The acanthus plant in our lush garden on Pine Street has bright green leaves. A symbol of re-birth, it has inspired architects and artists since ancient Greece. It adorns the top of the Corinthian column.
The Corinthian Column
History and theory play an important part of becoming an architect. Without it the 1980's Post Modernism would not have happened. Post Modernism was a recall of historical styles and response to the spare minimalist International Style in vogue the previous 50 years. In the International Style, beauty was found in form and function - stripped of ornamentation. Beneath the unadorned building planes, however, Greek ideals of columns and proportions still resonate. I remember working in the office of David H. Horn FAIA in Fresno as a summer intern. I overheard him discussing the Greek ideas of expressing a column when he was designing the Fresno Federal Building (now the Fresno Superior Court) in the "modern style".
Today, we have "rediscovered" mid-20th century design. All things continually evolve. Of course some never lost their love of ornamentation. The Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian columns are known as the classic order and the Corinthian column is the most decorative of the three orders with acanthus leaves adorning the top.
The Greek column went on to influence Roman, European, and world architecture. Walk down any main street in American and you will see its continuing influence. I took this photo (above right) while walking on Sacramento Street where a charming, simplified and stylized depiction of the acanthus leaf adorned the top of a pilaster.
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