Ancient Greek and Roman architecture has had great influences on modern architecture. As some of the oldest civilizations, Greece and Rome had distinct styles which have been adapted to modern styles. One of the styles is the architecture of amphitheaters as seen in Roman culture. According to Sayre (2012), amphitheaters were built by emperors as venues for spectacles and contests such as bullfights and contests between gladiators. The architecture of these structures has been adopted in many modern meeting facilities including Madison Square in New York and Robert Hall in London among many others. The most outstanding feature of the amphitheaters is the oval or round shape and several levels of the building to provide space for spectators. The convenience of hosting many people in a relatively small space and vision lines to the lower levels made these Roman features outstanding
Figure 1 (a) The Colloseum in Rome, Italy, showing the several levels for spectator seats and the oval shape compared to Figure 1 (b) of the Royal Albert Hall in London, UK.
Other than the inspiration of the amphitheaters in creating round and oval halls, Greek architecture was richer and more detailed than Roman. Therefore, architectural styles borrowed from the Greeks were numerous compared to those borrowed from the Romans. One outstanding architectural element is the use of columns as structural and decorative aspects of the buildings. According to Miles (2016), the Greek style is often referred to as post and lintel meaning that it was mainly composed of upright beams that supported horizontal ones. The upright beams were the columns and as evidenced from ancient Greek architecture, they were both a structural component as well as an aesthetic one. Due to the large size of most of the temples and other buildings, columns were used to support the beams and were also sites for decorative work which showed the affiliation or order of the building. Columns were generally thicker at the bottom and thinner at the top with cylindrical shapes.
The influence of using columns in Greek temples has been seen in modern buildings. One such example is the White House which has used decorative and structural columns on the exterior as well as interior. For instance, the image of the entrance hall, considered the formal entrance to the White House, shows the use of columns for decorative as well as structural support. They are similar to those used in the image of Greek architecture.
Figure 2: Greek columns compared to columns in the entrance hall of the White House.
Miles, M. M. (Ed.). (2016). A Companion to Greek Architecture(Vol. 114). John Wiley & Sons.
Sayre, H.M. (2012). Discovering the humanities (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.