Doric Order in Ancient Greek Architecture

Doric order and its architectural elements are one of the classical period elements that we learn in architectural history lessons and we stamble upon in historical buildings. Ancient Greek architects were influenced by the Egyptian column orders and wanted to use them in architecture. Thus, they invented three Greek orders of architecture as a result of this searches. These orders are respectively:

  1. Doric Order
  2. Ionic Order
  3. Corinthian Order

In this article, I would like to talk about the Doric architectural order, which Vitruvius frequently mentions in the Ten Books on Architecture.

Doric order of Greek architecture is the first and perhaps the simplest one among the 3 above-mentioned. As it has a very rough and solid stance, Vitruvius has connected the columns of this order with masculinity.

Parthenon Temple is one of the most important example structures for Doric architectural elements.
Parthenon Temple

Doric Order Elements

Let’s get to know all the architectural elements of Doric architecture that is one of the most important and essential orders of classical architecture.

Doric Order Columns

The most distinctive differences of the orders in classical architecture are their columns. Doric order columns is shorter and chunky than other columns. The bodies of the columns in Doric order expand towards the center and are generally grooved. Column capitals are without ornaments. In addition, there is no column base in Doric pillars, so they directly touch the floor as they are.

There are problems in the corners of the Doric order, just like the Ionic order. While triglyphs and metopes are placed in a certain line, this order is distorted at the corners, so it breaks the spell of architecture.

Doric orders architectural elements drawing

Abacus

It is the name given to the plate where the column meets the architrave above the Doric column. It has a flat and square cross section. Today, it is similar to the column heads used to prevent the punching effect in reinforced concrete buildings.

Echinus

It is the section below the abacus that gradually narrows. It is the transition element between the abacus and the main body of the column.

Stylobate

Contrary to the other classical architectural orders, Doric pillars were often placed on the stylobate, which is the upper step of stair called as crepidoma. The number of steps were generally 3 or 5.

Triglyph and Metope

To carry the temple roofs, the architects had developed a kind of column-beam system. Just like in today’s gable roofs, there were elements such as purline and ridge in these early age temples. Various reliefs and ornaments were made on them so that the longitudinal beams that form the roof seem beautiful and effective on the pediment. Here, the decorated part of these beams visible from the outside is called triglyph. The empty part between two triglyphs is called a metope.

In the classical manner, the middle axle of the triglyphs was coincided with the middle axis of the columns in order for the carrier systems to work properly and the visual effect was not disturbed. However, this created a major visual problem. What do you think could be the reason and what solution was found for it?

Conclusion

Shortly, Doric order architecture, which is one of the three orders of ancient Greek architecture, has plain pillars, less ornaments and rough stance. Besides, doric style columns, with grooves and enthasis, are shorter and bulky. Although Greeks had invented it, Doric order architecture has adorned multitude of buildings all over the world for thousands years.

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