To the classical world, that of Ancient Greece and Rome, architecture meant much more than the mere construction of buildings

Classical Architecture


To the classical world, that of Ancient Greece and Rome, architecture meant much more than the mere construction of buildings. 'Architecture', says the Roman architect Vitruvius, 'consists of Order, and of Arrangement, and of Proportion and Symmetry and Propriety and Distribution.' For several of these terms he gives a Greek equivalent: his definitions probably derived from an earlier Greek authority whose writings are lost to us. Utility and Function are not part of this definition, though in his book Vitruvius does go on to describe the best form and arrangements for different purposes of structure; but here, at the beginning, the aesthetic emphasis, architecture as an art, has priority. The origins of classical architecture are complex. There was obviously a long prehistory of basic construction, of hut habitations simple in form and material, both in Greece and Italy, which did not match up to Vitruvius' artistic requirements. Though these were, by definition, inartistic they nevertheless contributed an essential element of form, which persisted into the later sophisticated architectural concepts. However ornate it may appear from the outside, in essence the classical temple is a simple, single-roomed hut.

25 What does the writer suggest about Vitruvius?
A His primary concern was the ultimate uses of buildings.
B His thinking about art and architecture lacked originality.
C He set high aesthetic standards in buildings.
D He was more attracted to art than architecture.

26 What point is made about the classical temple in the final sentence?
A Its form derives from an earlier style of construction.
B It embodies an aesthetically pleasing architectural concept.
C Its external decoration detracts from its artistic merit.
D It is the highest achievement of Greek and Roman architecture.

To the classical world, that of Ancient Greece and Rome, architecture meant much more than the mere construction of buildings


Text: Cambridge University Press

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