Retention of Classical Architecture


Classical Architecture in Lahore refers to the ancient times of the Greeks and Romans; the exact time or place, where it begins. Architect Design in Lahore or Art or anything has its particular language so this term of architecture has a particular architectural language and philosophy. It has been revived from time to time with different aspects, traditions, and methods but the root(base) was the same; a tree, a big creature: produced from a little seed and it contains the characteristics of that seed, although it is true conditions affect but it does not change altogether. Construction and design methods have been changing from the day of the beginning but it is not a change from head to toe, it is an evolutionary change and if we look at it today then we can find the roots of it in classics.

Greeks used strong mathematical proportions and identical symmetry in their religious and public buildings, Romans did the same but they added ornamentation.

Characteristics of Classical Architecture:

Greeks used marble and stone structures and they followed symmetry and proportion in their building designs. They followed specific style orders like Doric: columns without base and very little decoration, a horizontal space over the columns with decoration, Ionic: A building with taller and narrower columns with a round base around the columns and a little orientation on the top of the columns, and Corinthian: They feature ornamentations or carvings of natural elements and they also have ornated bell-shaped tops.

Romans invented concrete which was easier to apply for building construction rather than stone, and with this invention, they became successful in building arches, domes, and curved spaces. Romans adopted more of their building sense and design orders from the Greeks but they not only revived the Greek methods but also brought newness to them. They added two of their styles Tuscan: which uses a simple and plain column style with little ornamentation, and Composite: the combination of Ionic and Corinthian decorations. A famous Roman Architect Vitruvius said that the architecture of a building should consist of three elements:

Strength, Utility, and Beauty. That school adopted those principles and created marvelous buildings. Exclusively, their temples are famous examples of Classical Architecture.

Classical Aesthetics:

 Aesthetics is a broader term to express; a sublime sense of beauty covering almost every ideal. Architectural aesthetics is a term that is used for decorating buildings. Greeks used sculptures to decorate their temples but they mostly focused on grandeur, on the other hand, Romans constructed grand spaces but they also had an urge for beauty. They took the Architectural aesthetics to the top, they used ornated columns, sculptures, arches, domes, triangular carved or decorated facades, and vaulted ceilings in their buildings. Their temples were the disposition of sublimity.

The stream of classics of Greeks and Romans collided with the Western world. The source of the cultural civilization and architectural civilization of the westerns is Greek and Roman civilization. Europe accepted the more effect of Roman civilization than the others. Europeans mixed both Greek and Roman architectural scopes but we see the Roman design and aesthetic aspect more prominent. Orthodox-Roman Christian Churches are still present in England, France, and Germany reminding the classical Roman Architecture.

As we know the history that the Roman Empire was converted into Christianity then their architectural styles were also changed. Some prominent periods regarding the Retention of Classical Architecture in Lahorte are the following:

Byzantine Period:

The old Constantinople or Byzantine Architecture became very famous and illuminated throughout the Christian world. Central- Planned, polygon-shaped structures were constructed. Engraved vaults and floors made of stones were used. Regular & irregular patterns combining colored stones, glass, and ceramics were made in the buildings and domed roofs were the spectacular feature of this mode of architecture in Lahore.

Romanesque Period:

 The revival of Roman Architecture; as the arches were the specialty of this mode, in the Medieval Romanesque Period semi-circled arches were introduced. These arches were made for doors, windows, and arcades, and pier supports were included to support the high-rise arches or superstructures. Thicker walls for support and to bear the load of the building were introduced and high spires and towers were instigated in the churches.

Gothic Period:

New construction methods and materials were used in this period that allowed tall buildings and advanced styles. The pioneered construction method was buttress, this was introduced to give support to the high ceilings and high-walled structures. Crossed intercepted vaults, semi-A-shaped pointed arches, stained glass windows, and sculptures featured in this mode of architecture.

Italian Renaissance:

Classical Architecture was revived in Italy and classical foundational principles were rediscovered. Before this period only temples or churches were decoratively designed but Italian Architects in Lahore spread these techniques to public buildings and residential.

Baroque and Rococo Period:

 It features excessive styling and irregular architectural shapes, grandeur, and dramatic light designs to enrich the sensuality feelings. Opaque-painted ceilings and flamboyant colors were applied. Extravagant embellishments and decors were the jewels of this art.  In the late period, this style was named ‘Rococo’.

Neoclassical Period:

In the 19th -century old classical design intellectualities were revived and older mathematical concepts were used. The 19th Century was a boaster to almost every field of life; the most prominent was the scientific revolution. After the scientific revolution, the whole world was changed. The Greek classical majors; Doric and dramatic use of columns derived again.


After the scientific revolution, the way of living of the people was changed, and infrastructure was developed because of the need for industrialization. The cities were growing and turning into big cities and towns were turning into cities. People got to know the term ‘Metropolis’. It tried to overcome the aesthetics by emerging the utility. Livings were changed because the flood of modernity was so aggressive. The beautiful minds were changed into mechanical instruments and buried under so many curtains of modernity; it is also true that the value of things got increased many times but the Classical sense of beauty revived again and retained somewhere in the cycle of time, only we could not see it. It is also true that Classical Architecture cannot be attempted completely now but our Modern and Contemporary Architecture has been rooted in Classical Architecture in Lahore. We cannot say surely, what the coming time will bring but one can see a glimpse of a classic beauty in the surroundings.