Roman architecture is a fusion of Etruscan elements and traditional Greek. Horizontal beams are supported by columns and arches are developed. The arch is further developed into dome. The basic building materials are stones, highly expensive marble and developed concrete. Colorful chips of stone inset into the cement are widely in vogue. One can see in Roman homes mural decorating floors, grottoes in geometric and pictorial designs, on walls. Different regional tastes, choice of the patrons dominates the scene of Roman Architecture.It goes to the credit of Roman Engineering that concrete for building practices is adopted The style relating to designing and construction of the domes, can still be seen in North America and throughout Europe. The finest example of Roman Architecture is the Roman Colosseum, the well-known amphitheatre in the world. It is also known as Amphitheatrum Flavium, after the dynasty of Flavian. “Construction was initiated by the Emperor Vespasian around 72 AD. His son Titus reigned over its completion and the official opening ceremonies, about 8 years later, in 80 AD.
The huge theater was originally built encompassing four floors. The first three had arched entrances, while the fourth floor utilized rectangular doorways. The floors each measured between 10, 5-13, 9 meters (32-42 feet) in height. The total height of the construction was approximately 48 meters (144 feet). The arena measured 79 x 45 meters (237-135 feet), and consisted of wood and sand. Nets along the sides protected the audience. ” (The Colosseum ) The spectator capacity is between 45,000-55,000. Travertine is outside, and tufa and brick in the interior.
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Each marble block used for the main pedestal weighs 11,000 pounds. They are held together by metal pins. Later mortar is used, when thieves strike to remove the metal pins. The total amount of marble devolved in the construction is approximately 100,000 cubic metes. The numbers of entrances are 80, 76 for the general spectators and 4 for the VIPs and the gladiators. For the audience, the first row is throne-types seat with backs. These are also the seats of honor. Women, when permitted to attend the programs, sit in a separate section.
Upper diazomata seats are reserved for foreigners. The architectural design is so imaginative and great from the point of view of light that no artificial lighting is necessary, as the performances are held during the day. Sound effects are, however, used. The Pantheon-temple of all Gods: According t Michelangelo, Pantheon is “angelic and not human design. ” The present Pantheon is about 1900 years old . Many legends prevail regarding the earlier structures of Pantheon. This is planned and designed by Hadrian, in 120 AD.
“His plans called for a structure with three main parts: a pronaos or entrance portico, a circular domed rotunda or vault, and a connection between the two. The rotunda's internal geometry would create a perfect sphere, since the height of the rotunda to the top of its dome would match its diameter: 142 feet (43. 30 m). At its top, the dome would have an oculus or eye, a circular opening, with a diameter of 27 feet (8. 2m), as its only light source. ” (Parker--) Many imaginative and spiritual ideas are experimented on the design of this structure. This is conceived to be the sanctuary of all Gods.
Timber forms layered with pozzolana cement are used in the foundation of the structure. This cement is made by grinding together lime and a volcanic product of Italy. The structure is supported by 16 gray granite columns. Each is 39 feet (11. 8 m) tall, five feet (1. 5 m) in diameter, and 60 tons in weight. The dome is constructed in tapering course. The base is 20 feet and thinnest at the oculus, 7. 5 feet. Pantheon is one of the marvels of the engineering skill, as this structure, with the awesome dome p, built on marshy land, is still perfect after the lapse of 2000 years.
“The technical details are as under: Built: 120-126 AD under Emperor Hadrian, Foundation: 24' thick at base and steps to 21' at ground level, Rotunda: concrete, 20' thick; 142' diameter, Oculus: concrete: 7. 5' thick; 27' diameter, Interior Columns: 3' diameter, 29' tall topped with a Corinthian capital, of 4' totaling 32' 9" tall, 25 tons each, Portico: 16 granite columns 39' tall, 5' diameter, 60 tons each. ” (Parker--) Other Roman Engineering skills to improve the lifestyles: Roman aqueduct at Segovia: Water supply to the entire city of Rome is done through using a system of 4=640 kilometers of aqueducts.
The aqueduct at Segovia in Spain is one such creation of the engineering skill of Romans. The system stands the test of time. Many roads in Western Europe built with Roman engineering skills are still in use. The baths at Bath, England are used now also. The churches, palaces and lighthouses built by Romans are currently in use. The Hadrian’s Wall built in an inhospitable part of England is an engineering marvel. It is 117 kilometers long and in some areas, 6 meters high and 3 meters thick.
This wall is built to protect soldiers from the onslaught of wind and cold. The forts can hold up to 1000 men. The facilities like washrooms and toilets are adequate. The wall has stood the test of time, though poorly maintained, and the precious marble part of it are removed and utilized for private use by the unscrupulous farmers. Roman houses for the rich are single-story houses, built around an atrium. “Beyond an atrium was a second open courtyard known as a peristylum. This area included a garden and it also had rooms opening up off of it.
In the homes of the wealthy, the gardens served as a meeting point so they were designed to be shady and comfortable so that people could meet in them regardless of whether the sun was fierce. ” (Roman) One of the famous houses where Roman mosaic has been extensively used is Fishbourne Palace in West Sussex. A unique under floor heating known as hypocaust is used to keep the houses warm. Architecture and the Engineering skill to execute a perfect project are alternative beats of the same heart—and Romans have many standing witnesses to prove this point.
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