Palladian Architecture

You may never have heard of Andrea Palladio or his great architectural influence, but you may have seen Palladio’s architecture without knowing it. This style can be seen all over the world and is often chosen for prominent government buildings. You may even see it in your neighborhood or home – especially in the form of Palladian windows, which are popular for large amounts of light.

History of Palladian Architecture

The man behind the beginnings of Palladian architecture was Andrea Palladio, who lived from 1508 to 1580. While working as an architect in Europe, he sought to combine classical elements of ancient Greek and Roman design in contemporary applications. Like the Neoclassical period, his designs focused on proportion and symmetry. However, instead of adhering to more precise or constrained interpretations, his architectural style sought new ways to incorporate classical elements. The result of Palladio’s work was a new style of architecture – Palladian architecture.

Palladian architecture spread throughout Europe and was used and loved by other architects. These elements represented a familiar classical design that appealed to the European aristocracy but was not bound by the particular shapes and patterns that were common in ancient designs.

The catalyst for Palladian architecture that emerged in North America was the translation of Palladio’s published design books into English, which took place from 1715 to 1720. As a result, Palladian architecture began to flourish in North America, especially in the 18th and 19th centuries. Thomas Jefferson was a major proponent of this style of design, calling Palladio’s work the «Gospel of Architecture.» Some of Jefferson’s most famous projects featuring Palladian elements include the University of Virginia, Monticello, and the Virginia State Capitol. These projects, along with other prominent buildings, had a major impact on the growing popularity of Palladian architecture in the United States.

Key Characteristics

Palladian architecture is famous for its magnificent symmetry, classical elements, and magnificent appearance. Columns and pillars, such as Corinthian columns, are often seen supporting open structures or porticos. Symmetry is one of the important features of this style that each half of a building is a mirror of another. The windows are placed in a perfectly symmetrical style and create order. The domed roofs and windows make these buildings a symbol of ancient Roman and Greek temples. Everything is in a mathematical arrangement.

The overall atmosphere of Palladian architecture depicts magnificent, magnificent, and difficult feelings. In both large government buildings and smaller homes, Palladian elements evoke an ancient sense of power and elegance. 

Although the exterior architecture depicts the clean, symmetrical, and rigorous aesthetics of ancient buildings, the interior of Palladian structures is often adorned with lavish and royal decor. This notion of homogeneous contrast is often attributed to Inigo Jones, who combined ancient elements with lavish elements such as fireplaces, textiles, and sculptural pieces. Not surprisingly, Jones married a luxurious interior with Palladian architecture. One of his most famous projects was the Queen’s House, built in Greenwich, England, and completed around 1635. This influential project is considered the beginning of English Palladianism.

Palladian Architecture Today

Bold Palladian architecture is not usually seen today among modern designs. But this style still lives on among the historic buildings and key elements found in other design styles. Large, symmetrical, and portable estates in the south are striking examples of Palladian architecture that has continued through the ages. Large government buildings, such as state buildings or university buildings, often have Palladian porticos and regular symmetry.

In residential design, Corinthian columns may be seen holding a small or large porch in front of the house. The idea of keeping the exterior symmetrical and orderly is also a reference to Palladian architecture. However, windows are the most common element that is influenced by Palladian architecture.

Palladian windows are made of three parts, the central part of which has a tall dome at the top. This symmetrical and large window pattern incorporates the classic sense of Palladian architecture even in more modern and contemporary buildings. Large Palladian windows may beautify a living room or dining room with plenty of natural light and large air.