Ever since the Greek introduction of the three ancient orders of architecture – Doric, Iconic, and Corinthian – and their notable corresponding column styles, architects have found hundreds of ways to design this basic structural and visual element. The column is a design element that has endured through the ages due to its versatility.   Columns not only provide structural support, but with a little embellishment are a simple way to add great character and defining architectural style to a building.

Today, columns are designed and illustrated most prolifically on front porches and rear verandas to support structures that give us shelter from the elements. A column can be as simple as a wood post with decorative wraps to fit the architectural style, or a steel column with no additional detailing for a clean, contemporary expression.  Regardless of the material that is used, good column design relies on the right proportions.  Listed below are a few tips for successful column design.

  1. When designing a column with a base, it is important that the width of the column compliment the size of the base and vice versa.

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2. The height and width of a classical column needs to be designed in relationship to the architectural element it will support.

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3.  The spacing and design of the column needs to match and support the architecture.


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4. Avoid meaningless column supports. Just because it does the job, does not mean it is appropriate to the design.

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