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Roman Architecture

Origins of Roman
Architecture
 As with sculpture,
the Romans
borrowed heavily
from two cultures
that they
conquered – the
Etruscans and the
Model of an Etruscan
Greeks. Temple
Origins of Roman
Architecture
 Elements of Roman architecture show
very significant Greek influence.
 However, Roman functional needs
sometimes differed, resulting in
interesting innovations.
 The Romans were less attached to
“ideal” forms and extended Greek ideas
to make them more functional.
Architecture
The Maison Carrée at
Nîmes
 Romans needed
interior space for
worship, whereas
the Greeks
worshipped outside.
 Their solution was
to extend the walls
outward, creating
engaged columns,
while maintaining
the same basic
shape.
Architecture
The Maison Carrée at
Nîmes
Roman Innovation
 To the original
Greek orders, the
Romans added
two:
 The Tuscan order.
 The Composite
order.
Roman Innovation
 Tuscan Order:

 Like the Doric,


except this one
has a base.
Roman Innovation
 The Composite
order combined
elements of both
the Ionic and
Corinthian.
 It appears to be
Corinthian acanthus
leaves,
supplemented with
volutes.
Roman Innovation

 The Romans were


the great engineers
of the ancient
world.
 Their structures,
particularly of
public works, were
often massive in Ruins of the Basilica of
Constantine
scale.
Roman Innovation
 The Roman ability to build massively was
largely determined by their discovery of
slow-drying concrete, made with pozzolana
sand.
 This allowed not only bases, but also walls to
be constructed of mainly concrete or
concrete and rubble.
 Facings could be made of more expensive
stone or inexpensive brick.
 The result was strong structures that could
be formed in any desirable shape.
Roman Innovation – Massive
Building – the Temple of Fortuna
Primigenia

 The Temple of
Fortuna
Primigenia was a
massive
structure, made
possible by
concrete
construction.
Roman Innovation –
Massive Building – Baths
of Caracalla
 Roman baths were
the recreation
centers of Roman
cities, incorporating
pools, exercise
facilities and even
libraries.
 They could serve
hundreds or
thousands at a time.
Terme di Caracalla
Roman Innovation – The
Arcuated Arch
 Romans did
not invent this
form, but they
used it well in
bridges, within
buildings, and
to allow
aqueducts to
span rivers
and gorges.
Roman Innovation –
Composite Walls

 Note the use of a


brick outer facing
and a fill of
concrete and
rubble.
Roman Public Water
Supply
Pont du Garde Aqueduct, Nîmes
Roman Public Water
Supply
 The Romans
transported water from
far away to cities via
aqueducts.
 Cities themselves were
plumbed, providing
private water for the
rich and for baths and
communal supplies for
poorer neighborhoods.
Roman Innovation
Entertainment – the Roman Colosseum
Roman Innovation
- Public Entertainment
 Public spectacles – be
they gladiatorial
combat or theatrical –
were given public
venues.
 Theatres and arenas
were built to hold
multiple thousands of
people and were
engineered so as to
allow quick and
effective entry and
exit.
Roman Innovation
Entertainment – Amphitheatre at
Nîmes
Roman Innovation
Worship – The Pantheon
Roman Innovation
Worship – The Pantheon
 The magnificent
interior space of the
Pantheon was
achieved by:
 Employing a dome
over a drum.
 Coffering the dome
to reduce weight.
 Placing an occulus to
allow light to enter.
Roman Innovation
Housing - Insulae
 Large
apartment
buildings
housed
most of the
population
of a Roman
city.
Roman Innovation
Road Building
 The need to move
legions and trade
goods in all
weather led to the
development of
the best roads in
the world (to the
19th century).
Roman Innovation
Road Building
Roman Roads Spanned the
Empire
Public Buildings – Basilica
 Basilica were first
built to house
audience facilities
for government
officials.
 When Christianity
became the state
religion, this kind
of building was
adapted to
Christian worship.
Public Buildings – Basilica
 A large nave is
flanked by side
aisles behind a
row of supporting
piers.
 An Apse draws
attention in the
direction of the
altar.
Conclusion

 The Romans were


brilliant engineers.
 Their innovations
form the basis of
much of our civil
engineering
today.