Comparison and Contrast: Villa Rotonda and Chiswick HouseAt a first glance, it becomes evident that Andrea Palladio’s architectural style revolutionized the way buildings were constructed in the early 18th century England. Consequently, Chiswick House can be regarded as a reinterpretation of Palladio’s work, yet purified of the excessively adorned Baroque style of Palladio’s original works. Hence, the Neo-Palladian Chiswick House can be regarded as a reinterpretation of Villa Rotonda, yet stripped to the essential elements of the classic Roman architecture, adding the Venetian twist of the Byzantine domes and windows.
Therefore, on one hand we have Villa Rotonda, a villa designed to dominate the surrounding territories and built on top of a hill to achieve the maximum amount of sight over the terrain. On the other, Chiswick Village, a much more quiet building that relies more heavily on the classic Roman style, yet faithfully reinterprets Palladio’s vision in an English setting. Thus, finding cultural links between both architects and patrons would be rather far-fetched. Instead, if we regard Chiswick House as a reinterpretation and homage to the Italian Renaissance, more similarities could be found.
Consequently, when comparing both buildings’ plans, several similarities appear. For instance, the front façade of the buildings are built according to the Roman villa style, with a series of porticos and a dome on top, although the dome was a later invention of Byzantine influence. Moreover, each porch is supported by a single window. However, Chiswick House favors square windows, while La Rotonda has rounded windows and fewer columns. Likewise, both buildings are oriented in a way that each part of them receive at least a degree of sunlight during the day, allowing them to save in illumination and showcase their ornaments.
Ultimately, both buildings share many stylistic traits, which is entirely reasonable under the Palladian influence, ranging from the floor plans to the porticos and sun orientation. However, the sobriety of the English style finally overcame the Italian influences, adding a layer of formality to the interior décor and planning.
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