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Analysis of Classical Greek Architectural Design

Book cover imageThe monograph Classical Greek Architectural Design: a Quantitative Approach (2013) aims to change the prevalent paradigm in architectural design studies: detecting patterns in a set of measurements is to a high degree a statistical question and scholars who ignore this fact risk confusing the discussion rather than clarifying it.

The rigorous methodological approach adapted in the research uses Kendall's cosine quantogram method: the CQG analyses and the subsequent computer simulations for determining the statistical significance levels are very well-suited to both pinpointing where the shortcomings of the earlier research are and suggesting what the best way forward is. The lack of scholarly agreement is a strong indication that the question of Classical Greek architectural design is a very complex one: statistics can also help us to understand what the relationship between the initial plan and the completed structure is and thus enhance our knowledge of the whole process of monumental building. The main chapter presents a joint analysis of a group of ten fifth-century BC Doric temples and it demonstrates that the most constant ratios in the group can be interpreted as an indication of the design rules used by the architect. The building proportions derived from elements at the plan level produce systematically higher levels of significance than features further up in the façade. The results of statistical analyses are coherent with the proposal that the opacity of Doric design is due to successive systems of proportion involving rounding of dimensions at various stages of the design and execution process rather than a strictly modular design system. The second principal chapter increases the range of studied themes beyond fifth-century Doric temples: the four case studies are on the orthogonal town plans of Naxos in Sicily and the Piraeus, the Erechtheion on the Athenian Acropolis and two fourth-century temples at Stratos and Tegea.

The full introduction, the chapter on methodology and the conclusions of the book are available as a PDF download.


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