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The Language of Classical Architecture: Understanding the Orders - Tuscan Order

Architecture is the silent language of civilization, echoing a culture’s values, beliefs, and aspirations through its form and structure. The architectural language of ancient Greek and Roman cultures is unique in that it has endured through the ages, and is still relevant and realized throughout the world today.  This language, which we call classical architecture, stands out for its timeless beauty and enduring charm. Central to classical architecture are the columnar orders and their proportions, which serve as the grammar and vocabulary of this architectural language. In this post, we delve into the essence of classical architecture, exploring the significance of the orders and proportions in shaping our built environment.

Pillars of Classical Architecture the Tuscan Order

At the heart of classical architecture lie the columnar orders, a system of structural support design and ornamentation that originated in ancient Greece and were later refined and expanded upon by the Romans. The five Roman orders—Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, Corinthian & Composite —each possess distinctive characteristics that reflect the cultural and aesthetic sensibilities of their respective eras and root cultures.

The Tuscan order, the oldest of the five, is characterized by sturdy simplicity and robust proportions. Tuscan columns typically feature smooth shafts supporting a plain entablature. The proportion of shaft diameter to height is typically 1:7, making for a stout and sturdy-looking column.  This order exudes strength and stability, embodying the ideals of order and restraint.  The order comes to us from the Etruscan peoples who settled the Northern areas of what is now Italy.  Etruscans were contemporaries of the early Greeks, and were on the Italian peninsula long before Rome existed.  Their temples used the Tuscan column exclusively, and featured three worship areas dedicated to their three primary deities: Jupiter, Juno and Minerva.

Tuscan Order Explained Visually for Classical Architects
Tuscan Order


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