Friday, January 13, 2012

The origin of this “problem” lies in the fact that for constructive reasons the corner column should be placed in the middle of the architrave—in both directions. Further, the outermost triglyph was without exception placed in the corner—in both directions. On the other hand, the breath of the triglyph was smaller than the depth of the architrave because of what the triglyph in the corner was not situated in the middle of the column as otherwise was the rule. Accordingly, if one wanted to keep the rhythm even in the frieze, one had to make the corner intercolumniation smaller. If, on the other hand, one wanted to keep the rhythm of the columns even, one had to make metopes, triglyphs, or both broader in the corner. Based on the testimony of Vitruvius, this has been interpreted by scholars as an antagonism characteristic for the Doric order, which later by the development of working methods, constructions, and refinement of taste led to awareness of this “problem” and eventually to the abandonment of the entire Doric order.
This commonly accepted view about the Doric “corner conflict” is not tenable. It is true that during the archaic age there were different approaches to this question. Some architects used longer metopes; some used wider triglyphs in the corner. Some temples, on the other hand, were constructed using so heavy constructions that this conflict never even appeared, especially in Sicily. In classical temples, however, there is no sign of a corner conflict left. The outermost triglyph was without exception situated in the corner. The reason for this is that the Doric architects wanted to make the temple a unity although it was composed of many (Doric columns). This will, on the other hand, was based on the most fundamental ideal of the Dorian city-states, the ideal of unity in plurality. The shortening of the corner intercolumniation that followed from this, however, serves the same purpose, and therefore there is no conflict at all; everything serves the same purpose in perfect harmony. This feature didn’t turn into a “problem” until Hellenism, when architectural intentions had changed because of different ideals.  More information 

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