Zhixing Wanwan Fei

MArch I

Adopt the Moldings Like No Other

Advised by Jennifer Bonner

Moldings have been an architectural element since the prehistory. 

The Greeks were the first to recognize, in their temples, the special value possessed by moldings, which, occupying an intermediate position between the ornamental sculptures and the simple architectural lines of the main structure, gave a richly decorative effect to the latter without interfering with the beauty of the former. Then the Romans simplified the Greeks’ shapes, enriched the moldings vocabulary, and built plenty of precedents for classical architecture studies. 

Fifteen hundred years later, Palladio and other Renaissance architects theorized, categorized, and documented the classical moldings, educating anyone who yearns for Classicism the principles to reproduce it. Yet now, five hundred years after the Palladios, with abundant knowledge about moldings and intelligent machines at our fingertips, architects still apply moldings in the same manner as the ancestors did centuries back.  

Lumber strips of various profiles contour the frames of revolving doors and double-pane windows; antique-looking cymatium and astragal garnish the entrances of concrete and steel high-rises. The juxtaposition of the unchanged usage of moldings and modern technology has become a mockery of the 21st-century architects: Is there no other way to decorate a building besides copying and pasting the past? 

This thesis probes how to adopt classical moldings in contemporary domestic architecture. 

Drawing of figure in fifteen shaped spaces