Classical Architecture

Classical Architecture

The Poetics of Order

By Alexander Tzonis and Liane Lefaivre





This fascinating introduction to classical art and architecture is the first book to investigate the way classical buildings are put together as formal structures. It researches the generative rules, the poetics of composition that classical architecture shares with classical music, poetry, and drama, and is enriched by a variety of examples and an extensive analysis of compositional rules. The 205 line drawings make up a discourse of their own, a pictorial text that serves as an introductory theory of composition or basic design aid.

Drawing from Vitruvius, the poetics of Aristotle, the theories of classical architecture, music, and poetry since the Renaissance, and the poetics of the Russian formalists, the authors present classical architecture as a coherent system of architectural thinking that is capable of producing a tragic humanistic discourse, a public art with critical, moral, and philosophical meaning.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262200592 320 pp. | 6 in x 9 in


$35.00 X ISBN: 9780262700313 320 pp. | 6 in x 9 in


  • Classical Architecture is surely the first work in English to attempt to assemble, classify, and demystify the ill-understood legacy of classical lore which is, in many respects, the very basis of architecture in the West.

    Kenneth Frampton

  • An essential work for anyone wrestling with the provocative questions of the validity of the classical tradition in Western architecture. This is a penetrating, superior, and original contribution to the recent literature.

    Helen Searing

    Alice Pratt Brown Professor of Art, Smith College