Row of columns generally supporting an entablature, used either as an independent feature (e.g., a covered walkway) or as part of a building (e.g., a portico). The earliest colonnades appear in the temple architecture of ancient Greece. In a basilica, colonnades are used to separate the side aisles from the central space. Seealso stoa.
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In classical architecture, a colonnade denotes a long sequence of columns joined by their entablature, often free-standing, as in the famous elliptically curving colonnades that Bernini added to the façade of Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome, which embrace and define the Piazza. Compare the sequence of baluster forms that go to make a balustrade.
A colonnade of single columns is often termed a screen. When in front of a building, screening the door (Latin porta), it is called a portico, when enclosing an open court, a peristyle. A portico may be more than one rank of columns deep, as at the Pantheon in Rome or the stoae of Ancient Greece. Paired or multiple pairs of columns are normally employed in a colonnade, but the porch of columns that surrounds a peripteral Classical temple (such as the Lincoln Memorial) can be termed a colonnade. Since the largest number of columns across the front of a classical temple front is normally eight (constituting an octastyle temple), it might be argued that a colonnade must have more than eight pairs. Certainly the proportions of a colonnade require that it be more than twice as long as it is tall.
At the British Museum porticos are continued along the front as a colonnade. In American sports, there are several famous examples of colonnades, including: Harvard Stadium in Boston, whose entire horseshoe-shaped stadium is topped by one, the two twin sets on either side of Soldier Field in Chicago (although these are no longer visible from inside the stadium as of the 2004 renovations), and Memorial Stadium at the University of Illinois, which are located on the façade of the grandstands on either side of the field, and the University of Virginia's former American Football stadium Lambeth Field has colonnades that wrap around the top of the bleachers.