The Pantheon


Images:
Jean-Baptiste-Louis-Georges Seroux d'Agincourt
Histoire de l'art par les monuments depuis sa decadence au IV siecle jusqu'a son renouvellement au XVI


Quotations:
Christian Norberg-Schulz
William L. MacDonald
Louis I. Kahn

Ward-Perkins says, "With the building of the Pantheon . . . architectural thinking had been turned inside out; and henceforth the concept of interior space as a dominating factor in architectural design was to be an accepted part of the artistic establisment of the capital" Perhaps we should rather say: Architectural thinking had been turned "outside in!"
Christian Norberg-Schulz, Meaning in Western Architecture (New York: Praeger Publishers, 1975), p. 100.






The ambition and daring of the Pantheon design are utterly Roman, but in its planetary rotundity the building is also suffused with a quality of seeking for the comprehension of things beyond knowledge, a quality that records Roman sensitivity to human limits. The Pantheon exists because of a particular man, but the stirring and eloquent message preserved in the universality of its forms belongs to everyone. This is why it is the temple of the whole world.
William L. MacDonald, The Architecture of the Roman Empire (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1982), p. 121.








One of the most wonderful buildings in the world which conveys its ideas is the Pantheon. The Pantheon is really a world within a world. The client, Hadrian, and the architect, whom I don't know the name of, saw the demand of this pantheonic requirement of no religion, no set ritual, only inspired ritual. He saw the round building, and a very large building. I imagine that he probably thought the building should be at least 300 feet in diameter; he changed his mind because there were no craftsmen who would make such a building, and it was out of the stream of economy. Economy meaning here that there's no man around to do it. I don't mean money--I don't mean budget--I mean economy. And so the Pantheon is now a hundred and some feet in diameter. The dome, the first real dome made, was conceived with a window to the sky. Not because of ethereal reasons, but because it's the least distracting, the one that is most transcending. And there is a demand from saying nothing specific, no direction; that's what form says to you, feeling and philosophy. It says no direction to this . . . no oblong . . . a square not satisfying here . . . too far and away at the corners. The round building is something which is irrefutable as an expression of a world within a world.
Louis I. Kahn (Alessandra Latour, ed.), Writings, Lectures, Interviews (New York: Rizzoli, 1991), p. 151.

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