Against Gravity

Mark Wilson Jones

Considerations of Structure in the Reconstruction of Greek Architecture
The remains of buildings from the Archaic period and earlier are often exiguous, yet there is understandable pressure to reconstruct the original form of those of particular significance for architectural history. Such is the case for both the Toumba building at Lefkandi (ca. 950 BC) and the Temple of Artemis at Corfu (ca. 580 BC). The standard reconstructions of both, however, are not viable as structural / constructional solutions. The former cannot have been as monumental as thought, and may not have had a ‘verandah’ (or proto-peristyle). Meanwhile the Corfu temple was not as wide as thought; it probably had seven rather than eight columns across the front and a narrower span for its ‘pseudo-dipteral’ pteron. Demonstrating this by means of calculations familiar to engineers opens up two kinds of discussion, one about the role of such calculations in the reconstruction of ancient architecture, the other about the over-emphasis placed on the peristyle in the development of the Greek temple.