Roman Architecture

Roman architecture is matured within it’s hilly topography and under the influence of Greek architecture, Hellenistic ideas and Etruscans.

During the time of Republican Rome they were using colonnades to achieve enclosures but Roman architecture is distinguishable from Greek since Romans did not filled their spaces with columns or other supporting elements and rather focused on interiors shaped by the discovery of arches and vaulting. Architecture of Rome gives importance to both enclosed and public spaces. Unlike the openness of Agora in Greek cities, Romans designed relatively enclosed public spaces with columnated porches. Topography of region where Romans lived was so hilly that it was inhibiting the orthogonal city plan hence the Romans went through a cross-axial order of streets which was also originating from their beliefs received from Etruscans. 

Cities of Rome
Roman architects, in civil architecture, utilized from standard units which contributed easiness in reproduction. Plus, their improvement in arches and vaulting shows itself in  infrastructure of the city, drainage systems with vaulted sewers, bridges, roads etc. Cities of Rome such as Pompeii, a city having important structures and demonstrating very principals of Roman architecture, include a forum, a temple and a basilica. Forums are the primary public spaces like agora of Greeks, yet differing with its enclosing columns at the periphery and basilicas served as seating places for judges in the form of a long rectangle placed right next to the forum. One another especial structure of Rome was plenty amount of public baths erected all over the empire. There were hundreds of small baths which dominated cityscape in the cities of Rome and the great public baths came forward during the first years of the emperors. Public baths were another significant gathering places which contain libraries, dining halls, palaestraes and lecture rooms within itself.
Theaters forming the most of daily life activities, doubtlessly one of the musts of Rome. They were derived from the Greeks models, samples of theaters. Since Roman theaters were not placed on hillsides like those in Greeks, they were made by double or triple stories of columns as shaping the outer facade and with seating places sloping upwardly.

Domestic Architecture
It is possible to study Roman domestic architecture in 3 subjects as domus, insula and villa. A typical roman house is called “domus” which is centered by an interior atrium with it’s inward-sloping roofs ensuring rain water to drain into a pool like pit right at the middle of atrium. These courtyard houses were open at the frontal side and usually had shop at either facades. There was a feminine space distinction in houses which includes kitchens,dining rooms, baths, and privies. As the population increase the need of space emerged and forced multilevel apartment blocks called insula. In time of Roman republic villas began to appear at places far to the city. Integration of decorated domus type with gardens at places where the landscape vista is provided is the principal of a villa in Rome.


The urban renewal of Rome caused to a shift in the scale of structures. They stated to experience the capability of concrete more in grand scales. As a sign of great victories and sovereignty monumentality started to become dominant as understood from triumphal arches. Additionally as a symbol of wealth marble became dominant as a material unlike the republican time. During the reign of Trajan, his architects reshaped topography as observed in the Palatine Hill complex resisting to the hilly topography of the surrounding landscape.
Hadrian appreciated Greek temples and with the development in use of concrete and in the light of progresses in arches and dome like geometries, he achieved his greatest architectural heritage with the temple of the Pantheon. The temple looks like a typical Greek temple from the frontal facade with its columns and pediment blocking the dome behind. Once you start to walk around or enter the temple you reach to the main domed spaces with an oculus on top. Having no column like element blocking the space to support the colossal weighty dome is showing they were became skilled by means of using concrete and vaulted structures.

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