In the last post of the "Get It Right" series, Architectural Design Supply discussed the importance of proper proportion and placement of architectural elements. We also displayed a drawing of one of the common mistakes made when positioning columns under a beam. It would be worthwhile to refer back to that drawing when analyzing the photographs in this post. Here we will look at a few photographic examples of correct and incorrect column placement.
Lets start with some basic terminology. In Geometry, we know that a column is round in cross-section and cylindrical in shape. A column is not square. This may seem elementary; however, mislabeling is a common mistake. The correct term for a square column is "pier". Further, a plain pier should be called a "post" as in "post and beam" joinery. The terms "post" and "pier" frequently are used interchangeably but these terms should not be applied to "columns". After reading the ADS "Get It Right" series , you will know about the proper placement, layout, and proportion of particular architectural elements along with their correct terminology.
Above is the historic Drish House currently scheduled for renovation in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. This home reflects a Tuscan influence on one side, an Ionic on the other, and an Italianate tower added in the late antebellum period. Compromises to classic proportions were made in order for the styles to work together. For our purposes we will focus on column placement.
This example shows that the correct placement and proportion of columns can have a dramatic and stabilizing visual effect. The column shafts on the front right side of the picture line up with the beam and frieze above. The top diameter of the column shaft is the same width as the beam above. Capitals extend outward rather than under the beam. Drish House exemplifies visual balance. Fully restored, this building is going to be a jewel for beautiful Tuscaloosa.
If the capitals and columns were to extend further outward beyond the beam and frieze, everything above the column would appear light. If, however, the capital is under the beam, everything above the column would appear heavy. This shows the importance in lining up the outside edge of the column shaft with the outside edge of the frieze board, or beam above, to achieve visual balance.
It is important to note, a porch should be in correct proportion to its columns. If columns are tapered and are larger in diameter at the bottom, the porch must be larger in dimension to accommodate the larger column bases. Many builders make the simple mistake of building the framing above to the same dimensions as the porch below. When the time comes to set the columns there is not adequate space to set them properly under the beam.
Scroll through the pictures below. Can you identify whether the columns, piers, or posts are set correctly? Can you find the "Oops" moment for a capital layout in the first picture below? Let us know if you can "Get It Right".
Next in the series Architectural Design Supply will address the fundamental differences between columns, posts and piers. We'll also address how to combine these elements properly and review common errors with layout.
Visit our website: adsupplyonline.com. To read further about the Drish house visit: http://www.historictuscaloosa.org/index.php?page=drish-house or http://www.forgottensoutheast.com/locations/drish/drish.php