We will accordingly emphasize the base of the column, just as we emphasized the base of the wall, by a projecting moulding, not only giving expression to this connection of the column with the ground, but also giving it the appearance, and to some extent the reality, of greater stability, by giving it a wider and more spreading base to rest on. We have here still left the lines of one column vertically parallel, and there is no constructive reason why they should not remain so. There is, however, a general impression to the eye both of greater stability and more grace arising from a slight diminution upward. It is difficult to account for this on any metaphysical principle, but the fact has been felt by most nations which have used a columnar architecture, and we will accept it and diminute (so to speak) our column (Fig. 8). We have here taken a further step by treating the shaft of the column in two heights, keeping the lower portion octagonal and reducing the upper portion to a circle, and we now find it easier to treat the capital so as to have a direct and complete connection with the column, the capital being here merely a spreading out of the column into a bracket form all round, running it into the square of the bed plate.3 The spreading portion is emphasized by surface ornament, and the necking is again emphasized, this time more decisively, by a moulding, forming a series of parallel rings round the column.
If we wish to give our column an expression of more grace and elegance, we can further reduce the thickness of it (Fig. 9), and give more spread to the capital, always taking care to be sure that the strength of the column is not reduced below what the weight which it has to carry requires. In this case a bracket is shown above the capital, projecting longitudinally only (in the direction of the lintel bearing), a method of giving a larger bearing surface for the ends of the lintels, shortening their actual bearing4 (in other words, widening the space which can be bridged between column and column) and giving a workmanlike appearance of stability to the construction at this point. The idea of the division of the column into two sections, suggested in Fig. 8, is kept up in Fig. 9 by treating the lower portion up to the same height with incised decorative carving. The dotted lines on each side in Fig. 9 give the outline of the original square column as shown in Fig. 4. The finished column was within that block; it is the business of the architectural designer to get it out.5Fig. 10
Let us see if we can apply the same kind of process of evolving expression in regard to a building. We will take again the very simplest form of building (Fig. 10), a square house with a door in the center and uniform rows of windows. There cannot be said to be any architectural expression in this. There is no base or plinth at all, no treatment of the wall. The slight projection at the eaves is only what is necessary to keep the rain from running down the walls, and facilitate the emptying of the gutters, and the even spacing of the windows is essential for constructive reasons, to keep the masses of wall over each other, and keep the whole in a state of equally balanced pressure. The first thing we should do in endeavoring to give some expression to the building would be to give it a base or plinth (Fig. 11), and to mark that and the cornice a little more decidedly by mouldings and a line of paneling at the plinth.Fig. 11
The house being obviously in three stories, we should give it some echo externally of this division into horizontal stages by horizontal mouldings, or what are called in architectural phraseology "string courses," not necessarily exactly at the floor levels, but so as to convey the idea of horizontal division; observing here, as in the case of the wall and column, that we should take care not to divide the height into equal parts, which is very expressionless. In this case we will keep the lower string close down on the ground floor windows, and keep these rather low, thus showing that the ground floor apartments are not the most important; while the fact that the first floor ones are so is conversely made apparent by keeping these windows rather higher, putting a double string course over them, and a slight extra depth of moulding, forming a kind of cornice over each.
The space left between these and the roof, in which the attic windows are placed, is treated with a series of mullions and panelings, into which the attic windows are worked, as part of the series of openings; this gives a little richness of effect to the top story, and a continuity of treatment, which binds the whole series of windows together. To have treated the whole of the walls and windows in this way would have been merely throwing away labor; what little effect it has consists in the "character" given by the contrast of this top story treatment with the plain wall surfaces below.
The last thing is to emphasize the door, as the principal opening in the walls, and quite distinct in use and meaning from the other openings, by giving it a little architectural frame or setting, which may be done in many ways, but in this case is done by the old fashioned device (not very logical certainly) of putting a little entablature over it, and a column on either side; there is, however, this to be said for it, that the projecting tablature forms a semi-porch, protecting those at the door somewhat from rain; it must be carried in some way, and columns are the readiest and most seemly manner of doing it, and they also form, practically, something of a weather screen; the bases on which they stand also form a framework or inclosing wall for the steps, which are thus made part of the architectural design, instead of standing out as an eyesore, as on Fig. 10. We have now given the house a little general expression, but it still is vague in its design as far as regards the distribution of the interior; we do not know whether the first floor, for instance, is one large room, or two or more rooms, or how they are divided; and the little house is very square and prim in effect.