Columns were originally wooden and one central column would be used for structural support in small buildings. The Egyptian and Assyrian civilizations used more sophisticated columns in stone whilst the Minoans used whole tree trunks, turned upside down to prevent regrowth, on a base, topped by a round capital and painted. They used columns to create large open plan spaces and also as a focal point for religious rituals.
Columns evolved in the ancient world within architectural orders developed by Greek civilization, these principal orders are:
Wider at the bottom with a simple capital, but no base.
Stand on a base and have a capital in the form of a double scroll.
Slimmer and taller, stand on a base and have a richly decorated capital, usually with sculpted flower and leaf decoration.
All three have vertical fluted carving.
The Romans introduced different columns –
No flutes and a simple base and capital.
Roman Doric –
Similar to Tuscan but with flutes.
With mixed elements of the previous styles.
With a twisted shaft.
Earlier civilizations had used columns in the most part for the purpose of holding up the roof inside a building, using the outside walls for decorations with reliefs or paintings. The Ancient Greeks and Romans, extended their use to the outside as well for decorative purposes. Buildings like the Parthenon are classical examples of this style of architecture.
The use of decorative mouldings as columns on modern buildings brings back these past glories to contemporary architecture. The finishing Touch have created a new lightweight range of mouldings, including columns, that add beauty and a link with the past in modern building design.