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portico


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Covered ambulatory consisting of a series of columns placed at regular intervals supporting a roof, normally attached as a colonnaded porch to a building, but sometimes forming a separate structure (e.g. James Stuart's Doric Temple at Hagley, Worcs. (1758) ). The volume so created can be open or partly enclosed at the sides, stand before a building such as a temple, and often have a pediment over the front, in which case it is described as a temple-front. A Classical portico can be defined with precision. The main types are:engaged:with the portico not standing in front of the building but with the ensemble of columns, entablature, and pediment embedded in the front wall, i.e. engaged;in antis:with the columns set in a line between the projecting walls enclosing the sides of the portico, i.e. between the antae (see anta) of the walls;prostyle:with the columns set in a line standing before and detached from the front wall of the building behind.In both in antis and prostyle porticoes the design is further defined by the number of columns visible on the front elevation: the commonest varieties are distyle (2, usually in antis); tristyle (3); tetrastyle (4); pentastyle (5); hexastyle (6); heptastyle (7); octastyle (8); enneastyle (9); decastyle (10); and dodecastyle (12). Even numbers of columns are usual to ensure a void on the central axis for the door. A portico with 4 columns standing in front of the main wall of the building behind it is prostyle tetrastyle, and if it has 2 set between the antae of flanking walls it is distyle in antis. See colonnade, intercolumniation.

engaged:with the portico not standing in front of the building but with the ensemble of columns, entablature, and pediment embedded in the front wall, i.e. engaged;

in antis:with the columns set in a line between the projecting walls enclosing the sides of the portico, i.e. between the antae (see anta) of the walls;

prostyle:with the columns set in a line standing before and detached from the front wall of the building behind.

J. Curl (1992)

portica. Column arrangements in temples, (left) Amphi-prostyle, or amphi tetra-prostyle, i.e. with four columns standing in front of and at each end of the cell. (middle Prostyle tetrastyle, or tetra-prostyle, i.e. with four columns standing in front of the cell. (right) Distyle in antis, i.e. with two columns standing in front of the cell set between the antae terminating the projecting cell walls. It is an arrangement found only in small temples, tombs, or shrines.

Subjects: Architecture.


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