Structural Engineering Slide Library

Historic domes

Thumbnail Image Image-GoddenE2 The Pantheon. The present building was built in the reign of the Emperor Hadrian (AD 75-138), in spite of the inscription on the portico: "Marcus, son of Lucius, Consul for the third time, built this." With a diameter of 43.30m, the dome was the largest in the world until modern times (St. Peter's Rome, 42.52m; St. Paul's London, 31m) (Rome, Italy)
Thumbnail Image Image-GoddenE3 The Pantheon from floor level to base of dome. The building is a circular drum in form, capped with the dome. Walls are concrete faced with brick, and the dome is concrete. (Rome, Italy)
Thumbnail Image Image-GoddenE4 The Pantheon showing the dome from its base to the open 8.9m diameter oculus at the top. The dome varies in thickness from 5.9m at the base to 1.5m at the apex. Height of the dome is 22m above its base. The apex is 37m above the floor and this is the same dimension as the inside diameter of the drum. The exact method of construction has never been determined. (Rome, Italy)
Thumbnail Image Image-GoddenE5 The Pantheon showing the brick facing at the top of the drum. Walls of the drum are 6m thick, and as shown here are strengthened by large brick arches and piers. The mortar is high quality and the aggregate was carefully selected and varies from heavy basalt at the base of the drum to light pumice at the top of the dome. (Rome, Italy)
Thumbnail Image Image-GoddenE6 The Sultan Ahmet Mosque (Blue Mosque) built 1609-1616, is at the center of a complex of Ottoman buildings. The central dome rests on four pointed arches with corner pendentives. These in turn rest on four very large piers, each about 5 ft. in diameter. There are six minarets: 4 at the corners of the main structure and 2 at the outer wall of the courtyard. The Blue Mosque, like other Ottoman monuments, was built in emulation of the Byzantine Hagia Sophia built 532-537 AD. (Istanbul, Turkey)
Thumbnail Image Image-GoddenE7 Inside the Hagia Sophia looking upward into the dome. One of the world's great domes, built in 563, it has a diameter of 107 ft., a rise of 50 ft. at the crown, and covers a 107-ft. square crossing. It is constructed of bricks 27 in. square at the base and 24 in. square at the apex, all 2 in. thick, with approximately 2 in. thick mortar joints. and the apex is 180 ft. above the floor. The 40 radial curved ribs terminate through the 40 windows at the base of the dome. This dome replaced the original and flatter dome, with a rise of approximately 41 ft., which collapsed in an earthquake in 558. (Istanbul, Turkey)
Thumbnail Image Image-GoddenE7.1 Exterior view of the Hagia Sophia, built 532-537 AD under the direction of Justinian I, and considered a masterpiece of Byzantine architecture. It was the first large rectangular building with crossing to be covered with a dome. The 107-ft. square crossing has four massive stone piers supporting four semi-circular arches and four pendentives upon which the dome rests. The apex of the dome is 180 ft. above the floor. The large half dome seen on the side ofs the building acts as a buttress. (Istanbul, Turkey)
Thumbnail Image Image-GoddenE8 St. Mark's Basilica. Fine example of Byzantine architecture. Built in the form of a Greek cross, with a 42 ft. diameter dome in the center and smaller domes rising over each arm. It was completed in 1071. (Venice, Italy)
Thumbnail Image Image-GoddenE9 St. Mark's Basilica. View upwards into one of the smaller domes. The inner surfaces of all the domes are covered with Biblical pictures in glass mosaics. The inner shells of the domes are less than half the height of the outer shells which are supported on circular drums. (Venice, Italy)
Thumbnail Image Image-GoddenE10 Piazza dei Miracoli. This square, as well as including the famous 'leaning tower' (in the background) contains two buildings, each with interesting domes: the Baptistry (foreground) and the Romanesque Cathedral completed in AD 1118. The cathedral dome is elliptical in form. (Pisa Italy)
Thumbnail Image Image-GoddenE11 View of the Baptistry (background) and the Cathedral domes of Pisa taken from the top of the Campanile. Due to the subsequent closing of the Campanile this view can no longer be seen. The 60 ft. diameter Baptistry is covered with an outer hemispherical roof that is pierced by a conical dome covering the interior space. (Pisa, Italy)
Thumbnail Image Image-GoddenE12 The Santa Maria Del Fiore Cathedral dome (Il Duomo)(background) and base of the Campanile (foreground). Florence, Italy. The dome is difficult to photograph due to the proximity of surrounding buildings. The design of the dome was awarded in 1421 to Filippo Brunelleschi, a goldsmith by training, in a competition. It took 14 years to build. (Florence, Italy)
Thumbnail Image Image-GoddenE13 Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral Dome (Il Duomo), Florence. The diameter of the dome is 45.4 m, its apex is 90 m above the floor and is capped with a 26 m high lantern. The dome, built on an octagonal drum, consists of inner and outer shells and is Gothic in form. It is considered one of the masterpieces of engineering. (Florence, Italy)
Thumbnail Image Image-GoddenE13.1 Dome of St. Peter's. Associated with the name of Michelangelo, though considerably altered from his original design. Completed in 1590, the dome is 138 ft. in diameter, and its apex is 400 ft above floor level. The external ribs can be seen. The lantern was a later addition. (For Piazza, see GoddenF5) (Rome, Italy)
Thumbnail Image Image-GoddenE14 Close-up view of St. Peter's dome taken from the roof of the basilica. Completed in 1590, the dome is 138 ft. in diameter, and its apex is 400 ft above floor level. The external ribs can be seen. Lantern was a later addition. (Rome, Italy)
Thumbnail Image Image-GoddenE15 Inside St. Peter's. The building is in the form of a cross with the dome supported above the crossing. Slide shows the four massive 60 ft. square columns that support the weight of the dome. (Rome, Italy)
Thumbnail Image Image-GoddenE16 Inside St. Peter's, looking up into the dome. It can be seen that the dome rests on a short drum which includes the windows. The drum, but not the dome, was completed at the time of Michelangelo's death in 1564. Iron chains have been added to the dome at different times since its construction to prevent it spreading at the base. (Rome, Italy)
Thumbnail Image Image-GoddenE17 St. Paul's Cathedral. Designed in classical Baroque style by Sir Christopher Wren (see also Wren's beam grid in GoddenF71 - F72). Built in 1710, it replaced Old St. Paul's which was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666. (London, England)
Thumbnail Image Image-GoddenE18 Dome of St. Paul's Cathedral. The dome is 112 ft in diameter and the cross on top is 365 ft above the floor. It is a complex structure consisting of an outer shell, intermediate brick cone strengthened with a double chain and which supports the heavy lantern, and an inner shell. (London, England)
Thumbnail Image Image-GoddenE19 View inside St. Paul's Cathedral showing the structure of the crossing that supports the dome. Eight columns are used in this design, in contrast to the four columns used in St. Peters, Rome. (London, England)
Thumbnail Image Image-GoddenE20 View inside St. Paul's Cathedral looking upward into the dome (compare to a similar view of St. Peter's dome in GoddenE16). Seen in this slide is the separate inner shell which was made shorter for aesthetic reasons. (London, England)
Thumbnail Image Image-GoddenE21 U.S. Capitol Building. Completed in 1863, the 287 ft. high cast iron dome on top of the building was based on Michelangelo's design for the dome in St. Peter's Basilica, Rome.
Thumbnail Image Image-GoddenE22 Gallery Vittorio Emanuele II. Constructed in 1865, this large covered arcade has a dome at the crossing in the style of a cathedral. The dome apex is 160 ft above the floor, and is a good example of a dome constructed from radial ribs and circumferential hoops. (Milan, Italy)

Set E: Domes and Shells Next