Intersecting Walls

Several things have combined to make me suspect that the key to understanding the design of Greek monumental buildings may be the nature of the module of design, and I am thinking that the module is the block length, rather than some measured length. For that reason, the following is important. It shows the ways walls may intersect, and of particular importance is the ways they intersect without seeming to interrupt the block pattern on the continuing wall. That is, the exterior of a Greek temple does not show the presence of a cross-wall even when such a cross-wall does exist. The intersection patterns shown here permit that observed fact, but only one form of the intersection also permits the block pattern on the cross-wall and the block pattern on the inside face of the continuing wall to remain constant as well. That is the intersection pattern that has the cross-wall strike the continuing wall on a joint, not in the middle of a block (far right on the left-hand drawings, far left on the right-hand drawings.

If, as I now suspect, the block length is the module, the one form of intersection should be the norm. Unfortunately, we cannot tell from simple observation whether that pattern is the one in use on any given, standing wall.

Here are the drawings that illustrate the wall intersection possibilities. Each is linked to a larger version if you are having trouble figuring out the coursing and connections with these small drawings.


These two drawings show four types of intersecting walls, on the right from the outside and on the left from the inside. Only the first course os each wall is shown. (Note that the positions are reversed because of the viewpoints.) The traditional corner - neither wall continues - is shown along with three types of joint with one wall continuing. Note that one example would never be used since it shows the two walls simply abutting, not interlocking in any way. I will not try to describe here the differences, but you should be able to see them if you look closely.


These two drawings show the same walls with one more course added only on one wall.


Now each wall has a second course, meaning in three of the examples that the primary wall can now be seen to be the one less affected by the complexity of the situation.


The third course has now been added to one of the walls in each pair.


Here the third course is complete for each wall.