The Tower of the Winds

Tower of the Winds Reconstruction

Reconstruction of the Tower of the Winds, Athens
from J. Stuart & N. Revett, The Antiquities of Athens (1762)

Berwind Mausoleum

Berwind Mausoleum, sculptural frieze

The architect, Horace Trumbauer (1868-1938), was best known for designing homes for wealthy patrons of the Gilded Age, but he also designed the Philadelphia Art Museum, Free Library, and other classicizing monuments of the early twentieth century.  For the Berwinds Trumbauer produced a near-replica of the Tower of the Winds in Athens, an octagonal building in the Roman Agora.  Andronicus of Cyrrhus, a Hellenistic Greek astronomer who flourished around the turn of the second into the first centuries BCE. had designed an octagonal tower, twelve meters tall, with a weathervane on the top, sundials, and a clepsydra or water clock activated by a mechanism inside the tower.







Trumbauer imitated the dimensions and octagonal shape but not the timekeeping features of his model.  The male Greek wind gods became female figures with classical attributes—a wreath, a lamp, a lyre, a scroll, an urn, a balance, a laurel branch, a bunch of flowers—perhaps symbolizing mourning and eternal memory.

The Tower of the Winds