13 February 2009

and onto rome

as we concluded class this week, we had made our way in the FOUNDATIONS unit and learned that rome, in terms of architecture and design speaks a language of SURFACE on an innovative system of STRUCTURE made possible by the use of CONCRETE. as we contemplated two specific buildings (the coloseum and the pantheon), it occurred to me the importance of thinking about the impact of these buildings in the city in which they sat. rome, as the seat of the roman empire, received the largest of the public buildings built in the republic, among them the coloseum. so in terms of SCALE, this large structure suggests that SIZE does indeed matter. as a roman citizen, to see the interior of the sumptuous pantheon with its seven altars and its incredibly rich surface decoration must have been an amazing treat, in light of the fact that not many buildings were quite so public nor quite so opulent. in this instance, the SURFACE treatment reifies the COSMOLOGY of rome in physical form, making the concept of the universe a physical one, re-SCALED to the roman landscape in the city. alongside this more lofty exercise, you learned about the base motivations for some emporers and leaders in roman society in both triumphal columns + arches...a subject ripe with gendered and sexual overtones. look for wu-wus...they ARE all around you.

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