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New Classical architecture

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

New Classical architecture is a modern movement in architecture that continues the practice of classical and traditional architecture. The design and construction of buildings in these traditions is continuous throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, even as modernist and other post-classical theories of architecture have been more dominant. Since New Classical architecture is not an architectural style and can appear in various forms, contemporary classical buildings might be also, although not correctly, be described with the terms Traditionalism, Neo-Historism (or Historicism/Revivalism), or simply Neoclassical Architecture, implying the continuation of a specific historical style.[1]

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  • ✪ Classical architecture in modern times: G.S. Smith & F. Terry at TEDxLondonBusinessSchool
  • ✪ Classical Architecture: Three Fallacies by Robert Adam
  • ✪ Modern Traditional Architecture
  • ✪ What is Classic Architecture, more than a column?
  • ✪ The classical orders


So, Francis and I are both classical architects, and when we tell people that, they often ask us quite familiar questions, so we've called this talk "Six Frequently Asked Questions," and I'm going to try and answer three of them and then Francis will answer the others. So, the first question, very simply, is: what is classical architecture? Well, it's a kind of architecture which started in ancient Greece and Rome, which has its own set of rules. And those rules are based around five different kinds of column, which are called the five orders. For about two thousand years, the five orders were the basis of all architecture. But about fifty years ago, they stopped being taught, and most architects now don't know much about them, and would dismiss them as being irrelevant. This is a picture of me measuring and drawing a classical building. And it's my belief that, because it's not taught any more, the only way you can really find out about the grammar and language of buildings is by measuring and drawing them yourself, and that's what I do and also what we're doing outside today. So the next question is: why is classical architecture relevant now? Architecture has always been dictated and influenced by fashion and taste. But recently, fashions and tastes have been moving much more quickly. The fashion at the moment is for funny-shaped buildings made of glass. (Laughter) And they're being built in cities all around the world with the result that a lot of cities are now beginning to look rather the same. But things are changing a little bit. For one thing, glass buildings are not very sustainable. They involve a lot of energy and cost in their construction and maintenance and use, and they don't last very long. For another thing, people are concerned that cities are beginning to lose their individual identities. And so for that reason, I think, a lot of people are now starting to look at local traditions and ways of building buildings which are going to last longer. And we think that's why classical architecture is relevant now. And as an illustration, this is a photograph of a building which I designed and which was built recently in the middle of London. It's built of natural stone, it has sculpture on it. It uses the classical language. But it's for a modern art gallery, and a very modern purpose. So, the last question is: would you ever design a classical airport? (Laughter) Actually a while ago, a magazine asked me to redesign Heathrow Terminal 5 as if it was a classical building. And I think that they were asking it as a slightly tongue-in-cheek question. But actually, when you think about it, it's maybe not that ridiculous after all. If you think of a building like Grand Central Station, in New York, it's a wonderful building designed as a grand classical space, and when you arrive there, you have a tremendous sense of the place that you're arriving in. And, arguably, modern airports don't do that. And, I think that it's the power to be uplifting which is one of the most exciting things about classical architecture. Hi, I'm Francis. My three questions. Is classical architecture appropriate for a modern city? Well, I believe it is. I mean, particular cities, like London, have these beautiful historic buildings in them and a lot of architects are just putting up, as George suggested, these rather hideous glass buildings which could be anywhere, Taipei, Kuala Lumpur. And I get very sad to see these sort of fragmented streets. We were called in recently to stitch together this small bit of classical architecture in Tottemham Court Road, and our building in the middle takes the same language, follows the same materials and stitches together. Obviously, there are other times when a modern building is appropriate. Some people criticize classical architecture because it looks too easy, you're just copying. And I don't really see a problem with things being good if they're easy. That's great. But I think that one of the problems with architecture is it's very closely aligned to painting and sculpture, where being cutting-edge and new is how you make your name. But I think that architecture should more correctly be associated with cooking, which is a domestic art. And when you cook, you follow a recipe, and a recipe is just a form of copying and no one would deny the amount of creativity you need when you cook, because you have to interpret recipes, particularly Nigella Lawson's ones. (Laughter) That's the example of a house. If I see a nice window, I copy it, and I just try and get it as close as I can. It's actually very difficult to copy things well. And the last question is: what's the purpose of drawing? One of the rather frustrating things about the visual creative industry, or world, is that people don't take these traditional skills seriously. If you were to study music, and you went to a music school, you would learn to play the piano beautifully, irrespective of whether you went on to play Schopenhauer or AC/DC or whatever you taste is. But with architecture and arts, you're not taught to draw well at architecture. At school, they don't value it. And I think our drawing is an attempt to breathe new life into drawing, which both me and George think is an incredibly important skill, and I hope that we can transfer some of that passion to you.



1920s regionalist architecture: Böttcherstraße, Bremen, Germany
1920s regionalist architecture: Böttcherstraße, Bremen, Germany

At the beginning of the 20th century, historicism and Jugendstil were still dominant styles in Germany. The Austrian architect Adolf Loos criticized his time's architecture as too "grandiloquent" and "opulent", and longed for a complete abandonment of architectural ornaments in his 1910 essay Ornament and Crime.[2] As early as the first major modernist movements like Werkbund and Bauhaus gained momentum in Germany, the desire to continue and develop classical styles sprouted.[3] From 1904 until around 1955 the Heimatschutz style prospered in Germany, which focused on vernacular traditions and can be roughly translated to cultural protection style. Examples of this early new classical style are the Hamburg Museum, the Prinzipalmarkt in Münster and the market square of Freudenstadt. After heavy Allied bombing of Germany in World War II, architects such as Adolf Abel, Roderich Fick, Konstanty Gutschow, Werner March, Paul Schmitthenner, Julius Schulte-Frohlinde, and Rudolf Wolters assisted in the postwar rebuilding of destroyed German cities using Heimatschutz and other traditional design methods.

In Britain, architect Raymond Erith continued to design classical houses into the late 1960s and early 1970s. Quinlan Terry, a New Classical Architect who continues to practice, was an employee, later a partner and now the successor of the late Raymond Erith. In the late 1970s several young architects in Europe began challenging modernist proposals in architecture and planning. To broadcast them, Leon Krier and Maurice Culot founded the Archives d'Architecture Moderne in Brussels and began publishing texts and counterprojects to modernist proposals in architecture and planning.[4] It received a boost from the sponsorship of Charles, Prince of Wales, especially with The Prince's Foundation for Building Community.[5]

Chapel at Thomas Aquinas College by Duncan Stroik (completed in 2009)
Chapel at Thomas Aquinas College by Duncan Stroik (completed in 2009)
The Smith Center for the Performing Arts in Las Vegas, opened in 2012. Designed by David M. Schwarz, the Neo Art Deco[6] style echoes the Hoover Dam, source of the city's water and electricity.
The Smith Center for the Performing Arts in Las Vegas, opened in 2012. Designed by David M. Schwarz, the Neo Art Deco[6] style echoes the Hoover Dam, source of the city's water and electricity.

With the demand for professors knowledgeable in the history of architecture, several PhD programs in schools of architecture arose in order to differentiate themselves from art history PhD programs, where architectural historians had previously trained. In the US, MIT and Cornell were the first, created in the mid-1970s, followed by Columbia, Berkeley, and Princeton. Among the founders of new architectural history programs were Bruno Zevi at the Institute for the History of Architecture in Venice, Stanford Anderson and Henry Millon at MIT, Alexander Tzonis at the Architectural Association, Anthony Vidler at Princeton, Manfredo Tafuri at the University of Venice, Kenneth Frampton at Columbia University, and Werner Oechslin and Kurt Forster at ETH Zürich.[7] The creation of these programs was paralleled by the hiring, in the 1970s, of professionally trained historians by schools of architecture: Margaret Crawford (with a PhD from U.C.L.A) at SCI-Arc; Elisabeth Grossman (PhD, Brown University) at Rhode Island School of Design; Christian Otto[8] (PhD, Columbia University) at Cornell University; Richard Chafee (PhD, Courtauld Institute) at Roger Williams University; and Howard Burns (M.A. Kings College) at Harvard.

In these years postmodern architecture developed a critique of modernist architectural aesthetics.[9] Among them were certain influential postmodernist architects such as Charles Moore, Robert Venturi,[10] and Michael Graves, who used classical elements as ironic motifs in order to criticize modernism's sterility. A broad spectrum of more than two dozen architects, theorists, and historians presented other alternatives to modernism.[11] Among them were several serious New Classical architects who saw classicism as a legitimate mode of architectural expression, several of whom would later become Driehaus Prize Laureates, including some such as Thomas Beeby and Robert A.M. Stern, who practice both in post modern as well as classical modes. Some postmodernist firms, such as Stern and Albert, Righter, & Tittman, fully moved from postmodern design to new interpretations of traditional architecture.[9] Thomas Gordon Smith, the 1979 Rome Prize laureate from the American Academy in Rome, was a devotee of Charles Moore. In 1988 Smith Published "Classical Architecture - Rule and Invention" and in 1989 was appointed to be chair of the University of Notre Dame Department of Architecture, which is now the School of Architecture.[12] Today other programs exist which teach in part New Classical Architecture at the University of Miami, Judson University, Andrews University and beginning in 2013,[13] the Center for Advanced Research in Traditional Architecture at the University of Colorado Denver.

Alongside these academic and scholarly developments, a populist and professional manifestation of new classicism has existed and continues to develop. The 1963 demolition of McKim, Mead & White's Pennsylvania Railroad Station in New York City provoked the formation of Classical America and its regional chapters, led by Henry Hope Reed, Jr..[14] Classical America advocated the appreciation of classically inspired buildings and for the practice of contemporary classical and traditional design by teaching architects to draw the classical orders, hosting walking tours, educational events, conferences and publishing The Classical America Series in Art and Architecture.[15] In 2002, the then-named Institute of Classical Architecture merged with Classical America to form the Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America (now the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art). The ICAA currently supports and is supported by regional chapters across the United States, almost all of which host awards programs [16] which recognize significant accomplishments in new classical and traditional design and construction. The ICAA publishes The Classicist,[17] a peer-reviewed journal exclusively dedicated to the theory and practice of contemporary classicism in architecture, urbanism, and the allied arts. The ICAA offers educational programs to architecture and design professionals, many of which follow the methodologies of the École des Beaux-Arts. The ICAA also teaches courses to educate the general public,[18] and has created programs such as the Beaux Arts Atelier, the Advanced Program in Residential Design for the American Institute of Building Designers, and many other unique programs.

In 2003, Chicago philanthropist Richard H. Driehaus established[19] a prize in architecture to be given to an architect "whose work embodies the principles of classical and traditional architecture and urbanism in society, and creates a positive, long lasting impact." Awarded by the University of Notre Dame School of Architecture, the Driehaus Architecture Prize is seen as the alternative to the modernist Pritzker Prize. The Driehaus Prize is given in conjunction with the Reed Award, for an individual working outside the practice of architecture who has supported the cultivation of the traditional city, its architecture and art through writing, planning or promotion.[20] Other high-profiled classical architecture awards are the US-American Palladio Award,[21] the Edmund N. Bacon Prize,[22] and the Rieger Graham Prize[23] of the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art (ICAA) for architecture graduates.


New urbanist, sustainable town Jakriborg (Sweden), using traditional and classical architecture motifs
New urbanist, sustainable town Jakriborg (Sweden), using traditional and classical architecture motifs

Fundamental tenets of the New Classicism include that it is not limited to neoclassical architecture; and that "classical" is not a style in itself, but a way of elevating the art of building to the art of architecture.[24] A classical building uses imitation to express its tectonic truth, which is not the same as the facts of its construction, and finds its beauty not in originality and style but in the handling of the traditional forms that have always been its vehicles. Classical buildings also always account for the differences between the public and the private realms in addressing the urban and rural conditions where they are built. New classical architects also emphasize the awareness of sustainability, the aim is to create long-lasting, well-crafted buildings of great quality, with an efficient use of natural resources.[25]


While modernist teaching remains dominant at universities and architecture faculties around the world, some institutions focus solely, mainly or partly on teaching the principles of traditional and classical architecture and urban planning. Some of these are:[26]

In India
In the United Kingdom
In the United States


See also


  1. ^ Quigley, Kathleen. "Inside Architecture's New Classicism Boom". Architectural Digest. Retrieved 2019-02-16.
  2. ^ Loos, A. (1908). Ornament and Crime. Innsbruck, reprint Vienna, 1930.
  3. ^ Banham, Reyner (1960). Theory and Design in the First Machine Age - Characteristic attitudes and themes of European artists and architects 1900-1930.
  4. ^ Leon Krier and Maurice Culot, "Counterprojets: Prefaces," (Brussels: Archives d'Architecture Moderne, 1980).
  5. ^ Charles, Prince of Wales, "A Vision of Britain: A Personal View of Architecture," (New York: Doubleday, 1989).
  6. ^ "David M. Schwarz Architects, Inc. - Washington, DC". David M. Schwarz Architects, Inc. Archived from the original on 3 May 2018. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  7. ^ Mark Jarzombek, "The Disciplinary Dislocations of Architectural History," Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 58/3 (September 1999), p. 489. See also other articles in that issue by Eve Blau, Stanford Anderson, Alina Payne, Daniel Bluestone, Jeon-Louis Cohen and others.
  8. ^ Cornell University Dept. of Architecture website"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-06-30. Retrieved 2015-09-01.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ a b McAlester, Virginia Savage (2013). A Field Guide to American Houses. Alfred A. Knopf. pp. 664–665, 668–669. ISBN 978-1-4000-4359-0.
  10. ^ Robert Venturi, "Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture," (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1966).
  11. ^ Andreas Papadakis and Harriet Watson, eds., "New Classicism: Omnibus Volume," (London: Academy Editions, 1990).
  12. ^ "Many Canons, Many Conversions -". Archived from the original on 28 October 2013. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  13. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2013-10-29. Retrieved 2013-10-26.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ "How Henry Hope Reed Saved Architecture". The New York Sun. Archived from the original on 20 October 2017. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  15. ^ "Books - Institute of Classical Architecture & Art". Archived from the original on 20 June 2017. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  16. ^ "Articles - Institute of Classical Architecture & Art". Archived from the original on 5 November 2013. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  17. ^ "Books - Institute of Classical Architecture & Art". Archived from the original on 10 October 2017. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  18. ^ "Calendar". Archived from the original on 13 October 2017. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  19. ^ "The Driehaus Prize". 7 March 2013. Archived from the original on 23 October 2017. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  20. ^ "Driehaus Prize Nomination Process". University of Notre Dame School of Architecture. Archived from the original on 29 March 2013. Retrieved 11 February 2013.
  21. ^ "Palladio Awards". Active Interest Media. Archived from the original on 6 April 2014. Retrieved 10 April 2014.
  22. ^ "Edmund N. Bacon Prize". Philadelphia Center for Architecture. Archived from the original on 13 April 2014. Retrieved 10 April 2014.
  23. ^ "The Rieger Graham Prize". Institute of Classical Architecture & Art in New York. Archived from the original on 13 April 2014. Retrieved 10 April 2014.
  24. ^ An important clarion call was that of Demetri Porphyrios, "Classicism is not a Style," in "Architectural Design" vol. 52, no. 5/6, 1982, and reprinted various places.
  25. ^ New Classical Architecture and 10 years of the Driehaus Prize Archived 2016-08-04 at the Wayback Machine, Notre Dame School of Architecture (Video)
  26. ^ INTBAU - A guide to academic institutions/universities teaching New Urbanism and traditional/classical design. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  27. ^ Tirumala S.V. Institute of Traditional Sculpture and Architecture (SVITSA) in Tirupati Archived 2016-02-02 at the Wayback Machine, India
  28. ^ National Design Academy Nottingham Archived 2015-03-15 at the Wayback Machine, degree course for heritage interior design
  29. ^ "MArch Architecture – Unit 6 – 2015/16". Archived from the original on 13 February 2017. Retrieved 13 February 2017. We will engage with the fundamental architectural considerations of scale and language, and the application of the order of classicism at the scale of the town, building, room and fitting.
  30. ^ Portsmouth School of Architecture: Design Classical Archived 2015-04-02 at the Wayback Machine. The school presents its award-winning course in the elements of classical design and how to design in the classical idiom, for CPD credits., PDF, retrieved 10 March 2015
  31. ^ "Andrews University School of Architecture, Art & Design". Archived from the original on 16 June 2012. Retrieved 4 April 2014. Throughout the educational process, students are challenged to base architectural decisions on thoughtful and learned criteria, including the body of knowledge found within vernacular and classical traditions.
  32. ^ Urban, Chad. "Welcome!". Archived from the original on 31 March 2015. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  33. ^ "Beaux-Arts Academy in Salt Lake City, classical architecture study programs". Archived from the original on 14 March 2016. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  34. ^ "Meerson Architects Moscow". Archived from the original on 30 October 2017. Retrieved 22 January 2018.


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