The classical starchitect
Understanding the influence of Andrea Palladio
Andrea Palladio (1508–1580) is largely considered the father of Western architecture. Strongly influenced by formal temple designs in Ancient Greece and Rome, he pioneered a revival of Classical symmetry and perspective, and with it created a universal architectural language. From his humble beginning as a stonemason’s apprentice, Palladio rose to become Chief Architect of the Republic of Venice, at the time the epicenter of European innovation. There, he designed the church of the Redentore and San Giorgio Maggiore on the landmark promontory between the Giudecca canal and the greater Venetian lagoon. In nearby Vicenza, Palladio built the world-famous Basilica, the Villa Rotonda, the Teatro Olimpico, and in the surrounding Veneto countryside numerous rural villas noted for their inclusion of local, vernacular architecture within a Classical scheme and the use of porticos to provide liminal spaces between the interior and exterior. Both the Palladian villas and the City of Vicenza are today both designated UNESCO World Heritage sites.