Karim Snoussi Christoph Korner Roman Research Paper

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The architects are not simply referencing a general Neoclassical style but evoking specific elements of Roman architectural style that suggested wealth and success.

The Los Angeles Stock Exchange on Spring St. (which no longer houses the stock exchange) includes the neoclassical elements of symmetry and alternating bands of vertical and horizontal elements. It also features three bas-relief panels carved into the granite over the central entrance that reflect Roman and Greek styles of decoration on public buildings. These bas-reliefs, like the carvings on the Continental Building are meant to summon up a certain kind of wealth and triumph, in this case the capitalist economy. Buildings in the Classical world would not have had to be so direct in broadcasting their function and stature. But the architects of this neoclassical building understood that a 20th-century clientele needed more explicit cues (Hickey). Classical buildings shared a common vocabulary that had been lost by the 20th century, and so designers had to give more clues as to the nature of their work. Thus the Neoclassical architects in Los Angeles used explicit cues to the city's citizens, making their buildings evoke the might of Classical empires with friezes showing workers creating the wealth of the last of the American frontiers.

The streets of Los Angeles allow a careful observer the chance to dabble in time travel -- or at least something close to it. Scores of
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buildings reproduce, or at least reference, both Classical and Neoclassical architectural details. Often these details are easily identifiable even to an observer with no formal training in architecture, for it is impossible to see the colonnaded fronts of buildings and not think of Rome and Greece. In other cases the architectural references to past empires are more subtle, taking the form of the suggestion of a frieze or simply in the overall proportion of a building that incorporates Roman or Greek dimensions. One of the most fascinating aspects of studying Classical influence on buildings in Los Angeles is that in most cases the influences have arrived via the 18th century, reflecting not the original source but Neoclassical interpretations of Classical buildings. The numerous classically inclined buildings in downtown Los Angeles, dating from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, could thus be called neo-Neoclassicism. The fact that the original Roman and Greek architectural forms still shine through so clearly demonstrate their continuing aesthetic and cultural force.

Works Cited

Brain, David. Discipline and style. Theory and society 18: 807-868, 1989.

Carlihan, Jean Paul. The Ecole des Beaux-Arts: Modes and Manners. New York: Association

of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, 1979.

Christ, Karl. The Romans. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984.

Gournay, Isabelle. Revisiting Jacques Greber's L'Architecture aux Etats-Unis: from City Beautiful to Cite-Jardin, Vol. 29, 2001.

Hickey, Dave. Buying the world. Daedalus 131, 2002.

Kleiner, Fred S. A History of Roman Art. Los Angeles: Thompson Wadsworth, 2007.

Lemaistre, Isabelle. Beau Comme L'antique, Vrai Comme la Nature. Nineteenth-century…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Brain, David. Discipline and style. Theory and society 18: 807-868, 1989.

Carlihan, Jean Paul. The Ecole des Beaux-Arts: Modes and Manners. New York: Association

of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, 1979.

Christ, Karl. The Romans. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984.

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