Michael Mesko brings classical orders to contemporary application

By Jiajing Lily Sun

On May 10th and 11th, the ICAA offered a two-day advanced course on how to dissect classical order components and how to study architectural masterpieces through the lens of proportions and ratios. Instructor Michael Mesko and Teaching Assistant Kellen Krause presented a detailed illustration on different varieties of columns and capitals canonized by Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola even since the Italian Renaissance period. Mesko also took the steps further by teaching how to integrate these classical orders into an architectural entity with perfect proportions.

ICAA Instructor Michael Mesko

The course highlights practical application of the orders, extending them into contemporary architecture design. “One way to think about the orders is, they are modular,” Mesko explains. “There is always a ‘module’ which everything else revolves around.” For instance, the diameter of the lower ⅓ section of a classical column can be the module and, by multiplying the number with various fractions, the architect can obtain the exact height of the columns and the dimension of the pedestal supported by them. This methodology can be applied to any type of architecture, ancient or modern, public or domestic, to determine the scales and proportions of an entire building with unfailing visual harmony.

Michael Mesko and Teaching Assistant Kellen Krause working with a student

The course series serves as a great opportunity for like-minded professionals to hone their design skills and deepen their understanding of classical architecture. Like sorting puzzlepieces, during the class the students explored the unlimited possibility of combining various patterns of the orders, conjuring up the idealized plans, and eventually found the key piece to interweave all the elements tightly.

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