From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Palladian architecture is a European style of architecture derived from the designs of the Italian architect Andrea Palladio (1508–1580). The term "Palladian" normally refers to buildings in a style inspired by Palladio's own work; that which is recognised as Palladian architecture today is an evolution of Palladio's original concepts. This evolution of Palladianism as a style began in the 17th century and continued to develop until the end of the 18th century.
Palladianism became popular briefly in Britain during the mid-17th century. In the early 18th century it returned to fashion, in not only England but many northern European countries. Later when the style was falling from favour in Europe, it had a surge in popularity in North America, most notably in the buildings designed by Thomas Jefferson. To understand Palladian architecture as it later evolved, one must first understand the architecture of Palladio himself.
Palladian motifs, particularly the Palladian window, made a comeback during the postmodern era. The architect Philip Johnson frequently used it as a doorway, as in his designs for the University of Houston School of Architecture building (1985), 500 Boylston Street (1989), Boston, Massachusetts and the Museum of Television and Radio building (1991), New York City. When asked about it, Johnson replied, "I think Palladian windows have a rather prettier shape. I wasn't trying to make any more important point than that." I.M. Pei was to use the design for the main entrance of his 1985 Bank of China building in Hong Kong.