Rome's Domes

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by abbykolb123
Last updated 6 years ago

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Rome's Domes

Most domes were used in ancient Rome for covering churches or bath halls. Today, domes are used for many significant buildings such as the Capitol, St. Paul's Cathedral, the Taj Mahal, and many other mosques and churches.

A dome is a rounded vault forming the roof of a building or structure. Dome's were first invented around 100 A.D. by Roman builders who found that when they rotated an arch in a circle, it made for a sturdy three-dimensional shape.

The first stone dome was the famous Pantheon in Rome. The dome was so heavy that the engineers started cutting out intricate designs and patterns to reduce the weight.

Rome's Domes

Today many architects build geodesic (spherical domes with triangle-shaped siding) domes. "Spaceship Earth" at Epcot, and the "Windstar" dome are both examples of geodesic domes.

The purpose of the dome was to add a decorative element to many important buildings. It added an airy feel and allowed for the building to be seen from far away, whereas a flat room wouldn't have been easy to spot.

The Pantheon

Roman church

The Capitol

Many architects back in ancient Rome and even today use an ingenious method for building domes. They design two domes - one on top of the other. The outer layer of the dome is thin and held up by strong iron ribs. The inner layer can only be seen from the inside and is self-supporting. This gives the illusion of one very tall dome and can be seen for miles. This plan also helps for construction because the workers can build the outer dome while on top of the inner dome.

How to Build a Dome:

Ancient and Modern Significance:

Domes Today:


By Abby Kolb


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