I started my career in the office Allan Greenberg, an architect who practised "canonical classicism" in New Haven, Connecticut. When I was there, I routinely constructed architectural columns on paper with the "correct" proportion informed by Renaissance treatises, using compasses and French curves. Back then, we would often discuss how to modify the entasis of a column, or how to exaggerate entablatures to express masculinity in buildings. It was in 1987 at Greenberg's studio where I first realized that a rule-based Classical form was plastic, able to combine beauty and utility, albeit through skilful manipulation. Classical practice helped me to reconcile the dichotomy between a Modernist idiom that was process-driven and a classicism that was rule-based. This plasticity of form, underpinned by an underlying structure and language, holds true to our design process today.
At SCDA, a clear and concise design vocabulary allows us to design for ephemeral qualities like serenity and beauty. Vitruvius, the Roman architect, first posited architecture as a combination of "durability, utility and beauty" under which order was the unifying framework. Far from an implied rigidity, the repetition and procession of order helps us to attain a phenomenological outcome where light enters and animates a room. In a phenomenological space that oscillates between harmony and tension, materiality, structure and proportion combine to effect a reverberation of the senses.
This article examines the categorical roles that order plays SCDA's approach to architectural design - as Organization, as Clarity, as Repetition, as Procession and as Transition. These are foundational components of classicism that we have distilled and incorporated into our design vocabulary.