Keywords: principles, proportions, orders
The design concept in Stephen Riou’s ‘The Grecian orders of Architecture’ is omnipresent throughout all parts of the book. As the title shows us, the book treats the grecian orders and how they build the design of a building. In chapter 1, the introduction of the book, it is written that the style of a building cannot be fixed at any other terms than those observable in the grecian orders established in the ancient Greek. The book addresses both the design of public and private buildings. If proportion, eurythmy, symmetry are established upon the principles of the grecian orders, the beauty of architecture is achieved.
The main part of the book consist of written text. The text treats the three orders (ionic, doric, corinthian) and explains in detail, how to apply these. For example, in chapter IV the doric column, entablature, portal, colonnade and arcade are being discussed. For each element, proportional informations are given in the text. In chapter V tables are added to the text to provide another way of understanding the principles of ancient architecture design.
The importance of each order in relation to achieve ancient design is reinforced by the fact that each order has its own chapter. The other chapters of the first part of the book are comparing these orders with each other and one is also about how orders are placed upon another according to the design principles. Furthermore, parallel remarks described by the authors Vignola, Palladio and Scamozzi are explained to show some examples of the best modern authority.
In the second part of the book in chapter III, ten different designs are explained. This gives the reader examples of designs for temples, churches, streets, villas, pavilions etc. Plans are being described mainly in form of text and sometimes supplemented by tables.
The detailed descriptions of the ancient design principles written down in the text are rounded off with various illustrations in the appendix of the book. These illustrations are, unlike the rest of the book, layouted both upright and landscape format, and a few pages can be unfolded. Construction details, building plans, structural views, proportional informations of private and public buildings sum up the book and show that through the proper application of the principles in every single element, the building resonates in harmony as a whole.