What is Roman architecture known for? Roman architecture is known for concrete-domed buildings, the innovative use of the arch, the amphitheatre design, the basilica, the triumphal arch, and residential apartment blocks.
Trajan celebrated the success and wealth of Rome by commissioning a large number of building projects, most of them executed by Apollodorus.
- Roman Colosseum.
- Amphitheater, Nimes.
- Diocletian's Palace.
- Maison Carrée.
- Aqueduct of Segovia.
- Pont du Gard.
- Library of Celsus.
The three types of architecture used in ancient Roman architecture were Corinthian, Doric and Ionic.
Roman Architectural Innovations
Most important among the structures developed by the Romans themselves were basilicas, baths, amphitheaters, and triumphal arches.
Roman architecture is noted for a number of reasons, including:
- Apartment Blocks.
Domes were introduced in a number of Roman building types such as temples, thermae, palaces, mausolea and later also churches. Half-domes also became a favoured architectural element and were adopted as apses in Christian sacred architecture.
The house type referred to as the domus (Latin for “house”) is taken to mean a structure designed for either a nuclear or extended family and located in a city or town. The domus as a general architectural type is long-lived in the Roman world, although some development of the architectural form does occur.
The Colosseum is the most prominent example of ancient Roman architecture, but also the Roman Forum, the Domus Aurea, the Pantheon, Trajan's Column, Trajan's Market, the Catacombs, the Circus Maximus, the Baths of Caracalla, Castel Sant'Angelo, the Mausoleum of Augustus, the Ara Pacis, the Arch of Constantine, the ...
Concrete. Ancient Romans are famous for building longstanding structures, with many iconic landmarks still standing today. They did this by inventing what we call today, hydraulic cement-based concrete.
Roman engineers improved upon older ideas and inventions to introduce a great number of innovations. They developed materials and techniques that revolutionized bridge and aqueducts' construction, perfected ancient weapons and developed new ones, while inventing machines that harnessed the power of water.
Most buildings had stone ashlar surfaces covering rubble cores, held together with lime mortar. Experiments were made mixing lime with other materials to provide a hydraulic mortar, but there was still no equivalent of the Roman concrete.
They found that the Romans made concrete by mixing lime and volcanic rock to form a mortar. To build underwater structures, this mortar and volcanic tuff were packed into wooden forms.
The Romans developed brick making techniques that became the main building material in the 1st century AD for the walls of houses, Roman baths, and monuments. Opus latericium (Latin for "brickwork") is a form of construction in which bricks of thick structure are used to face a core of opus caementicium.
From military structures such as forts and walls (including the spectacular Hadrian's Wall) to engineering feats such as baths and aqueducts, the most obvious impact of the Romans that can still be seen today is their buildings.
Many ancient Roman structures like the Pantheon, the Colosseum and the Roman Forum are still standing today thanks to the development of Roman cement and concrete.
The round 19-columned structure is called the Temple of Hercules Victor and dates to the 2nd century BC, which makes it the oldest surviving building in the whole city of Rome! Another temple seems a bit similar to the remains of Athenian Pantheon; it's known as the Temple of Portunus and was constructed around 100-80 ...
Fine Roman homes were built with stone, plaster, and brick. They had tiled roofs. A "villa ubana" was a villa that was fairly close to Rome and could be visited often. A "villa rustica" was a villa that was a far distance from Rome and was only visited seasonally.
They were single-storey houses which were built around a courtyard known as an atrium. Atriums had rooms opening up off of them and they had no roofs. A rich Roman house had many rooms including kitchen, bath, dining, bedrooms and rooms for slaves.
Leading off the atrium were cubicula (bedrooms), a dining room triclinium where guests could eat dinner whilst reclining on couches, a tablinum (living room or study), and the culina (Roman kitchen).
Inside the Roman towns were different buildings beside the temples, including homes, places to meet, workshops, bathhouses, shops, toilets, and even an amphitheater. The towns were very large and designed so that the streets would cross the towns, and they would make different blocks, which were called insulae.
The Romans took Ancient Greek principles and built on them. From the 18th century, Neoclassical architects deliberately copied ancient buildings with regular, plain, symmetrical designs with lots of columns and arches, often using white plaster or stucco as a finish.
The Romans did not invent the arch. Indeed, arches have been used since prehistoric times. The ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, and Greeks all used it. The purpose of the arch in these cultures, however, was limited to supporting small structures, such as storerooms, and people often used columns to support the roof.