Design Classical

Project Details


The Portsmouth School of Architecture presented its award-winning course in the elements of classical design and how to design in the classical idiom, for CPD credits.

Most architectural practitioners today, educated in the Modernist tradition, think of designing in the classical idiom as merely a matter of juggling motifs, whereas in fact, it is a disciplined and sophisticated design language, whose fundamental principal is a system of proportional relationships (and if you think that sounds like Le Corbusier and ‘the Modular’ are right).

In this drawing based course, participants were set graphic exercises to learn by doing the elements of the classical language, the proportional ratios which determine their appearance, and how to compose with them to make coherent, rational and harmonious classical designs, when a client asks for them.

Portsmouth students and practitioners who have already taken this course affirm that it provided a new (and rare) architectural skill which is interestingly marketable, or just satisfies curiosity about this ancient design language, (the ‘mother tongue’ of western architecture), whose disciplines underlie nearly every aspect of our historical built environment, (including much of the modern; Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe and Alvar Aalto).

As it is recommended that the drawing exercises are done using CAD, the course has also proven to be a terrifically effective means of honing even the most experienced CAD users’ mouse skills, owing to the strict disciplines regarding mass and proportion, and also the representation of complex decorative details which the classical language in practice entails.
Short titleDrawing the Classical Orders of Architecture
Effective start/end date1/02/1128/02/11


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