Flaviu Simihaian's Blog - Entrepreneur and Developer

Architecture Saturday Part I : Classical

Have you ever visited some historical place like Rome with someone marveling at the domes and cathedrals?

You probably said something like, “Wow! I wonder how they built that.” To which your mate would reply, “wanna get some jaylahtoh?” and you’d both walk on in the colonnade.

Don’t you wish you had said, “that plinth is characteristic of the corinthian style”? No? Ok.

Well, I want to learn more about architecture and here’s some notes I found interesting.

Egyptian pyramids (like Giza) are marvels of architecture because the massive blocks were barged from quarries, dragged on sleds, then up mud ramps. One invention that would have made this task more manageable?

The pulley:

Remember: Parthenon -> Greece. Pantheon -> less badass Roman building.

The Parthenon had a timber roof, which collapsed during various fires. However, the reason it doesn’t have a roof today is that the Turks used it to store gun powder and it exploded during the Venetian bombardment in the 17th century.

The Parthenon does not have a straight line in it. They used the process of entasis, which gives columns a slight bulge to make them seem straight to the eye.

Also the parthenon was not boring-colored back in the day. It most likely radiated bright red, blue and gold. It’s also belongs to the Doric Order.

There are three main orders. Doric Order, a simpler style with a classy frieze above the plain architrave, the Ionic order, with a slightly more ornate capital (that’s the decoration at the top of the column), and the Corinthian Order, which has crazy decoration on the entire entablature as well as the capital.

Here’s a fuzzy pencil drawing a made to tell the difference:

Meanwhile (a few hundred years later really), the Romans mixed volcanic soil with lime and made concrete, which they used to create the Pantheon, a 139 ft dome, in which you could fit a giant soccer ball.

Actually, nobody built a larger dome until Brunelleschi build the Florence dome during the Renaissance.

Concrete allowed the Romans to build large unsupported spaces (note that this is not the steel reinforced concrete we use today, so it couldn’t support too much weight).

Concrete and arches looked really boring, so after conquering the Greeks, the Romans borrowed their decorative column style in the form of pilasters, which are fake columns carved out of the wall. We use them all the time to make our homes look majestic:

As a last note, the Roman Emperor Trajan built a column after his victories against the Dacians (modern day Romania, my homeland).

While the column’s frieze depicts my slaughtered ancestors, the base of the column has fine lettering, inspiring fonts like the one you are reading right now.

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