Architecture of Classical Interior

By Professor Steven Semes

The Architecture of Classical Interior (W. W. Norton & Company), by Prof. Steven Semes, is a unique study of the formal and compositional—as well as pragmatic and constructional—issues arising in the design and appreciation of interior architecture in the classical tradition. While the literature of classical architecture is rich in reflections about the design of building exteriors, there has been little attention to issues specific to the design of interior rooms. The book describes the design of classical rooms according to 10 principles: space, structure, the orders, elements, composition, proportion, ornament, decoration, light and color, and character. Chapters on each of these principles are followed by chapters reviewing individual elements, such as ceilings, wall treatments, doors and windows, fireplaces, stairs, and millwork. Illustrations are drawn from rooms spanning the entire classical tradition, from ancient Rome to the present, and representing a wide range of types, including public spaces, churches, institutional, and residential interiors. The book is addressed to readers who wish to understand historic interiors more fully, those who are involved in the preservation or restoration of classical interiors, and, most importantly, those wishing to design new classical rooms today.