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Palladian Architecture – Important Features and Examples

One of the most widely used Neoclassical architecture (1720-1830)is the Palladian Architecture/Palladianism. It refers to works of 16th century Venetian architect Andrea Palladio.

Characteristics/Features of Palladian Architecture

  • Symmetry
  • Strict proportion
  • Simplicity of Geometrical and classical forms
  • Austere exteriors
  • Minimal or lack of Ornament
  • Temple front façade ( An array of evenly spaced columns capped by Pediment)
  • Greek and Roman Orders – Ionic, Doric and Corinthian columns.
  • Use of Domes and Pediments
  • Marble and Bronze statues, Friezes
  • Coffered ceilings

Examples of Palladian Architecture

1. Chiswick House

Palladian Architecture
Image source: 500freethingstodoinlondon.com
  • Building: Chiswick House
  • Function/Use: Palladian Villa
  • Location: Chiswick, London, England
  • Date of construction: 1726-29
  • Architect: Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington
  • Historical Influence: Greek, Roman, and Romanesque architecture.
  • Key Features: Temple front façade with symmetry
  • Façade: This Palladian villa is a simple symmetrical structure of brick-built façade, faced with Portland stone and stucco. The central portion of the façade features six Corinthian columns capped by a triangular pediment where the columns rest on a projecting portico. Also, the portico sits above a rusticated stone base and a split stairway. It also includes a steep-pitched dome in an octagonal form.

2. Stowe House

Image source: commons.wikimedia.org
  • Building: Stowe House
  • Function/Use: An independent school
  • Location: Stowe, Buckinghamshire, England
  • Date of construction: 1677-1779
  • Architect: John Vanbrugh, James Gibbs, and others
  • Historical InfluenceRoman Architecture, Greek Architecture
  • Key Features: Symmetrical and modest in decoration
  • Façade: The façade magnificently rises up from the vast lawn with a monumental stair to a portico entrance. The portico is supported by Corinthian columns and a triangular pediment. The façade can be visualized in five sections – the central block, and then the lower linking sections (State dining room and Large Library) that end at the pavilions on either side.

3. Villa Capra “La Rotonda”

Palladian Architecture
  • Building: Villa Capra “La Rotonda”
  • Function/Use: Residential Villa
  • Location: Vicenza, Veneto, Italy
  • Date of construction: 1566-1590, extension in 1996
  • Architect: Andrea Palladio
  • Historical InfluenceRoman Architecture, Greek Architecture
  • Key Features: Symmetry, Harmony, Building with four facades.
  • Façade: The unique and striking aspect of this majestic villa is that it displays four facades. Symmetrical in design, the façade emphasizes balance, uniformity, and visual character. Even though the plan is of simple square plan, identical porticoes project from each of the four sides, making it an engaging and elegant façade. Moreover, the porticoes act as a stage where one sees the beauty of nature and the surrounding environment. At the center of the building above, there lies a circular dome that covers a circular hall.

4. Palladian Bridge, Prior Park

Palladian Architecture
Image source: flickr.com
  • Building: Palladian Bridge
  • Function/Use: Garden Bridge
  • Location: Prior Park, Bath, England
  • Date of construction: 1735 – 1737
  • Construction System: Bearing Masonry, cut stone
  • Architect: Richard Jones
  • Key Features: Ionic columns and Pediments
  • Façade: The façade features pediments on either side of the entry points as well as on the above arches that are present on both ends of the bridge. Ionic columns rise above the balustrade and rusticated arches below.

5. Mereworth Castle

Palladian Architecture
Image source: flickr.com
  • Building: Mereworth Castle
  • Function/Use: Country House
  • Location: Mereworth, Kent, England
  • Date of construction: 1723–25
  • Architect: Colen Campbell architect.
  • Historical Influence:  Roman Architecture, Greek Architecture
  • Key Features: Symmetrical and Harmonious relationship of spaces.
  • Façade: This building demonstrates the firm symmetrical relationship of spaces, moving from one portico porch through the central dome space and out to the opposite portico porch. It is almost similar to Villa Capra “La Rotonda”.

6. Holburne Museum

Palladian Architecture
Image source : en.wikipedia.org
  • Building: Holburne Museum
  • Function/Use: Museum (Fine and decorative arts)
  • Location: Sydney Pleasure Gardens, Bath, Somerset, England
  • Date of construction: 1796-99
  • Architect: Charles Harcourt Masters
  • Historical Influence:   Roman Architecture, Greek Architecture
  • Key Features: One of the most impressive buildings in the streets of Europe.
  • Façade: The three-storied building comprises gallery spaces, a bookshop, and a café that opens into gardens. The entrance to the museum is aligned with the garden underneath, nestled in the center of three arches. The porch with columns and pediments resembles the entry, but instead, it is an extension of the main room.

7. Berlin State Opera House

Image source: commons.wikimedia.org
  • Building: Berlin State Opera House
  • Function/Use: Opera House
  • Location: Berlin, Germany
  • Date of construction: 1741-1743
  • Architect: Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff, Carl GotthardnLanghans, and Carl Ferdinand Langhans
  • Historical Influence:  Roman Architecture, Greek Architecture
  • Key Features: One of the most impressive Opera House in Europe.
  • Façade: The design of the façade is an example of how the elevation can be austere with symmetry and harmony to create a visual balance. The main emphasis is on the central portion comprising a triangular pediment resting on Corinthian columns. The primary entrance rests in the center of the portico, and intricately carved sculptural figures are on either side of the entryway. Additionally, the portico is elevated by a split scissors stair from the rusticated stone base.

8. Kedleston Hall

Image source: en.wikipedia.org

Another perfect example of Palladian Architecture.

  • Building: Kedleston Hall
  • Function/Use: Country House
  • Location: Kedleston, Derby
  • Date of construction: 1759
  • Architect: Robert Adam
  • Historical InfluenceRoman Architecture, Greek Architecture
  • Key Features: A dramatic six-columned Corinthian Portico
  • Façade: The design comprises three blocks with a central three-story house linked by two segmentally curved corridors. Although the ground floor is rusticated, the upper floors are finished with smooth-dressed stone. The primary block contains staterooms, the East block is for the family’s personal use, and the West block accommodates kitchens and other domestic rooms. A massive portico of evenly spaced six Corinthian columns capped by a triangular pediment as well as a split staircase governs the façade with the Palladian character.

9. Houghton Hall

Image source: houghtonhall.com
  • Building: Houghton Hall
  • Function/Use: Country house, A residence
  • Location: Norfolk, England
  • Date of construction: 1722–29
  • Architect: Colen Campbell, James Gibbs, and William Kent
  • Historical InfluenceRoman Architecture, Greek Architecture
  • Key Features: Fine example of Palladian Architecture and Palladian windows.
  • Façade: The house is of a large rectangular block that consists of a rustic basement and other rooms on the upper floors. Symmetry is even more emphasized by two flanking wings that join the main section by a colonnade. The engaged columns and flattened pediment mark the entry of this country house. Four Gibbs-designed domes adore on each corner of the block.

10. Virginia State Capitol

Image source: en.wikipedia.org
  • Building: Virginia State Capitol
  • Function/Use: Virginia’s statehouse
  • Location: 1000 Bank St, RichmondVirginia
  • Date of construction: 1785–1788
  • Architect: Thomas Jefferson, Charles-Louis Clérisseau
  • Historical Influence: Roman Architecture
  • Key Features: It is considered the National Historic Landmark

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