Architectural columns have provided structural stability for thousands of years. Today, they remain a classic symbol of ancient times, while often including the unique flavor of modern design.
An architectural column is a cylinder that works to distribute the weight of the structure that it supports, such as the ceiling of a building, porch, etc. Columns are either constructed of a solid piece of material, or composed of several parts. Classic architectural columns consist of a base at the bottom, the main shaft component, and the capital, which joins the top of the column with the supported structure.
The earliest columns of record were crafted in Egypt. Many Egyptian columns crafted in 2600 BC were very large in size, narrowly spaced, and carved to resemble bundled reeds. Architectural columns became more than a simple structural element, gaining aesthetic and artistic value. Later columns located in Persia possessed elaborately carved capitals, decorated with bulls and animal figures. The Roman style column is among the most popular. The Roman columns were derived from classic Greek designs.
Columns were often combined with arches and beams, creating a fluid sense of harmony. During Medieval times, the flowing vines, leaves and foliate mask of the "green man" face design attached to the capital of a column became popular in churches.