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  1. Ancient Greek and Roman Architecture Architectural History ACT 322 Doris Kemp

  2. Topics • Prehistory: The Etruscans • Roman Characteristics • Building Materials • Architectural Ideals • Structural Revolution • Structures • Civic Architecture • Tombs

  3. Roman Architecture:Prehistory: The Etruscans • Etruscan civilization • Preceded the Roman Empire in Italy • Most of their architecture was destroyed by the Romans • Only hidden structures, such as tombs, were spared • Much of their architecture was greatly influenced by the Greeks • The legacy of Etruscan architecture lives on through its influence in Roman architecture

  4. Roman Architecture:Roman Characteristics • April 21, 753 B.C. • Pinpointed by the Romans as the day Rome was founded • Early Romans were militant and very disciplined • Lacking in artistic culture • Romans absorbed the Greek culture • Literature, philosophy, science, and painting • New appreciation of the arts

  5. Roman Architecture:Roman Characteristics • Roman architecture emerged from Hellenistic and Etruscan influences • It held many original aspects, however • Materials and building techniques • Fulfilled practical purposes • Served commerce, industry, and shipping • Ports • Roads • Aqueducts

  6. Roman Architecture:Building Materials • Building materials were very important to the success of Roman architecture • Access to a wide variety of building stone including: • Volcanic tufa • Limestone • Travertine • Nearly unlimited quantities of white marble • Quarry opened by Augustus north of Pisa • Other varieties were imported from the Far East

  7. Roman Architecture:Building Materials • Brick • Romans perfected the art of brick-making • Concrete • Perfected this material • Became the most characteristic material in Roman structures • Was used to construct massive walls and great vaults

  8. Roman Architecture:Architectural Ideals • Space • To the Romans, the space inside a structure was just as important as the exterior • Interior space was the primary focus of Roman architecture and was shaped by vaults, arches, and walls • Romans were fond of extravagance • Architecture for the powerful was gaudy and colorful, not like the ruins as seen today

  9. Roman Architecture:Structural Revolution • The combination of arches, vaults, and concrete in architecture are a pure Roman creation • The individual elements had been used in earlier civilizations • Egyptians and Mesopotamians had used primitive arch forms • Greeks had experimented with the arch and concrete with little success • Etruscans had constructed vault-like forms

  10. Roman Architecture:Structural Revolution • Arches • More intricate than a simple post-and-lintel system • Formed by a multitude of small elements that curve over space by resting against each other in a delicate balance • Voussoirs • The elements used to create an arch • The shape of the structure keeps each voussoir in place • Held together by their own force

  11. Roman Architecture:Structural Revolution Photo: Sullivan

  12. Roman Architecture:Structural Revolution • Vault • Created by extending an arch along its axis • Merely an extended arch • Supports and provides a roof for a given area • Types of vaults • Barrel/Tunnel vault • Cross/Groin vault • Dome

  13. Roman Architecture:Structural Revolution • Barrel/Tunnel Vaults • The earliest type of vault • Appear in limited form in Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Hellenistic Greece • Has a few limitations • Exerts a continuous load, therefore needing constant support • Difficult to illuminate • Increases in length require thicker vault supports

  14. Roman Architecture:Structural Revolution Photo: Sullivan

  15. Roman Architecture:Structural Revolution • Cross/Groin Vaults • Created to overcome the limitations of barrel vaults • Employed by the Romans very heavily • Formed by intersecting two barrel vaults at right angles • Limitations • Resistant to square plans

  16. Roman Architecture:Structural Revolution Photo: Sullivan

  17. Roman Architecture:Structural Revolution • Dome • The grandest type of vault • Types • Cloister vault • An eight-sided vault, with an octagon-shaped dome • Formed by crossing barrel vaults over an octagonal plan • Rare in Rome, more prevalent in medieval architecture • True dome • Perfectly rounded dome, preferred by the Romans • Built up in complete rings wherein each ring forms a self-supporting component of the final dome

  18. Roman Architecture:Structural Revolution Photo: Sullivan

  19. Roman Architecture:Structural Revolution Photo: Sullivan

  20. Roman Architecture:Structural Revolution • Concrete • A mixture of mortar-like cement with an aggregate • Many advantages over traditional stone • Does not need to be quarried, shaped, or transported • Highly skilled labor was not needed to prepare the concrete • Can be cast in just about any shape imaginable • Arches and vaults could be economically fabricated

  21. Roman Architecture:Structural Revolution • Concrete • Surfaces • Romans developed many types of facings that were weather resistant and pleasant to the eye • Opus incertum • Random shaped stones of concrete • Opus testaceum • Brick facing; made concrete wall look as if it were constructed from bricks • Opus mixtum • Decorative patterns of tufa, stone, or brick

  22. Roman Architecture:Structural Revolution Opus mixtum; Photo: Sullivan

  23. Roman Architecture:Roman Structures • Roman Aqueducts • Used to supply the civilization with water from afar • Utilized an arch to create a continuous line of decent for water • Aqua Claudia • Brought water over solid masonry some ten miles into Rome • Some areas were over 100 ft. in height

  24. Roman Architecture:Roman Structures Photo: Sullivan

  25. Roman Architecture:Roman Structures • Roman Bridges • Were generally lower in height and broader than aqueducts • Two important Roman Bridges: • Pons Fabricus • Pons Milvius

  26. Roman Architecture:Roman Structures Photo: Sullivan

  27. Roman Architecture:Roman Structures • Roman Theatres • Adopted the Greek theatre and transformed it • The Roman theatre was closed, unlike the Greeks who preferred an open, outside theatre • Theatre of Marcellus • Integrated Roman style with that of the Greeks • Provided around 10,000 seats arranged in three tiers

  28. Roman Architecture:Roman Structures Photo: Sullivan

  29. Roman Architecture:Roman Structures • Roman Arenas • The Colosseum • Built by Flavian emperors Vespasian, Titus, and Doitian • Located on the site of an artificial lake that had been part of Nero’s Golden House • Extensive system of tunnels, chambers, and mechanical devices below the arena floor • Hydraulic provision used to flood the arena for naval displays and mock battles

  30. Roman Architecture:Roman Structures Photo: Sullivan

  31. Roman Architecture:Roman Structures Photo: Sullivan

  32. Roman Architecture:Roman Structures • Roman Circuses • Circus Maximus • Oldest and largest circus stadium • Rebuilt and destroyed from the first through third centuries A.D.

  33. Roman Architecture:Roman Structures • Roman Baths • Strenuous daily life prompted the Romans to construct large public baths • Wealthy citizens also constructed private baths in their domiciles • Featured elaborate heating systems • Furnaces beneath floors • Heat was transmitted to rooms by tile ducts, warming the floors and the walls

  34. Roman Architecture:Roman Structures • Roman Temples • Earliest Roman temples were indistinguishable from those of the Etruscans • Axial plan • Deep porch • Widely spaced columns • High podiums

  35. Roman Architecture:Roman Structures • Roman Temples • Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus • Originally built in the late sixth century B.C. • Rebuilt in 69 B.C. Photo: Sullivan

  36. Roman Architecture:Roman Structures • Roman Temples • Pantheon • Located in Rome • Considered by many to be the greatest structure of antiquity to have survived in a state of near completeness • Built by Hadrian between A.D 118 and 128 • Three notable parts: • Immense, domed cella • Deep, octastyle Corinthian porch • Block-like intermediate structure

  37. Roman Architecture:Roman Structures Photo: Sullivan

  38. Roman Architecture:Roman Structures Photo: Sullivan

  39. Roman Architecture:Roman Structures • Roman Basilicas • An important category of Roman architecture • Most important Roman source for early Christian architecture • Pure Roman style of architecture • Basilica • Essentially means a roofed hall, rectangular in plan, sometimes with an apse

  40. Roman Architecture:Roman Structures • Roman Basilicas • Basilica Ulpia • A.D. 98-117 • Finest example of the columnar basilica • Built by Trajan • Important model for later ages Photo: Sullivan

  41. Roman Architecture:Roman Structures • Roman Basilicas • Basilica in Trier, Germany • Early fourth century A.D. • Built by Constantine • The final Roman basilica • Served as an important model for the Romanesque period of architecture Photo: Sullivan

  42. Roman Architecture:Civic Architecture • Houses and Villas • Private domiciles reflected their inhabitants • Lower classes lived in meager, cramped apartments located on the upper floors of shops and other buildings • Middle classes lived on the lower floors and many homes had balconies, good ventilation, and running water • Upper classes usually owned a house, know as a domus. • Standalone structures • Featured courtyards and gardens • Many had running water

  43. Roman Architecture:Tombs • Tombs • Romans were great builders of tombs • Different from the Greeks and Egyptians in scale and religious style • Tomb of M. Vergilius Eurysaces • Citizen who made a fortune selling bread to Caesar's army • Built a tomb in the shape of an oven

  44. Roman Architecture:Tombs Photo: Sullivan

  45. Roman Architecture:Tombs • Tombs • Roman catacombs • Built by the poor as place of burial Photo: Sullivan

  46. References • Sullivan, Mary; • • Trachtenburg/Hyman; Architecture: From Prehistory to Postmodernity • Wodehouse/Moffett; A History of Western Architecture

  47. Ancient Greek and Roman Architecture Architectural History ACT 322 Doris Kemp