Round Column Style – Entasis Column vs. Straight Tapered Column

What is the difference between an entasis column and a straight tapered column?

A straight tapered round column has a straight line between the bottom (larger) diameter and the top (smaller) diameter.  This results in an unattractive look because it creates the illusion that the sides of the column are concave (rounded inward).  A better, more architecturally correct way to taper a round column is to give it an architectural entasis.  This means the bottom portion (about 1/3 of the shaft height) is straight, then it begins tapering gradually.  The taper becomes steeper as you go up, giving the sidewall a slight convex curve.  The result is a much more beautiful installation.  Take a look at the following comparison.  Once you recognize the difference, you’ll never look at round columns the same again!  A straight taper will forever look “cheap”, while an architectural entasis will look authentic and beautiful.

Column Taper Style ComparisionThe authenticity and beauty of the architectural entasis is no recent discovery. This design has a long origin and rich presence throughout history with its first use thought to be by the Greeks around 490s B.C, as stated in “The Origins of Entasis: Illusion, Aesthetics or Engineering?”. The presence of entasis can be viewed in many Greek temples throughout the course of history, with one of the most famous being the Parthenon

While straight tapered columns seem to lack a certain luster, the thoughts, ideas, and creativity for designing entasis can be linked directly to you. According to “The Origins of Entasis: Illusion, Aesthetics or Engineering?”, a Roman engineer and several authors have found associations with the development of entasis and the human body, wanting the architecture to defy an inanimate nature and feel living. Talk about having a column look and feel like a part of your home!   

Columns with an architectural entasis emanate strength, timeless beauty, and provide a direct link to the past.  While a straight taper will forever look “cheap”, an architectural entasis is authentic, beautiful, and makes your columns come alive.