The Pantheon of Rome
BJG 01 - 26 - 2010

I've studied this building many times before but it still took me aback when I turned the corner of a tight alley to be standing in front of it. The scale is enormous, the exterior is somewhat dissuading (though still intense), the interior is strictly remarkable. I thoroughly enjoyed studying this temple in person. Two design concepts stuck out to me above all else. The structural aspects of the unreinforced concrete dome are purely spectacular (to this day, 2000 years later, still the largest in the world) and it leads to creating two great aspects of the feel of this interior space. The oculus in the center is not only structural (to decrease the overall weight of the ceiling) but introduces the main design concept of the temple. During sunny days, the cylindrical beam of light shines through as a physical being to commemorate the highest of all gods being honored. During the day, the light moves down from the dome, across the ornate floor, and back up the dome. One cannot see the light without being awestruck and reminded of the beauty and immensity of the sun, universe, life, etc... The second aspect of the dome I decided to analyze is one that might be missed by the average visitor to the Pantheon. The coffers in the ceiling are again structural to reduce the weight of the concrete dome but the scale of the coffers decreases as they go up the dome to reinforce the height. If they were all the same size, the height would come off as less impressive or even flat. It amazes me that 2000 years ago, the Roman builders could so easily and perfectly implement these two design concepts. The simplicity (yet intensity of the feeling created by) these designs is something that I must strive for in my future designs.

HTML Comment Box is loading comments...