My architectural element is column and I interpret it some different ways and relate them differently. A column is basically a long post made of steel, stone, etc., that is used as a support in a building. So, in architectural terms it is a load barring vertical element. But we can also interpret it as a 3D object which is stands longitudinally on one of its smallest area. By that interpretation, the megalith or monolith are one of the earliest examples of a column.
The columns are used in the ancient Egypt’s temple as an essential element which provide some kind of a transition area from outside and let the visitors to the inside. (the column halls) The columns were carved, painted to give further meaning; not only use it as a supporting element but also use it to create architecture with a meaning.
The Greek architecture is also made use of columns but actually, there are different approaches to columns due to their orders. Basically, they all constructed to be looked so they were designed to be beautiful. Human proportions are important here to scale a column. The three orders of Greek Architecture are Doric, Ionic and Corinthian. ( which also have different column styles) We can say that in their architecture, the perception of beauty is important so, they created different orders to create different and beautiful columns. They were concerned about proportion and beauty in harmony. Greek temples can be considered as a sculptural volumes, so the beauty of this sculpture only can be observed and experienced by the visitors. The aim of their architecture was to have a perfect vision in order to fix optical distortions; they placed columns on an inclined floor toward the inside, they re-arranged the distance between the columns and they constructed wider columns in the middle. Basically, the use of columns are designed to increase the perfection of visibility. In the terms of space, the columns created different fragmentations to serve a purpose. Additionally, the columns created an extra layer outside of a temple, (the locationing of columns in portico) which somehow create a transition area between outside and inside of the temple.
The Roman Architecture is also mostly concerned with beauty when it comes to columns, therefore the orders were decorating the beauty of a column. In roman temples there is one dominant façade faced the street, so the columns differentiated the main façade from the others. As monumental architecture, they decorated columns with relieves where they explained some important events of the civilization. The column conveyed a further meaning, not a spatial meaning, here.
The column is used through examples, as a supporting element (architecturally), as a free-standing object which occasionally convey further meaning, as a transition space which links the inner and the outer spaces. It has different form studies due to differet orders. It create a transparent wall, a fragmentation of a space.
Spiro Kostof: A history of Architecture