Americans’ love affair with neoclassical architecture has a long and storied history. Thomas Jefferson, an avid student of architecture, was asked to design a new Capitol building for his home state of Virginia while serving as minister to France. He modeled it after a Roman temple he had visited, complete with six Ionic columns supporting a pediment and forming a portico across its front. It was designed to be a temple of government, so what better model than an actual temple? When Washington D.C. was built on the Potomac River, the neoclassical revolution was born. The U.S. Capitol Building, the White House, the Supreme Court and countless other buildings in Washington D.C. are excellent examples of neoclassical architecture.
The style spread throughout North America, particularly at institutions of higher learning, again thanks largely to Thomas Jefferson. His design of the University of Virginia, both architecturally and academically, set the standard for colleges and universities in both the United States and Canada. While older schools—like the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia—were primarily built in the Georgian style—after UVA, nearly every campus had to have a neoclassical building at its heart.
In the past, columns were carved from solid stone and were used for structural support. Today, while it is still possible to spend thousands on custom-carved stone columns, columns are more often a decorative shell installed around wooden or metal posts that do the heavy structural work. These may be made from a variety of materials. The lightest material, and also the easiest to maintain, is a composite column composed of expanded polystyrene core reinforced with fiberglass, and coated with cement. This means that the classic beauty that columns offer can be yours at a very affordable price, and they will still look and feel like “the real thing.” Columns like this are usually sold in halves, making them very easy to wrap around existing columns.
Columns can be smooth or fluted, and they are available in a variety of diameters. Wider columns give a strong, solid look. Narrower columns look quite graceful. It is important to choose a width that looks like it really could be supporting the structure, so it would be best to select a wider column for a very tall application. Columns can be used in series to form a front or back porch that runs the entire length of your home, or you may only need one to support the one unattached corner of the porch tucked into an L-shaped building. Some homeowners may want to use paired columns to set off a formal entry, or a grouping of three forming a corner. Using a half column on the face of a building can be a creative way to add texture and polish to a home, echoing the full columns that form the front porch.
Whether your home is a neo-classical design, an ante-bellum beauty like Tara, or a more contemporary style, the right column choice can add grace, beauty, and charm. You can easily buy columns at: http://www.decoramould.com/columns