Greek culture has had a tremendous impact on the world since the reign of Alexander the Great. Greek architecture is one of the ways in which we still enjoy and emulate the Greek legacy.

Doric, circa 800-500 B.C.

Low angle view of doric columns on exterior of building

The first definitive phase of ancient Greek architecture is the Doric order, which features a powerful, no-frills style and few ornaments. The Parthenon is our most famous example of this period. The Doric style was popular in the architecture of the 19th century.

Ionic, circa 500-300 B.C.

Neo-classical architecture

Ionic architecture has more florid forms than the Doric, and the columns have styled capitals (the top or crown). Ionic architecture is commonly used in cultural centers such as museums, and provides a good midpoint between the formidable Doric and lavish Corinthian styles.

Corinthian, circa 300-100 B.C.E.

corinthian capitals head columns that rise to a blue sky

The Corinthian style is the most ornamented of the Greek architectural styles. Buildings that seek to express a timeless and cross-cultural theme often use the Corinthian style because it represents peace and the arts.


Pediment of United States Supreme Court Building, Washington, DC

Greek architectural style represents order, beauty and democracy. It also suggests agelessness, since the Greek style has lasted through millennia and still inspires awe and appreciation through its huge stone columns, stoic beauty and fine craftsmanship.


National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, USA

Because Western government and arts use foundational principles from Greek culture, museums, courthouses, libraries, government buildings and monuments use Greek architectural style. Notable ways in which we still use Greek style include columns, friezes (sections above the columns) and decorative elements. The Lincoln Memorial, patterned after Doric architecture, is one famous example of Greek architectural style today.