Module Title : Architectural Context
Course : BA(Hons) Architecture
As we live in the twenty-first century where the modern age is evolving along with the use of digital information to make the lives of people much easier and convenient. As we look towards the modern world and compare today’s architecture with the ancient architecture of the Roman empires we can agree that the ancient Roman architecture is known for three most important things. Firstly the arch, secondly the baked brick and thirdly the use of cement in the common market place. From the ancient times we can still see evidence of concrete columns and other Roman architectural buildings that influence many modern structures.
The Romans were considered to be the great engineers of structural design in their age, some of their basic ideas was to provide shelter to the rapidly increasing population and this would emulate their strength to the world.
The Romans developed the infrastructure of their cities efficiently and introduced the usage of double story houses and the baths, to populate crowded numbers in the public baths the Romans had built the walls outward, and had to create engaged columns, while maintaining the same basic shape of the building.
My interest into Roman architecture starts with looking into the quality of the structures that they acquired. This was made possible through hard labour and the use of skilled engineers, even without the facilities that are provided by modern age technology. The Romans had innovative ideas that were influenced heavily by the Greeks and the Etruscans.
The Romans were able to create rooms having high ceilings and columns for support, along with various features such as a network of public latrines and system of sewage pipes running through the city. This was advancement from the Greek sewage system.
The developments of the housing structures were made possible by the use of geometry that had played an important role in Roman culture. “A skilled draughtsman ought to be able to produce coloured drawings to convey an impression of the work which he purposes”, said by Marcus Vitruvius, a Roman architect from the first century (approx. 70BC-25BC). He had stated that architects have to produce plans and elevations, along with the perspective drawing of the building. By this we can understand the innovative view of the architects of those times. The tools used by the workers in those days, were not much different than those that are used by today’s workers, like dividers, folding foot-rules, callipers, and plumb-bobs.
The Romans researched concrete usage by the Assyrians, Babylonians and the Egyptians, the Romans made some changes in the formation of concrete and perfected it, with a combination of quicklime, ash and an aggregate made from pumice. If observed properly, this combination of materials is very similar to today’s Portland cement concrete.
It has been observed by many researchers that the Roman designs were based on Greek precedents, yet it was still very different from the Greek Architecture. As they were the pioneers of the structural design, all their designs were based and founded upon new structural techniques. Even though the column and arch had been seen before, the Romans used arches and its structural principles. The arches were not only used for their outstanding support capabilities, but to show power and supremacy. Their are three types of columns, the first was the Doric style. this was used for supporting huge and heavy buildings. The second is the Ionic style; this was also used for the same purpose as the Doric style was. The only difference was that it was more elegant. The last style is known as the Corinthian style, this style is very beautiful compared to the previous columns. Much later the Romans developed the use of domes, the largest dome built is known as the Pantheon.
The first ever Coherent Western Urban System was