Arch 1121 D534                                                                                                                                hwk #05 05/03/20

Mon 1130-1400 V308  /ZOOM Conf.                                                                                         week 8 hybrid segment

Prof. R. Zagaroli                                                                                                                                Perez Max


Pantheon and Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia comes out of the Byzantine Period. Justinian’s era was used to make the transition from Christian to Byzantine because there was significant use of domes over the square type prop lintel or truss types roofs. This is a probability, at the most its the evident use of domes over any rectilinear form that severely differentiates¬† Byzantine from Early Christian or maybe classical Roman Architecture.

The Pantheon on the other hand evolved from the early basilica plans, such that it contained the very idea of a public building or design.  The Pantheon is from the Earlier Christian and Roman Temples Era. It was later converted into Sancta Maria.

The Pantheon is recognized as a very important public design specific to its time period and present western architecture.  Hagia Sophia comes later and as such the  design evolved specifically from the Pantheon because it preceded the idea of both worship and public buildings.  Its similar conversion was not from a Roman to Christian,  rather from Christian to Saracenic.

Both Byzantine and Early Christian used somewhat similar basilica plans over Roman Temples, both periods can be seen to be using dome-apse-transept layouts . Both designs used early forms of basilicas not from the modern day apse nave transept layout of the modern Christian floor plans.¬† Even if there is a dome structure in the former, it is singular, contrast that to Hagia’s where minor domes and vaults are found in 4 exadrae, as opposed to a unifying dome from the¬† Pantheon.

The use of the dome-apse-transept varies significantly.¬† Hagia Sophia’s apse juts out of the entire enclosure whereas Pantheon’s apse is contained within the ambulatory¬† path where the main hall is contained. This¬† places Hagia’s apse to be isolated whereas Pantheon’s apse can be seen from the hall itself. Another difference is how Hagia’s plan contains the naos while the Pantheon’s naos¬† can be identified upon transition from the pronaos. that is not to say Hagia Sophia’s¬† naos is vague. Rather Hagia Sophia’s naos has that sudden expanse more dramatic, whereas Pantheon has more of an official demarcation of space order.


Another major difference is the traditional roman plan of having the naos/main hall to have a portico/pornaos. The Pantheon demonstrates this ¬†hierarchy where portico to main hall is transitioned. whereas Hagia Sophia’s has a shorter transition and thereby ushering the viewer immediately to the main room as if to push the viewer to peer into its grandoise dome and ceiling, like shock value .

Roman temples have a rectangular enclosure (cella) set on a base where it is accessed by steps leading to a porch. This was the original adaptation of the Pantheon’s floor plan but the hall was converted into a circular enclosure to allow ambulatory access, similar to roman forums where viewers could see the speakers from around the podium or speaker¬† area. If Hagia Sophia’s¬† grand idea was to enlarge that scale of a domed forum,¬† by popping exadrae and more light, it wanted to make more airy rooms over Sancta Maria’s¬† large elevated dome. The oculus which makes use of light not only draws the viewer but that it permits gradual lighting into the cella. The Pantheon evolved from the early basilica plans, such that it contained the very idea of a public building with specialized functions. ¬†Hagia Sophia comes later and as such the¬† design evolved specifically from the Pantheon but deviates in its elaborate version of the Pantheon.

The formality of the Pantheon, is different even without style, Hagia Sophia is too elaborate almost an early baroque somewhat, compare that to the Pantheon which is very formal, that structure and function follows through distinctly.

Paragraph using the  Vocabulary list

Hagia Sophia effortlessly weaves the formality of the Pantheon and the almost baroque ornate traits of the byzantine by defining and redefining the former’s formality into 4 lavish exadrae, half domes and a main central dome. Its billowing aisles transform the idea of the apse transept into a what if the Pantheon had an offspring situation.

The interior volume of the Hagia Sophia is contrasted and defined by its multi use of the barrels and vaults as opposed to the massive ¬†singular cella of the Pantheon. In a way Hagia Sophia is structurally daring in contrast to the former’s technical design massive and difficult yet creates the illusion of simplicity. ¬†If the Pantheon is hailed as ethereal because of the way it pulls together, design and¬† semantics, Hagia Sophia is too profane in that it is embellished in not only religion but of its shock value to usher the viewer into its embedded naos .The Pantheon is one of formal and royalty whereas Hagia’s is more worldly majestic celebration of what architectural possibilities.

To cap both structures have equal visual satisfaction , to views and the sense of massive stability which can only be attributed to the technical know how of roman architects and builders. (more…)