What is Greek Architecture?

Whenever you drive through your local big city, you see a lot of incredible architecture; whether it be in the form of your state capital building using that old marble style, or that crazy looking glass thing that you’re quite unsure of, but still looks great. We take great architecture for granted more than we’d like to think. It’s everywhere on our daily commute. Sometimes it’s beautiful, sometimes it’s far too shabby for our tastes, but it’s there.

How often do we stop and look at and admire a piece of architecture? Stopping and examining a piece of work such as those that you find interesting not only gives us a chance to realize the connection that our society has with ancient times in the shape of architectural formations but also lets us understand our surroundings. These kinds of architectural similarities have the ability to link together entirely separate cultures through the art that is Architecture, and this is particularly the case with the different types of Greek architectural styles, which have stood the test of time and has made its way through every kind of western civilization. If you are interested in seeing some Greek Architecture pictures, check out this article on History.com.

What we now know as Greek architecture refers to the architecture of the Greeks and Peloponnesian speaking peoples, who lived in the B.C times around the Aegean sea. Greek architecture greatly inspired Roman architecture in profound ways, so the more modern Roman Imperial architecture incorporated many Greek elements into its practice and style.

Greek architecture and more importantly Greek temples are often lumped into categories depending which style they followed at the time of their creation. A ‘prostyle’ designed temple has pillars and columns that are only placed at the front, while an ‘amphiprostyle’ temple has columns placed at both the front and rear of the structure. Temples that follow a ‘peripteral’ arrangement (from the Greek word ‘pteron’ which means ‘wing’) have a simple and straightforward line of columns and pillars that stretch all the way around the perimeter of the structure.

Even a basic overview of Greek architecture as a whole demonstrates the range, style, and diversity that it possesses. The most recognizable Greek structures are certainly the temples. The earliest variants were made with wood, mud, brick, and thatch; materials that wouldn’t ordinarily survive very long. The primary form of these temples was a simple rectangular building with projecting walls that created a shallow porch. This basic concept remained unmolested for many centuries until the use of more permanent materials began to emerge. Some examples of this are shown in the oldest standing formations that are still in Greece; they are made of granite, marble, and other stones.

During the time span known as the Archaic period, the core tenets of Greek architecture in the mainland was beginning to be established. This led to an astonishingly big wave of temple and monument building.

During the fifth through sixth centuries B.C, the Greek city-states invested significant amounts of time and resources into temple construction; this led to the competition between different resources, styles and economic values that created what was known as Graeco-Roman architecture.