The Pantheon is a building in Rome,Italy that whose design and construction was under the directorship of Marcus Agrippa who was a friend and commander during the reign of Augustus. It was constructed as a temple to all the gods of ancient Rome,and it was rebuilt in 117-138 AD by Hadrian after it was razed to the ground during a war…
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The Pantheon is a building in Rome,Italy that whose design and construction was under the directorship of Marcus Agrippa who was a friend and commander during the reign of Augustus. It was constructed as a temple to all the gods of ancient Rome,and it was rebuilt in 117-138 AD by Hadrian after it was razed to the ground during a war. The building is circular with a front entrance portico made up of eight large Corinthian columns made of granite. There are another two groups of four behind that are all under pediment. There is a vestibule, rectangular in shape that links the porch to the cupola that is beneath a coffered concrete auditorium. The dome has a central opening to the sky called the oculus, and it is the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome. Fig 1: Pantheon, Rome. This paper seeks to highlight on what is architecturally about the Pantheon in Rome by discussing various features and aspects of the building. The version of the Pantheon seen today was built during the reign of Emperor Hadrian at around 123AD, which fused the technical, religious and architectural inheritance of the Egyptian, Greek and Roman culture (Baldwin, 2004). The Emperor’s emphasis on perfection of the heavens is reflected in other buildings built by him and in its self-similar use of geometry and proportions. The notion regarding the nature of the universe being spherical is more Greek than it is Roman with the portico and the pediment also being of Greek influence. The coppice of columns leading into the temple is evocative of the hall of columns or hypostyle found in Egyptian temples (Baker, 2008). The interior of the Pantheon called the rotunda is accessed through a pair of bronze doors, with the vertical and horizontal diameter of the interior space being 43.2 meters. This is exemplary of the Romans’ emphasis on the notion of perfection in the sphere but also the heavens, and this sense of geometric perfection permeates the entire structure (MacDonald, 2002). The Pantheon is composed of two compartments namely the rotunda and the portico, with portico comprising of 16 large columns at the opening of the building. The columns are under a pediment with a phrase across it that reads; M·AGRIPPA·L·F·COS·TERTIUM·FECIT. This translates to Marcus Agrippa, son of Lucius, made this building when consul for the third time. The walls are three storeys high and up to 6.2 meters thick with arches built into the brickwork to distribute the weight and achieve the height and strength required to support the dome (Baldwin, 2004). The thick walls are necessary to support and act as a buttress against the dome’s colossal stress. Inside the pantheon, the perimeter wall opens into seven niches that once contained statures of several deities a reference to the structure’s name, which means many gods. The floors are covered with beautiful tiles, which are an example of opus sectile roman mosaics that are used in the rest of the building enhancing the building’s decoration in amazing colours and patterns (MacDonald, 2002). The floor inside the pantheon is a checkerboard pattern that differs from the coffers in the dome, with each part of the dome’s interior subdivided according to different themes. They reinforce the building’s shape with the modular approach augmenting an individual’s point of reference of self and the size of the building. The dome of the pantheon weighs an approximate 4.5 metric tonnes concentrated on a ring of voussoirs that are 30 feet in diameter that form the oculus (Grasshoff, Heinzelmann & Wafler, 2009). Eight columns that are 21ft thick carry the downward thrust of the dome. The light from the open doorway and the oculus are the two sources of light inside the pantheo
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