Andrea Palladio and other Renaissance architects marketed their ideas using a cutting-edge technology: the printing press. Now, in the same spirit, the Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America has launched an online guide to the fundamentals of classical architecture. Located at www.classicist.org/handbook, the website was created as a companion to the institute's book Classical Architecture: A Handbook of the Tradition for Today, which W.W. Norton will publish next fall.
The site currently offers PDF renderings of classical moldings and the five Greco-Roman orders, along with explanatory captions. According to the project's editor, Christine Franck, “Eventually, we'll have those pages available as DXF and DWG files for download” so that they can be imported directly into AutoCAD and other drafting programs.
Although the whole book won't be available online, the web component will grow to include pages on proportion, the classical interior, and traditional American house styles—all with an emphasis on practical application. “Mainline education has somewhat abandoned the classical tradition,” says the institute's president, Paul Gunther. “But until people reject traditional forms, you risk getting poor design. We're trying to address the marketplace.”