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Re: [teacherartexchange] Greek and Roman Architecture and Today


From: Christina Papageorgiou (papageorgiouchristina_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Thu Mar 08 2012 - 23:49:30 PST

Dear Sara,
I am very happy to hear that ancient Greek art and architecture is
part of your school's curriculum for the students of the 7th year. I a
Greek architect and sculptor and I hope I will be of some assistance
to your quest.

Very briefly some of the things we learn in the architecture school
regarding the influence of ancient Greece to USA architects is
connected to the so called Greek Revival:

"The Greek Revival dominated American architecture during the period
1818-1850. It was the first truly national style in the United States,
found in all regions of the country. The popularity of the style was
due to strong associations with classical tradition and democracy. The
Greek Revival was very adaptable, and permeated all levels of
building, from high to low"
- Digital Archive of American Architecture
- Wikipedia for Greek Revival
- Neoclassicism and America 1750 -1900

One of the buildings that we are being taught is the Chancery
Building, U.S. Embassy in Athens. Made by W. Gropius is often
discussed as the modern - abstract equivalent of Parthenon, as from
the outside the building presents similarities and an abstract
repetition of the form. Following I copy/pasted something I found at
the site of the Embassy but I am sure that if you look further you
will find more detailed and better material.

"History The Embassy Building

The Embassy Building, completed July 4, 1961, was two and one-half
years in construction, at a cost of $1,500,000. All of the wooden
furniture was made in Greece, from American designs, by the Sarides
Company of Athens, which has made furniture for Embassies of many
nations throughout the world. All the fabrics used in the upholstered
furniture were created in the United States. Nearly 350 Greek
engineers, craftsmen and workmen were employed during the construction
of the building.

Priority was given to the use of local materials. All the marble,
cement, tile and plastering materials are Greek products. Most of the
fabricated materials came from Western Europe. The items imported form
the United States were mainly machinery, such as the air-conditioning,
heating and ventilating equipment, pumps and transformers.

The building was designed by Walter Gropius and “The Architects
Collaborative Inc.” of Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. It was
constructed by the “Albertis-Demopoulos Construction Co.” of Athens.

The Chancery is in the shape of a perfect square with a center court,
enclosing a planted area and fountain. Exterior and interior columns,
of Greek inspiration, are utilized to support giant horizontal
crossbeams. The building is constructed of steel and reinforced
concrete and is air-conditioned. Specially designed steel hangers are
attached to these beams which suspend (hang) the second and third
floors of the three-story building. A kind of cradle effect is thus
achieved, ensuring “give” in the event of a seismic tremor.

The marble of the building is as classic as its architectural style.
Most of it is the famous white marble from Mt. Penteli. Black marble
from Saint Peter, Peloponnesus, gray marble from Marathon and other
native Greek marbles are used throughout the building. The beautifully
turned wooded stair railing were made with Greek pearwood by Greek

Kind regards
Christina Papageorgiou

On Thu, Mar 8, 2012 at 2:31 PM, sarah k <> wrote:
> My seventh grade students are currently studying Ancient Greece and
> Rome. I would like to complete an architecture lesson  focused on the
> influence of the style on buildings in the U.S. I plan to take the
> students through a "photo tour" of our city then ask them to design a
> new building for the city that includes aspects of Greek and/or Roman
> architecture.
> Does anyone have suggestions for materials to complete this activity
> (watercolor, pen and ink, pencil) or suggestions for resources for me
> to check out before presenting the background information to the
> students? I have never taught architecture or Greek or Roman art, but
> both are a part of the curriculum at my new school.
> Feel free to email me off the list.
> Thank you!
> Sarah Kerns
> Quincy, MA
> ---
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