Greek and Roman Architectural Designs


Classical legacy styles of art that arose from historical Greece and Rome have long-lasting in constructing numerous structures. Greek and Roman structural designs have been an inspiration for every design in western architecture. The early architectural designs of the Greek remain to be a source of creativity for architects to date. The Romans also altered the artistic world through the use of unique materials as compared to the Greeks, therefore changing how various structures are constructed.

Main Features of the Architectural Styles

Architectural designs from ancient Greece were mainly comprised of enormous structures developed to serve as temples. One of the structures is The Parthenon. It is considered as the perfect and one of the most widespread and recognized types of Greek structural design (Highet, 2015). However, it lacked what the Greeks believed ought to be developed with a sense of balance and order in the designing of the sanctuaries.

Figure 1: The Parthenon

Sculptures in ancient Greece, such as Lady of Auxerre, was developed using Limestone, a common resource during 650-624 BCE, located near Theta. The sculptures developed using the Limestone was considered as an honor to departed women as it was situated in a mausoleum in Eleuthera. The sculpture was named after what was believed to be an ancient town in France. The statue was known as Deadalic, named after a renowned artist known as Daedalus, which means “the skillful one.”

Figure 2: Lady of Auxerre

According to Gagarin (2010), Greek architecture turned out to be the foundation of western architectural designs in the ancient and current century concerning art history. The changes experienced in the period of art bring us into the contemporary era of art. The first change happened between 900-600 BCE, known as the Geometric and Orientalizing art ca. This period witnessed the introduction of black ogres on budvases. The next form of art was the Archaic Art, during the 600-480 BCE period, whereby states made of stone and paintings were initially black, but a second shade was utilized. This was meant to encourage color experimentation. The next change was the Early and Classical art ca, during 480-400 BCE, which resulted in revolutionizing the statue using weight shift. Mathematical formulas were utilized to develop temples that shared the belief that beauty is attributed to harmonious figures.

The period 211 BCE proved to be a turning point for Roman Architecture as the affluent Greek, Marcellus, initiated the Rome Greek Art. Therefore, this meant that Roman Art was prompted by the Greek and Etruscan kingdoms. Roman architecture might have turned out to be dissimilar if the Roman architects decided against using stucco that modernized the designs. Concrete would then be poured into a wooden structure and then cover by using marble or concrete.  Concrete was not only considered to be economical but provided an avenue for architects to focus on space.

The Sanctuary Fortuna of Primigenia was developed using concrete barrel vaults, providing the structure with incredible strength. This would help support both floors, the columns, and the enormous stairway. One of the most noticeable influences of Roman architecture incorporated the enormous columns in the White House (Curl, & Wilson, 2015). The curvatures, and the exterior columns along with the inside of Union Station in Washington D.C. illustrate several of the influences by the Roman architecture.

Figure 3: The Sanctuary Fortuna of Primigenia


In the 21st century, both new and old buildings are developed using Roman and Greek architecture. Both architectural styles can be seen in many artistic designs, for instance, in buildings, statues, and paintings. Despite the persistence of modern architecture, the progress was reliant on a clean break from ancient times. Currently, architectural styles continue to incorporate the traditional designs of both the Greeks and the Romans.


Curl, J. S., & Wilson, S. (2015). The Oxford dictionary of architecture. Oxford University Press, USA.

Gagarin, M. (2010). The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome (Vol. 1). Oxford University Press on Demand.

Highet, G. (2015). The classical tradition: Greek and Roman influences on Western literature. Oxford University Press, USA.

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