5 architectural elements of Greek design

I’ve been an admirer of Greek architecture for longer than I can remember. It’s one of the reasons why I spent months looking for the perfect Greek revival style house until I finally found the one I was looking for. The wait was definitely worth it!

I love the aesthetics and design that Greece has offered to the world. I also love the idiosyncrasies of Greek architecture and the fact that much of contemporary Greek architecture has roots in imposing ancient Grecian structures like The Parthenon. The way in which ancient craftsmanship fuses with modern ergonomics is just fascinating.

Greek-influenced architecture was adopted in America in the 1830s and 40s as an alternative to the British colonial style of houses. It soon became a national favorite with the triangular pediment – a typical Greek architectural element – infused in other architectural styles as well.

Other than the three-sided pediment adorning every Greek house, there are five elements of Greek architecture without which no Greece-inspired structure is complete.

Marbled structures or white painted buildings

white house

big fat greek wedding house

The classic Grecian structures were mostly built out of limestone marble, but most of the Greek style structures in America are painted white to resemble ancient Grecian design. Good examples of Greek-inspired architecture in America are the White House and the Portokalos’ residence from the 2002 film My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

2.      Perfect symmetry


Greek architecture is perfectly symmetrical and the buildings are well-balanced and of the right proportion. The Greeks believed that much of the visual appeal of a building lay in its symmetry. The Parthenon is an ancient Grecian structure that boasts of perfection in its symmetry.

3.      Stately columns with a gabled porch


This is one element that immediately catches your eye. Tall square or rounded pillars that man the portico – sometimes spanning the entire width of the house – are one of the most important features of Greek architecture. Combine this with a triangular gable at the top of the portico and you get one perfect Greek-themed porch. In many federal buildings, a line of columns or a colonnade is commonly seen.

4.      Low-pitched roofs


The gable or hipped low-pitched roof is another feature of Greek architecture. If you’re planning to redo your home and add more Greek-inspired components, make sure the roofing of your home complements the rest of the structure. Local contractors Champion Window and Roofing replaced the old roof of my home with the perfect gabled roof while ensuring that the newly installed roof is an energy-conserving and leak-proof one.

5.      Decorative cornice


The cornice is a horizontal band that’s located just below the roof. In classic Grecian architecture, it’s the uppermost part of the entablature that also consists of a frieze at the lowermost part and the architrave sandwiched in between. The frieze is often carved while the architrave lends support to the cornice and frieze as well as holds up the columns. The entablature together makes up one of the most defining characteristics of Greek architectural pattern.

The ancient Grecians went to great lengths to leave an architectural legacy and what an amazing legacy it is! The perfect combination of elements and the inimitability of this style make Greek-influenced structures a sight to behold. It’s no surprise then that Greek-inspired homes are one of the most popular styles in America today.