing education classes, travel programs, lectures, salons, and conferences.

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