Arches, Domes and Vaults in the History of Architecture

Giorgio Croci
University of Rome “La Sapienza”, Faculty of Engineering, Rome, Italy

The first real domes arise and develop with the Romans. The first important example is the dome of the Octagonal Room in the Domus Aurea (I cent.). But the Pantheon (II cent. inspired by the Domus Aurea), more than 40 meters in diameter, is the true original example of the large domes that will be built in the Western world. The next advance takes place several centuries later with Hagia Sofia (VI cent.). We must wait for the dawn of the Renaissance to have a breakthrough in structural design with the dome of S. Maria del Fiore (XIV cent.) and then with the dome of St. Peter’s, both clearly inspired by the Gothic. After St. Peter’s, the seamless integration between structure and architecture and the momentum of building domes seems to vanish.

arch, dome, history of architecture.