Year of Palladio

The Two-Tiered Portico

In addition to the monumental portico, with its full height columns, Palladio is to be credited with popularizing the two-tiered portico _. In Book Two of _The Four Books, Palladio presented some eight designs for villas fronted by two-tiered porticoes, i.e. porticoes with two floors or levels of columns. Following ancient precedent, Palladio always employed superimposed orders in his two-level porticoes, which means placing a lighter order above a heavier order such as Corinthian over Ionic. The two-tiered portico saw use in this country well before the monumental portico and its two-story columns. With its two-tiered portico, Drayton Hall, erected in the 1740s near Charleston, South Carolina, is perhaps our earliest example of a house clearly illustrating characteristics of Palladianism _. Its design parallels Palladioís illustration in _The Four Books of the Villa Pisani at Montagnana, the garden front of which has a recessed two-tiered portico with three bays similar to that on Drayton Hall _. A later, more refined example of the two-tiered portico is the 1760s Miles Brewton house in Charleston, which is a reflection of the center section of Palladioís design for the entrance front of the Villa Cornaro _(Figure 18 and Figure 19).

Thomas Jefferson made use of two-tiered porticoes on the entrance and garden facades of the first version of his home, Monticello, begun in the late 1760s _. Jefferson was intent on having Monticello be a display of the correct use of classical orders, and employed Palladioís version of the Doric order on the lower level and his Ionic on the upper level of each portico. With its lower hipped-roof wings, Monticello was a reduced version of the entrance faÁade of the Villa Cornaro _(Figure 21). We might note here that Jefferson relied primarily on Giacomo Leoniís English edition of The Four Books, in which Leoni added numerous embellishments to Palladioís original designs. Jefferson later removed the two-tiered porticoes when he remodeled Monticello to appear as a domed, one-story house. This redesign was partly inspired by the Hotel de Salm, which Jefferson admired while residing in Paris _. The use of the two-tiered portico continued well after the colonial period; scores of examples can be found on houses from the Federal period into the mid-19th century, particularly throughout the South where both levels of the portico became popular sitting places in warm months. A handsome example is the 1790s Annfield in Virginia, with his portico highlighted by fashionable Chinese lattice railings _(Figure 24). Dating from 1815, Rosedale, in Charlotte, North Carolina, is an engaging provincial expression of a Palladian-influenced house with a two-tiered portico (Figure 25). Many traditional dwellings today are embellished with two-tiered porticoes, some more informed than others.

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The Portico | The Two-Tiered Portico | The Loggia

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