Archive for the ‘0-700s’ Category

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Hadrian’s Villa

Architect: Collective

Location: Tivoli, Italy.

Date: Around 120

Building Type: Villa

Architecture Styles: Classical

Architectural Time Period: 0-700s

Construction Type: Bearing Masonry

Context: Rural

Introduction(Information mainly based on Internet and Readings):

The Hadrian’s Villa  is a large Roman archaeological complex at Tivoli, Italy.The villa was constructed at Tibur (modern-day Tivoli) as a retreat from Rome for Roman Emperor Hadrian during the second and third decades of the 2nd century AD. Hadrian was said to dislike the palace on the Palatine Hill in Rome, leading to the construction of the retreat. During the later years of his reign, he actually governed the empire from the villa. A large court therefore lived there permanently. The postal service kept it in contact with Rome 18 miles (29 km) away.

After Hadrian, the villa was used by his various successors. During the decline of the Roman Empire the villa fell into disuse and was partially ruined. In the 16th century Cardinal Ippolito II d’Este had much of the marble and statues in Hadrian’s villa removed to decorate his own Villa d’Este located nearby.

My own exploration:

Keywords: Structure & Architecture, Joints

 

Structure & Architecture

Hadrian’s villa was a complex of over 30 buildings, covering an area of at least 1 square kilometre (c. 250 acres) of which much is still unexcavated. The villa was the greatest Roman example of an Alexandrian garden, recreating a sacred landscape. The complex included palaces, several thermae, theater, temples, libraries, state rooms and quarters for courtiers, praetorians and slaves.

The entrance to the main complex

The Poecile

The Villa shows echoes of many different architectural orders, mostly Greek and Egyptian. Hadrian, a very well travelled emperor, borrowed these designs, such as the caryatids by the Canopus, along with the statues beside them depicting the Egyptian dwarf and fertility god, Bes. A Greek so called “Maritime Theatre” exhibits classical ionic style, whereas the domes of the main buildings as well as the corinthian arches of the Canopus and Serapeum show clear Roman architecture.

The Maritime Theatre, It consists of a round portico with a barrel vault supported by pillars. Inside the portico was a ring-shaped pool with a central island. During the ancient times the island was connected to the portico by two drawbridges. On the island sits a small Roman house complete with an atrium, a library, a triclinium and small baths. The area was probably used by the emperor as a retreat from the busy life at the court.

One of the most striking and best preserved parts of the Villa are a pool and an artificial grotto which were named Canopus and Serapeum, respectively. Canopus was an Egyptian city where a temple (Serapeum) was dedicated to the god Serapis. However, the architecture is Greek influenced (typical in Roman architecture of the High and Late Empire) as seen in the Corinthian columns and the copies of famous Greek statues that surround the pool.

The Canopus

 

Joints

I discovered three joints in the villa as the extension during different time period.

The first joint is the Martitime Theatre as discussed before, it connects the courtyard of the library and the hall of the philosophers. The courtyard of the library and the hall of the philosophers have two different axial orientation, being a circular geometry itself, Martitime Theatre acting as a joint to adjust the two different circulation and orientations in a smart way. It is a good example of using the nature of geometry as architecture solution.

The second joint deals with the same problem as the first one, but with a different typology, the joint itself is a set of turning space.

The third joint behaviors different with the previous two, it is a directly joint without any buffering area

 

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Baths of Caracalla

Architect: Collective

Location: Rome, Italy.

Date:212-216

Building Type: Baths

Architecture Styles: Classical

Architectural Time Period:0-700s

Construction Type: Bearing Masonry

Context: Urban

Introduction(Information mainly based on Internet and Readings):

The Baths of Caracalla were Roman public baths,  built in Rome between AD 212 and 216, during the reign of the Emperor Caracalla. They would have had to install over 2,000 tons of material every day for 6 years in order to complete it in this time period. Records show that the idea for the baths were drawn up by Septimius Severus, and merely completed or opened in the lifetime of Caracalla.This would allow for a longer construction time frame. They are tourist attractions today.

My own exploration:

Keywords: History, Tectonic & Structure Expression

History

It is of great benefit to know about the history of the site and the urban context. The Baths were erected in the the southern part of the city. This area was previously beautified by the Severan dynasty with the construction of the via Nova-leading to the morthern part of the new Baths-and the Septizodim, a grandiose nymphaeum built by Septimius Severus on the slopes of the Palatine hill as a monumental backdrop to the beginning of via Appia.

The thermal complex was planned over three large sloping terraces, to camber the different levels between the small Aventine hill and the Carnene Valley.

9000 workers were employed daily for approximately five years in order to create a huge platform of about 337 x 328 meters.

Tectonic & Structure Expression

Since it is a historic ruins, I am interested in the building technology back then, I am looking for some tectonic evidence in order to read the intellectual idea for ancient architects

The different layers of space are coordinate with the structure, the arches are the main structural expression

Different depth of space

Through the ruins we can read the brick pattern and get a better understanding of how to build this mega structure

The bricks start deform as they form the arch

The vast open space, the structural expression here would be described as different typology for vertical layers

The logical and regular layering of mosaic floor patterning

It is a good example of how to use brick to build an arch, and the axial spatial quality can attribute to the placement of the archway

It is a natural “section” for us, there are two different kind of brick patterns: on the base it is more irregular than it is on the top, from my own understanding, it is because the base need to be more strong to take the upper load, and the irregularity can increase the friction among different bricks. On the contrary,  at the top, the regularity of the brick pattern can make the construction faster while owning the same weight.

The marble facade was attached on the brick behind it, which gives us the sense of their tectonic nature.

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Pantheon

Architect: Apollodorus of Damascus

Location: Rome, Italy.

Date: 118-126

Building Type: Temple

Architecture Styles: Roman, Classical

Architectural Time Period: 0-700s

Construction Type: Bearing Masonry

Context: Urban

Introduction(Information mainly based on Internet and Readings

Pantheon is a building in Rome, Italy, commissioned by Marcus Agrippa as a temple to all the gods of Ancient Rome, and rebuilt by Emperor Hadrian in about 126 AD.The temple is circular with a portico of large granite Corinthian columns (eight in the first rank and two groups of four behind) under a pediment. A rectangular vestibule links the porch to the rotunda, which is under a coffered, concrete dome, with a central opening (oculus) to the sky. Almost two thousand years after it was built, the Pantheon’s dome is still the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome. The height to the oculus and the diameter of the interior circle are the same, 43.3 metres (142 ft).

It is one of the best-preserved of all Roman buildings. It has been in continuous use throughout its history, and since the 7th century, the Pantheon has been used as a Roman Catholic church dedicated to “St. Mary and the Martyrs” but informally known as “Santa Maria della Rotonda.” The square in front of the Pantheon is called Piazza della Rotonda.

My own exploration:

Keywords: Portico&Logistic, Rotunda, Interior

Portico&Logistic

We visited Pantheon through Piazza della Rotonda, the portico was the first part that caught into my eyes, the pediment was decorated with relief sculpture, probably of gilded bronze. Holes marking the location of clamps that held the sculpture suggest that its design was likely an eagle within a wreath; ribbons extended from the wreath into the corners of the pediment.

From the reading, I know that it took 732 construction workers over 3 years to construct the Pantheon because of its many features.The Pantheon’s porch was originally designed for monolithic granite columns with shafts 50 Roman feet tall, the substitution was probably a result of logistical difficulties at some stage in the construction. The grey granite columns that were actually used in the Pantheon’s pronaos were quarried in Egypt at Mons Claudianus in the eastern mountains. Each was 39 feet (12 m) tall, five feet (1.5 m) in diameter, and 60 tons in weight. These were dragged more than 100 km from the quarry to the river on wooden sledges. They were floated by barge down the Nile River when the water level was high during the spring floods, and then transferred to vessels to cross the Mediterranean Sea to the Roman port of Ostia. There, they were transferred back onto barges and pulled up the Tiber River to Rome.

After being unloaded near the Mausoleum of Augustus, the site of the Pantheon was still about 700 meters away. Thus, it was necessary to either drag them or to move them on rollers to the construction site. So in this case, it is really amazing that how great humans are!

Entrance of Pantheon with the large bronze doors,it is ancient but not the original one of the Pantheon. The current doors – manufactured too small for the door frames – have been there since about the 15th century.

The wooden stricture at the portico, the triangular wooden truss is brilliant because it is stable as geometry itself and does well for tension force

Rotunda

When I enter the temple, the top of the rotunda wall features a series of brick relieving arches, visible on the outside and built into the mass of the brickwork. The Pantheon is full of such devices – for example, there are relieving arches over the recesses inside – but all these arches were hidden by marble facing on the interior and possibly by stone revetment or stucco on the exterior.

The height to the oculus and the diameter of the interior circle are the same, 43.3 meters (142 ft), so the whole interior would fit exactly within a cube (also, the interior could house a sphere 43.3 meters (142 ft) in diameter). These dimensions make more sense when expressed in ancient Roman units of measurement: The dome spans 150 Roman feet; the oculus is 30 Roman feet in diameter; the doorway is 40 Roman feet high. The Pantheon still holds the record for the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome. It is also substantially larger than earlier domes.

Though often drawn as a free-standing building, there was a building at its rear into which it abutted. While this building helped buttress the rotunda, there was no interior passage from one to the other.

Interior

the interior of the dome was possibly intended to symbolize the arched vault of the heavens. The oculus at the dome’s apex and the entry door are the only sources of light in the interior. Throughout the day, the light from the oculus moves around this space in a sort of reverse sundial effect. The oculus also serves as a cooling and ventilation method. During storms, a drainage system below the floor handles the rain that falls through the oculus.

Lighting and ventilation diagram

The lighting effect from the oculus

The dome features sunken panels, in five rings of twenty-eight. It gives a lot of depth to the roof and the space. This evenly spaced layout was difficult to achieve and, it is presumed, had symbolic meaning, either numerical, geometric, or lunar. In antiquity, the coffers may have contained bronze stars, rosettes, or other ornaments.

Circles and squares form the unifying theme of the interior design. The checkerboard floor pattern contrasts with the concentric circles of square coffers in the dome. Each zone of the interior, from floor to ceiling, is subdivided according to a different scheme. As a result, the interior decorative zones do not line up. The overall effect is immediate viewer orientation according to the major axis of the building, even though the cylindrical space topped by a hemispherical dome is inherently ambiguous. According to the reading, this discordance has not always been appreciated, and the attic level was redone according to Neoclassical taste in the 18th century.