with Richard Economakis
February 7, 2023
Richard Economakis, a professor of architecture at the University of Notre Dame and a member of the ICAA's Board of Directors, continues his four-part video series A Survey of Classical Architecture. Following the first two entries in the series, which focus on the emergence of Western classical architecture in Ancient Greece and the continuation of those architectural expressions in Ancient Rome and the writings of Vitruvius, this third installment analyzes how the rediscovery of Vitruvius's works inspired a new period of architectural splendor known as the Italian Renaissance.
The session opens with an analysis of Alberti's De Re Aedificatoria (a.k.a. Ten Books on Building), starting with the organization of the treatise, his mural (as opposed to columnar) outlook, and treatment of the formal elements. The course continues with a discussion of Serlio's contributions, including his organization of the columnar types as a 'cast of characters', his description of architecture as dramatic play, and his approach to proportioning and articulating the classical elements. The lecture ends with descriptions of Vignola and Palladio's treatises, stressing their modular approach and refinements.
A Survey of Classical Architecture charts the development of classical architecture, from its emergence in Ancient Greece and Rome, to its rebirth in the Italian Renaissance, elaboration in the 17th and 18th centuries, and reaffirmation in modern times. The lectures look closely at influential architectural works and the contributions of the treatise writers, from the Roman author Vitruvius to Renaissance architects Alberti, Serlio, Vignola and Palladio. They proceed to an overview of the later treatises by architects Perrault, Chambers and Gibbs, and continue with the works of contemporary theorists Porphyrios, Tzonis and Lefaivre, Westfall, and others. The series concludes with a survey of exemplary classical works from the 20th and 21st centuries.
Richard Economakis is a Professor at the School of Architecture of the University of Notre Dame. He served as Director of Graduate Studies until 2022, when he was appointed Interim Associate Dean of Research, Scholarship, and Creative Work. He is also a member of the ICAA's Board of Directors. He received both undergraduate and
graduate degrees from Cornell University, and has worked in classical and traditional firms in
New York, New Haven, Athens, and London. While in London, he worked as an editor at
Academy Editions, where he produced monographs on the works of contemporary classical
architects, and the books Building Classical and Acropolis Restoration. This last edited book
was the first to fully document the restoration of the Acropolis monuments in Athens since work
began in 1975. He is the author of another book, Acropolis, which surveys the history and
architecture of the Periclean Monuments. His most recent edited book, Durability in
Construction, was selected as the July 2015 ‘Book of the Month’ by the Royal Institute of British
Architects. In the Spring of 2021, Prof. Economakis co-edited the inaugural issue of Notre
Dame’s journal ANTA, together with Michael Mesko.
Prof. Economakis has led summer programs for Notre Dame in Greece and Britain, and a
2006 ICAA tour of Ancient and Neoclassical Greece. He is currently engaged in research on the
origin of the forms of the Doric Order, the preliminary research for which was published in The
Classicist No. 12, in 2015. The work builds on ten seasons of experience as site architect in
archaeological excavations on the island of Crete, in Greece.
As principal of Richard Economakis Architectural Design, he has produced projects in
the US, Central America and Europe. Since 2007 he has realized a number of buildings for the
award-winning new town of Cayalá in Guatemala, in collaboration with the firm Estudio Urbano
of Guatemala City. His design for a Civic Hall at Cayalá received a 2013 Palladio Award. His
recent proposal for the construction of Refugee Villages in Greece and the Mediterranean
received the Award of Excellence from the International Making Cities Livable organization, in
The ICAA would like to thank our Lead Sponsor for Continuing Education courses: Uberto Construction.
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