In architecture, intercolumniation is the spacing between columns in a colonnade, as measured at the bottom of their shafts. In classical, Renaissance, and Baroque architecture, intercolumniation was determined by a system devised by the first-century BC Roman architect Vitruvius. Vitruvius compiled standard intercolumniations for the three classical Greek orders, expressed in terms of the column diameter, twice the Vitruvian module, and he warned that when columns are placed three column-diameters or more apart, stone architraves break.
The standard intercolumniations are:
- One and a half diameters
- Two diameters
- Two and a quarter diameters (and three diameters between middle columns front and rear); considered by Vitruvius to be the best proportion
- Three diameters
- Four or more diameters, requiring a wooden architrave rather than one of stone
- Alternating araeostyle and systyle
- "Intercolumniation". The Columbia Encyclopedia, sixth edition. Columbia University Press. Retrieved 2007-06-03.
- "Intercolumniation". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved 2007-06-03.
- Vitruvius, De architectura iii.3.4
- "Intercolumniation". Webster's Dictionary, 1913. Retrieved 2007-06-03.
- Vitruvius, De architectura, iii.3.6.
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