Friday, April 18, 2008
Paper Pantheon: a model of Rome's best extant building from the Empire
Built around 100 AD.
Emperor Marcus Agrippa's name is on the pediment (triangle-shaped roof support above the columns). Probably rebuilt by Emperor Hadrian.
Columns of Egyptian granite.
Building's rotunda and dome made of brick and concrete. The thickness of the dome varies from 6.4 metres (21 ft) at the base of the dome to 1.2 metres (4 ft) around the oculus.
Only one window: the oculus ("eye"), a circular opening in the very top.
Interior has columns, niches for statues, magnificent stone and tile work.
The interior of the dome is patterned by simple, rectangular coffers (rectangles with inset panels). Once they were probably decorated with rosettes.
"As the sun moves, striking patterns of light illuminate the walls and floors of porphyry, granite and yellow marbles," says greatbuildings.com.
Wikipedia says, "It is the best preserved of all Roman buildings, and perhaps the best preserved building of its age in the world. It has been in continuous use throughout its history."
And, "Since the 7th century, the Pantheon has been used as a Christian church."
It is known from Roman sources that their concrete is made up of a pasty hydrate of lime, with pozzolanic ash (Latin pulvis puteolanum) and lightweight pumice from a nearby volcano, and fist-sized pieces of rock. In this, it is very similar to modern concrete. The high tensile strength appears to come from the way the concrete was applied in very small amounts and then was tamped down after every application to remove excess water and trapped air bubbles. This appears to have increased its strength enormously, says Wikipedia.
As the best-preserved example of an Ancient Roman monumental building, the Pantheon has been enormously influential in Western Architecture from at least the Renaissance on; starting with Brunelleschi's 42-meter dome of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, completed in 1436. The style of the Pantheon can be detected in many buildings of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; numerous city halls, universities and public libraries echo its portico-and-dome structure. Examples of notable buildings influenced by the Pantheon include: the Panthéon in Paris.