Architecture for Kids

Andrea Palladio

Villa Malcontenta, Gambarare di Mira (Venice) 1560
Andrea Palladio, the most copied architect in the history of architecture, designed city palaces, country villas, and monumental buildings primarily in and around Vicenza (north of Venice) in the foothills of the alps. He believed that he was reviving Roman architecture; however, he was being completely original. He wrote a book, Quatro Libra díArchitecture, in which he explained his theories which finally reached England in the late 17th Century. Palladioís works greatly influenced Indigo Jones, Christopher Wren, Nicholas Hawksmoor, and James Gibbs whose works greatly influenced architects and builders in America including Charles Bullfinch of Boston who was the Architect of the U.S. Capital from 1817 to 1827.

Palladio believed that creation is ordered by mathematics. All of the Universe can be described through mathematics. Earth is the center of the Universe. Humans are in the center of this Universe. Spaces in which they live must be describable in mathematical proportions. Most notable characteristics of Palladioís work are classic temple fronts, symmetry (ABA or ABCBA, etc.), the use of pillars and pilasters, and the Palladian window.

Palladian influenced buildings in the Boston area include the Longfellow House (1760) on Brattle Street (Cambridge),  Christ Church (Cambridge), Kings Chapel (1749), all designed by Peter Harrison, Old State House (1711), Fanueil Hall (1723 and expanded by Bullfinch a generation later), the State Capital (Bullfinch, 1792), and the Athenaeum (1830ís, a copy of Palladioís Palazzi di Sepo Porto). Second generation plantations throughout the South are also highly influenced by Palladio, including Thomas Jefferson's Monticello.