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The Institute Series of Architectural Books

Parallel of the Classical Orders of Architecture (OUT OF PRINT)

by Johann Matthaus von Mauch and Charles Pierre Joseph Normand.
Edited, compiled, and with an introduction by Donald M. Rattner

Institute Series of Architectural Books In 1998, the Institute for the Study of Classical Architecture (ISCA) published a new edition of the Parallel of the Classical Orders of Architecture, by Johann Matthaus von Mauch and Charles Pierre Joseph Normand. This is the first volume in a series of architecture books published in collaboration with Acanthus Press.

The parallel is a convention of architectural representation developed in the literature of classical architecture. Its earliest complete appearance occurs in Book IV of Sebastiano Serlio’s treatise Architettura, in which the author presents the five canonical orders on a single plate and in a proportional progression from left to right. The idea of graphically comparing the different species of orders was expanded by later writers to form the subject of entire volumes. Among the best known of these books are Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola’s Regola delli Cinque Ordini d’Architettura (Rome, 1562) and Roland Fréart de Chambray’s A Parallel of the Ancient Architecture with the Modern (London, 1664).

In 1819, Charles Pierre Joseph Normand published a new parallel featuring sixty-four plates drawn in an exquisite linear technique. Like Fréart’s book, these plates show many of the most celebrated specimens of columnar design from antiquity, as well as compositions by such Renaissance masters as Vignola, Palladio, and Scamozzi. Extremely popular, Normand’s version went through several editions and was translated into English and German within a few years of its original publication. The translator of the German version, Johann Matthaus von Mauch, later brought out his own expanded edition of Normand’s parallel, now enlarged to one hundred plates. Many of the new plates delineated by Mauch are examples of orders discovered in recent archaeological excavations of ancient Greek buildings.

Both versions of the book were published well into the twentieth century, but eventually went out of print as interest in the classical tradition waned. With the rise of a new generation of classical architects, interior designers, builders, and patrons, the demand for such a rich repository of information pertaining to the fundamental unit of classical design makes it imperative that this book be available to practitioners and students once again.

The Institute version of the Parallel features a suite of one hundred plates selected from the best of the earlier editions of Normand and Mauch. The book also contains a new introduction discussing the critical role the orders play in the design and interpretation of classical architecture, the change in attitude over the centuries toward the use of the orders in design, and how the classical vocabulary can be revitalized by architects and designers working in a traditional manner today. A portfolio of built projects by several leading and emerging firms demonstrates how this goal has already begun to be achieved.

Still the finest collection of plates on the orders ever devised, the Parallel of the Classical Orders of Architecture is an important addition to the library of any student, educator, patron, or design professional with a serious interest in the classical tradition.

The volume is hard-bound, 9 by 12 inches, with 272 pages, 38 illustrations, and 100 plates. ISBN 0-926494-11-2. Inquiries should be conveyed directly to Acanthus Press.