A statement of purpose.
The Propylaea is the first (known) monumental Greek building of the classical period that is neither a rectangle nor a cylinder. It is not a temple but a complex gate building consisting of three distinct parts and two unfinished parts that would have made the total five. As a result, this structure, designed by the architect Mnesicles, provides a unique example of a Greek building. It has a known architect, a non-standard plan, a variety of unusual features, an extremely important location, and an equally important function or set of functions — all while operating with the standard vocabulary of its time and place: post-and-lintel construction with Doric and Ionic columns and capitals; both prostyle and in-antis colonnades; tiled, hipped roofs; and so on. All these things make this a building that should be able to tell us a great deal about how ancient buildings were designed. In fact, the CSA Propylaea Project existed to a great extent to learn, record, and disseminate enough information about the building to enable myself and other scholars to look deeply into this question of architectural planning in antiquity.
This blog and its companion web pages (see http://propylaea.org/architect) are intended to provide a venue for further exploration of questions and relevant information concerning the planning work of the ancient Greek architect. Please note that this blog and the companion web pages are intended to be essentially identical as to content but to provide two different ways of presenting the same information and eliciting comments. As a result, comments made here in standard blog fashion and emails sent in response to the companion web pages will be available in both venues.
You will note that there are currently three categories of posts; “General Planning Issues,” “Propylaea Matters,” and “Discussion.” The “General Planning Issues” section is intended to be the locus for discussions of information on planning based upon sources other than the Propylaea. The category “Propylaea Matters” will contain discussions of issues related to specific facts from the Propylaea. The “Discussion” category is to be the area for considerations of the architects’ actual work, with references to information and discussion in the other sections. It may not yet have any content.
Important: This blog represents art of an effort to explore ideas in a public forum. It should not be taken as a finished product and should not, as a result, be cited except with a cautionary note about the preliminary status of anything said here.
(Harrison Eiteljorg, II)