This section is from the book "Cyclopedia Of Architecture, Carpentry, And Building", by James C. et al. Also available from Amazon: Cyclopedia Of Architecture, Carpentry And Building.
The Roman custom in the spacing of columns is of much greater interest to the architect of to-day than the custom of the Greeks, in that the Romans were not held down by the considerations that restricted the Greeks in the use of available lengths of stone which they could quarry or handle for their supporting lintels. Yet the Romans, it must also be remembered, generally used Orders of tremendous size, and employed them on buildings quite different in their whole composition and style from those on which we now employ the column; so, as a general rule, it may be said that we should generally space our columns farther apart than was even the Roman custom.
In all Doric work, the column must always occur directly under a triglyph; but, instead of the two- or three-triglyph spacing of the Greeks, we find that the Romans frequently spaced their columns with three triglyphs and four metope spaces occurring between the triglyphs that come on the center lines of the column shafts, as in the Theater of Marcellus at Rome; and while the Renaissance authorities united in giving them lesser spaces than this (Fig. 143), modern custom and practice pay but little regard to these precedents. It is now considered proper to space the columns at any distance that the best solution of the problem may require, the only consideration being that they shall not be so far apart as to give the effect of insufficient stability of support. Of course, in spacing columns at greater distances than those given by Vignola and other authorities, it will generally be found advisable to decrease their height slightly in relation to their diameter, in order to give the column a greater effect of solidity and strength.
The Roman use of columns placed against the face of the piers of an arcade, requires a certain relation between the proportions of the column and its spacing and height. These are best studied by noting the spacing of the columns apart in diameters. In the Tabularium, the columns are spaced apart from center to center five diameters. In the Theater of Marcellus and in that of Pompey, this distance was five and one-quarter diameters; and in the Basilica Julia it was five and one-half. The distance from center to center of the columns on the Colosseum is seven and one-half diameters. In this building, all the columns-Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian-are the same diameter at the base. In the Theater of Marcellus, the Doric columns are eight diameters high, and taper at the top to seven-eighths of their lower diameter. The Ionic columns in the second story are nine diameters high, and their lower diameter is the same as the upper diameter of the Doric column below. In the Colosseum, the Doric (or Tuscan) columns on the first story are nine and one-half diameters high, and the Ionic and Corinthian columns are just eight and three-quarters diameters in height. These departures from the ordinary rules are probably accounted for by the fact of the rather special manner in which the columns are here employed. Additional height was necessary, in order to allow room for the vaulting over the corridor inside. On the first story the height is obtained by increasing the length of the column shaft; and in the other stories this additional height is gained in the dado, which breaks out into a sort of pedestal underneath the column shafts. The awkwardness of this solution is displayed by the fact that the architect was driven to place between the faces of his piers an additional dado or solid balustrade in order to act as a parapet for the corridors in the second and third stories-an architectural makeshift that he would undoubtedly have much preferred to omit.
In Fig. 143, the example of Roman Doricintercolumniationfrom the Theater of Marcellus, where columns are used on the face of an arcade, the columns are shown spaced apart 4 1/4 diameters; while the practice of Pal-ladio, Scamozzi, and Vignola, where the column is used alone, is to space them apart from three to four diameters, or four to five diameters, on centers.
The Ionic intercolumniation shown in Fig. 144, again indicates t h e arrangement of the Theater of Marcellus, and shows below it the spacing of Palladio, Scamozzi, and Vignola. It must be remembered that in the Theater of Marcellus, the Ionic Order occurs directly over the Doric Order below; and in both instances the column is attached to a wall, and is separated from its neighbor by the arches of the arcade.
1 toman Corinthian column spacing is shown in several of the well-known examples in Fig. 145; in addition to which the dimensions and proportions of the columns on some of the principal temples are as follows:
In the Temple of Vesta at Tivoli, where the columns are I8 feet 5 inches high, and are raised on a high basement, they are 9 1/4 diameters high, the capital being just one diameter. In this instance it was the evident intention of the designer to obtain a stumpy effect.
PLATE LVIII. (A reproduction at small size of Portfolio Plate LVIII).
In the Temple at Nimes the columns are 30 feet high, with a diameter of 6 feet 9 inches, and the intercolumniation is two diameters. The columns of the Portico of the Pantheon are 45 feet 3 inches or 9 1/4 diameters high, and the intercolumniation is 2 1/7 diameters.
In the Temple of Vesta at Rome, the columns are 48 feet 3 inches high or 10 1/2 diameters, and the intercolumniation is 1 1/2 diameters. In this temple the tall and slender column shafts are accounted for by the fact that the building was crowded in and surrounded by higher structures, and this environment made the extra column height essential in order to obtain the necessary dignity.
In the Temple of Mars Ultor, the columns are 57 feet 9 inches or 10 diameters high, and the intercolumniation is 1 1/3 diameters.
The columns of the Frontispiece of Nero are 58 feet high, as are also the columns of the Temple of Jupiter Olympus.