Designing a Palladian House

Posted on December 30, 2015 · Posted in Architecture, Historic Buildings, Planning Permissions, Uncategorized



House architect 4D Studio is currently designing a Palladian style mansion in Surrey. Palladio designed grand houses for rural Italian estates. They needed some outbuildings, for stores, workshops or for living quarters for estate workers ,and Palladio would situate two dependent buildings on either side of the main house, at an equal distance. These two buildings would then be connected to the main house with a colonnaded walkway, or a long, low building.

It was this layout that is, perhaps, the most original of Palladio’s ideas, and the feature that most readily marks a Palladian house. This layout is found in the second of his books, the book dealing with villas of his own design. Where the site precluded the creation of buildings either side of the main house a non symetrical layout might be adopted with the outer buildings on one side only. It is this approach that house architect 4D Studio has adopted.

In the illustration above of the Queens House at Greenwich  you can see  the colonnade linking with the outer buildings. In our concept model below you can see our house design for the main house is linked to an orangery on one side only.

In a Palladian house the layout of rooms is symmetrical about an axis running from the front to the back. This is common to most neoclassical houses.

Palladio designed his rooms to have certain proportions. While some were square, many rectangular rooms were built around the proportions of 6 and 10. These two numbers are supposed to define the proportions of the human body, and are therefore supposed to be proportions that are most pleasing to people.

So a room that is 12 feet by 20 feet is more pleasing than one that is 11 feet by 20 feet. The measurements are not critical, since that will differ based on the units used. It is the ratio of width to length (and presumably height) that is critical. This adherence to certain proportions for the footprint of the room is one principle most of his adherents ignored when designing Palladian houses.