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Similarities of Two Buildings in Two Different Eras
Architects, artists and many other careers often get inspired by one another. Many modern architectures nowadays have advantages over the architecture in the past because of the advanced technology we have nowadays. However, despite architects having more choices and freedom to design, they still share similar core ideas and possibly apply the same design process or thoughts. Pantheon was a temple designed by the emperor Hadrian and built in 27-25 BC, and yet we could still see the influence of the building in the contemporary architecture. According to the book “Buildings across Time”, Pantheon is considered to be the greatest circular-plan Roman Temple and the most influential building in Western architectural history due to the perfected architecture of Rome at its time. While the Cathedral of Brasilia, a church designed by Oscar Niemeyer in Brazil and built on May 31st, 1970, has similarities to the temple of Pantheon. Pantheon and Cathedral of Brasilia, although they are buildings designed in two different eras, both uses form to achieve what they want through their architectural elements.
Pantheon and Cathedral of Brasilia were built for religious purpose, however they had different concepts and ideas. Pantheon was dedicated to 12 gods of heaven and focused on Augustus’ cult and Romans believed that Romulus ascended to heaven from this spot. The shape of the building used to be rectangular before emperor Hadrian redesigned it. Hadrian made Pantheon as a religious place for all religions during his reign, not only local Romans God because Hadrian traveled so much. He admired Greek and respect other religions. Until Constantinople became their leader, there were too many people who believe in Christianity and he decides to convert Rome to become Christianity to stop the strife between Christians and Romans and the slaughtering of Christians. On the other hand, the Cathedral of Brasilia was intended to be built as a church. The Cathedral of Brasilia is a Catholic church. Thus, although they are both churches, they were built for and had different concepts and ideas.
Pantheon and Cathedral of Brasilia are designed differently through their concept of façade. Pantheon has a façade and an entrance, which is obviously on the front side on the corinthian columns. This is a very formal and powerful entrance for Pantheon, and it fits the power that Roman empire had before. On the other hand, the Cathedral of Brasilia’s design is about purity from any perspective. One of the most important concept by Neimeyer is the circular structure that prevents the existence of a façade. Even the entrance is also hidden to prevent any façade. Thus, Pantheon and Cathedral of Brasilia’s design and concept of façade are different from one another.
Pantheon and Cathedral of Brasilia, both use columns to symbolize power through their architecture. Pantheon uses Corinthian columns and Cathedral of Brasilia uses curved concrete columns. Their perspective of power is different since they are from two distinct eras. In the article “Symbolism of Roman Columns”, Edwards says “Unlike the simpler, unadorned Doric columns, Roman Corinthian columns were illustriously sculpted and at times used as victory columns to commemorate success in military campaigns.” Thus, by having Corinthian columns, Pantheon uses the definition of Corinthian columns as their symbol of power. However, nowadays, power has many different definitions. In 1958, president Juscelino Kubitschek wanted the city to become a pillar of development in the north east of Brazil. When steel structures have been invented during that time, reinforced steel and concrete was already possible, and in this case, any form or shape could be made. Although, works that require more engineering would require much money. In addition, money could also symbolize power. On the research article, The Symbolic Power of Money, they say “One possible implication of this finding is that money provides a feeling of confidence that problems can be solved, and needs can be met, and such confidence, in turn, renders people less likely to care about others’ approval.”. The winner of a design competition, Oscar Niemeyer, had to design a building that could attract people. In this case, the Cathedral of Brasilia use curved concrete columns to attract and show wealth to the public. In the end, Pantheon and Cathedral of Brasilia, both uses their architecture to gain power, although they were aiming for different definitions of power.

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