Year of Palladio

The Loggia

Palladio illustrated two villa designs fronted not with columned porticoes but rather with arcaded loggias _. The restrained but visually pleasing Villa Saraceno design demonstrated how the loggia, highlighted by a pediment, could give dignity to what is primarily a large but architecturally restrained farmhouse _(Figure 27). This architectural device also has the advantage of providing an inviting outdoor room. The idea of a central loggia was picked up by James Gibbs and incorporated into his design for a country house for ìa gentleman in Dorset,î and published in his highly influential A Book of Architecture _. This design served as the inspiration for Mount Airy, the 1740s Virginia plantation home of John Tayloe. The central feature of Tayloeís house is a rusticated arcaded loggia directly copied from the Gibbs design _(Figure 29). Tayloeís reliance on a published design for inspiration fulfilled Gibbsís stated intention for his book. In his introduction Gibbsí wrote:

ìThey were of the opinion that such a work as this would be of use to such Gentlemen as might be concerned with Building, especially in the remote parts of the Country, where little or no assistance with Designs can be procured.î

America was certainly the remotest part of the British world in the mid-18th century and architects were certainly few and far between here. Hence, a pattern book such as Gibbsís A Book of Architecture was of great value to those colonials seeking literate, fashionable designs. It was mainly through Gibbs that the British version of the Palladian mode was introduced to this country. Mount Airy, albeit in smaller scale than most of its British country house counterparts, remains one of our purest expressions of 18th-century Anglo-Palladianism. Although rarely seen on other colonial works, the loggia incorporated into a portico was a popular device for 20th-century architects.

Figure 26
Figure 26
Figure 27
Figure 27
Figure 28
Figure 28
Figure 29
Figure 29

The Two-Tiered Portico | The Loggia | The Five-Part House

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