Date 117-25 CE
Location Rome, Italy
The Pantheon serves as one of the greatest examples of the masterful feats the Romans were able to construct with the use of concrete. The temple was completed during Hadrian’s reign and was most likely constructed by the Roman architect Apollodorus. As the name suggests, it would have served as a dedication to all Roman gods, including prominent Roman figures both living and deceased.
Raised upon a pedestal, the Pantheon’s circular drum would have been hidden from visitors approaching the structure from the court. A deep portico of pink and grey columns would have transfixed the visitor into another realm. Expecting a rectangular cella, first-time visitors would have been surprised to find themselves in a circular room under a massive dome, pierced by an oculus that allows an intense shaft of light to beam through. The ribs between the dome coffers and the attic pilasters do not align, effectively leaving the dome itself unanchored from the viewer’s prospective, giving it the appearance of floating overhead. With no clear place to go, the visitor moves to the structure’s center, feeling simultaneously exposed and sheltered at the same time.
Seven niches lay at the cardinal points of the structure. The dome and drum of the Pantheon are of equal height, and the height of the entire structure is equal to its length, symbolizing eternity and perfection.