Greetings to the Group! Perhaps someone in here can assist me since
Google hasn't done a terrific job so far.
I make little wood boxes. ( See www.littleboxes.eu ) I have been
commisioned to make a box which is "broadly reminiscent" of Roman
architecture so I am going to design a colonnade running around the
entire box. The box itself will be about 10" X 4" (a necessary size -
no flexibility here.)
What I need to know is the correct (most appropriate/most common)
distance between columns based on their width. Is there an equation I
can use, i.e. if the column is X cm wide then the on center distance
between columns will be Y cm. The columns will probably be about 10
cm to 12 cm wide. I understand there may not be any hard and fast
Many thanx for any assistance you can provide.
Roman Orders of Architecture Doric Column Proportions
Architectural Graphic Standards Fifth Edition
Base 8/6 diameter in plan, 1/2 diameter in height
Shaft 1 diameter @ base, 7 diameters in height
Shaft is straight for bottom 1/3 & tabered above that
Capital 1/2 diameter in height,
Capital is composed of Astragal, Necking, Ehinus, & Abacus
Entablature rests on Capital & is composed o:
Architrave 1/2 diameter in height
Frieze 3/4 diameter in height
Cornice 3/4 diameter in height
One problem with that, and why I sent you to the study, is that the
columns themselves vary in thickness from slimmer at the top where they
meet the capitols, whichever kind you choose, to where they meet the
bases. The study Maison Carre a Nimes explains how this works. And
once you uhderstand these calculations, you not only are able to design
harmonius columns in all parts but can understand their relationship to
the facade as a whole and why straight columns don't work. Learn once,
have various calculations available and you can do this with all sorts
I did better when I DAGS on "parthenon measurement"
There was also a PBS offering titled "Secrets of the Parthenon"
that talked about the ratios used in building the Parthenon and
some previous temples - and it offered some interesting info on
how the Athenians went about designing various curves into the
The Parthenon and almost every Greek temple of that period was designed
using hundreds of well defined ratios. The ratios in complex geometric
relationships governed the spacings of every possible feature of the
To find the proportions of the Parthenon and other structures conduct an
Internet search with the keywords,
[ Parthenon +proportions ].
There is a tremendous amount of information on the matter in printed
books; and probably more than there is on the Internet. The proportional
systems are lightly gone over by most students of the architecture. You
would have to consult the books on the buildings by the historians of
geometry and architecture to get the finer points.
On the Internet there are some possibilities:
The measurement and proportional systems used by the architects, Iktinos
and Kallikrates, were based upon the elaborate Pythagorean system of
geometry. Their temples were based upon many types of mathematical
principles that had been discovered in geometry. The inter-relationships
of mathematical ratios are intricate and complicated.
You asked about the proportions of the columns. You can get the
measurements from books, however, one obscure fact concerns the shape of
the columns. The shape is an ellipsoid of rotation with the top and base
made flat. With the diameters of the narrower top, widest, and bottom
you could construct the shapes. Check the heights for those were in a
specific ratio to the column centerline spacings.
Forget Roman buildings. They didn't use the Ancient Greek system of
ratios and proportions.
Actually, I asked about the distance between (i.e. spacing of) the
columns. Not the proportions of the columns themselves. I was hoping
that there might be a rule of thumb which says that if the columns are
X wide then the proper spaceng between them would be Y x X or
somesuch. I think I'd be reading those suggested references for some
time before I accidentally stumbled across that information.
Actually, assuming that the illustrations are done to-scale, I was looking
at Plate 1 and saw that a proportion could be figured out, as least
accurately enough for most purposes (such as for the OP's mention of doing
a box) byt measuring the circels, and the spaces between them. It'd be
easier if printed out, so I haven't done the aritmetic, but it reminds me
of what i'd done some yar back when fooling around with doing a 3D image of
a "pseudo-Parthenon) for a game project that was in the works at the time.
Anyway, nice source, thanks for the URLs :)
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