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From Rome To Columbia: A Comparison Of Jesse Hall And The Pantheon

1028 words - 4 pages

For much of the last millennia many great architects have looked upon the Pantheon as a staple of classical architecture, as well as a model for many modern day buildings. Created by the Romans, the Pantheon would use many elements better than any other works of architecture to that time. No further than Columbia Missouri is this evident in the construction of what used to be known as the First Academic Building on the University of Missouri campus. The Architects Bell and Binder headed the creation of the new building after the First Academic Building burnt down in 1892. Known today as Jesse Hall, this modern day work of architecture pulls many elements from the Pantheon to create a unique work of public space. The most glaring comparison of both comes from the domes that top both buildings. Each building also shares similar characteristics in their front facades. Yet, while there are many similarities to both works, each contain unique differences in their layout and construction.
One of the most defining features of both the Pantheon and Jesse Hall is the larges domes that sit atop their structures. When the Pantheon was created, there was no dome ever created to the scale or size of the one that tops the building to this day. The dome itself sits on a drum like structure that supports the structure. The top is not completely curved like many other domes today. A stepped dome is used near the bottom and begins to curve more towards the top where the oculus sits. This oculus allows any sort of element into the building including sunlight, rain, and snow. The Pantheon, being a space of religious worship when originally created used the dome for many different purposes. In Understanding Architecture, extra contributor David Watkin described the building as “the symbol and the consequence of an immutable union between the gods, nature, man, and the state.” The coffers, which are sunken features in the dome, are thought to have had some sort of symbolical meaning in regards to a solar calendar or numerical meaning. This model for dome creation can be also seen in the creation of the dome that tops Jesse Hall. The most evident difference between the domes of each work of art is the rotunda that each sits upon. Jesse Hall has a raised rotunda that is above the main structure of the building that stretches up towards the dome. The fact that Jesse Hall is not a center for religious worship, the interior of the dome does not contain the symbolic coffers that line the interior of the Pantheon. Also, the dome is topped with a decorative cap rather than an open oculus. While the domes of the two structures have many differences, more similarities can be found in the front Facades.
The use of the classical orders is seen in both works, but each uses a different style. On the Façade of the Pantheon a pronaos extends from the building giving a grand entrance to worshipers. This pronaos contains a colonnade that supports the entablature of the building....

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