Greek Architecture Lesson For Kids: Facts, Influences & Examples

Instructor: Mary Beth Burns

Mary Beth has taught 1st, 4th and 5th grade and has a specialist degree in Educational Leadership. She is currently an assistant principal.

Greek architecture is one of the most iconic forms of architecture in the history of the world. Come and learn what architecture is, some characteristics of Greek architecture and some buildings that Greek architecture has influenced.

What is Architecture?

Think about all of the different buildings that you see in your life. Some are brick houses, while others are concrete office buildings. Some are wooden ranches, while others are tall skyscrapers. No matter what kind of building it is, someone took the time to design and build it. This is known as architecture. Depending on where you live in the world, the architecture might look different than it does in other countries. Architecture changes over time, as well. Greek architecture began during ancient Greek times and is one of the most iconic types of architecture of all time.

Characteristics of Greek Architecture

How can you tell whether a building is Greek or not? Well, there are definitely some characteristics that make Greek architecture stand out from the rest. One of the most defining traits of Greek architecture are the columns, which are large cylinder shaped posts. Now, it wasn't acceptable to just build any old column. In fact, there were special rules surrounding what the column should look like and how it should be built. These rules are known as orders.

There were three main orders: the Doric (the most simple), the Ionic (more decorative) and the Corinthian (the most decorative and elaborate). Each order pays attention to the harmony, symmetry and attractiveness of the column. Order and logic can be seen in other parts of Greek architecture, like the roof, ceiling and overall design. This was a great strategy that resulted in sturdy buildings; many of them are still standing today.

Examples of some of the Greek orders
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One of the easiest ways to identify a Greek house is by the simplicity in its design. The houses were typically white stone with flat roofs and a courtyard in the center. Greek architecture wasn't just the design and building of houses. There were many types of buildings within Greek architecture, such as the temples. A temple was a place where people could go and worship the gods. There was a lot of thought and purpose behind the design of these temples. Before this, most temples were made with mud and clay or wood, but the Greek temples were made of stone. The Parthenon, built between 447 and 432 BCE, is one of the most famous Greek temples and uses Doric columns.

A group of homes in Santorini, Greece
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