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OVA L DOME _Pantheon _Patron: Hadrian (A.D 117-138) _Period: Acient Rome (A.D 118-125) _Dedication: All the gods of pagan Rome


Probably one of the most fascinating features of the Pantheon is the Architecture. The structure of the Pantheon is comprised of a series of intersecting arches. The arches rest on eight piers which support eight round-headed arches which run through the drum from its inner to its outer face. The arches correspond to the eight bays on the floor level that house statues. The dome itself is supported by a series of arches that run horizontally round. Romans had perfected the use of arches which helped sustain the weight of their magnanimous buildings. The Romans were aware of the heavy nature of their building materials. So they used lighter materials toward the top of the dome. On the lowest level travertine, the heaviest material was used, then a mixture of travertine and tufa, then tufa and brick, then all brick was used around the drum section of the dome, and finally pumice, the lightest and most porous of materials on the ceiling of the dome. This use of lighter materials on top alleviated the immense weight of the dome. The Roman Pantheon was probably constructed by using an elaborate setup of wooden scaffolding, which in itself would have been costly. The elegant coffers on the dome were likely struck with a device that was exacted from floor level..Âś

Pantheon


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Lateral section of the Pantheon, Rome, Italy, 118-125CE


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pantheon Soon after Hadrian became emperor, work began on the Pantheon, the temple of all the gods, one of the best-preserved buildings of antiquity and most influential designs in architectural history. The Pantheon reveals the full potential of concrete, both as a building material and as a means for shaping architectural space. Originally, visitors approached the Pantheon from a columnar courtyard, and the temple itself, like temples in Roman forums, stood at one narrow end of the enclosure. Its facade of eight Corinthian columns—almost all that could be seen from ground level in antiquity—was a bow to tradition. Everything else about the Pantheon was revolutionary. Behind the columnar porch is an immense concrete cylinder covered by a huge hemispherical dome 142 feet in diameter. The dome’s top is also 142 feet from the floor. The design is thus based ont eh intersection of two circles (one horizontal, the other vertical) so that the interior space can be imagined as the orb of the earth adn the dome as the vault of the heavens. ¶ If the Pantheon’s design is simplicity itself, executing that design required all the ingenuity of Hadrian’s engineers. They built up the cylindrical drum level by level using concrete of varied composition. Extremely hard and durable basalt went into the mix for the foundations, and the builders gradually modified the “recipe” until, at the top, featherweight pumice replaced stones to lighten the load. The dome’s thickness also decreases as it nears the oculus, the circular opening 30 feet in diameter that is the only light source for the interior. The use of coffers (sunken decoratiove panels) lessened the dome’s weight without weakening its structure. The coffers further reduced the dome’s mass,also provided a handsome patterns of squares within the vast circles. Renaissance drawings suggest that each coffer once had a glistening gilded-bronze resette at its center, enhancing the symbolism of the dome as starry heavens.¶ The Pantheon’s traditional facade masked its revolutionary cylindrical drum and its huge hemispherical dome. The interior symbolized both the orb of the earch and the vault of the heavens.


Below the dome, much of the original marble veneer of the walls, niches, and floor has survived. In the Pantheon, visitors can get a sense, as almost nowhere else, of how magnificent the interiors of Roman concrete buildings could be. But despite the luxurious skin of the Pantheon's interior, the sense experienced on first entering the structure is not the weight of the enclosing walls but the space they enclose. In pre-Roman architecture, the form of the enclosed space was determined by the placement of the solids, which did not so much shape space as interrupt it. Roman architects were the first to conceive of architecture in terms of units of space that could be shaped by the enclosures. The Pantheon's interior is a single unified, self-sufficient whole, uninterrupted by supporting sol66:7

ids. It encloses visitors without imprisoning them. opening through the oculus to the drifting clouds, the blue sky, the sun, and the gods. In this space, the architect used light not merely to illuminate the darkness but to create drama and underscore the interior shape's symbolism. On a sunny day as the sun moves across the sky itself. Escaping from the noise and 220:5

torrid heat of a Roman summer day into the Pantheon's cool, calm, and mystical immensity is an experience alsmost impossible to describe and one that should

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not be missed.Âś


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