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Romans models for building design

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Marble miniature podium and temple stairs in Niha, Lebanon
Marble miniature podium and temple stairs in Niha, Lebanon

In the process of building design and construction, the ancient Romans used scaled models that helped to design buildings and present their final form to clients.

However, those were not the basic tool for architects, but rather helped to imagine the builder more complex lumps. Models of this type were small – from a dozen to several dozen centimeters, and most probably the majority was made of wood – that is why they have not survived to our times. However, still there are stone Roman models to this day.

The best-preserved example of such a model is the marble miniature of the podium and stairs of the temple in 1:24 scale, discovered near the temple it represents – in Niha, Lebanon. Its working character is evidenced by inscriptions engraved on the object, meaning the dimensions of the actual structure in the feet. A similar model was found in Ostia; two alternative colonnades were presented on it. Probably both examples were equipped with a removable wooden superstructure allowing to look inside.

Author: Dominik Stachowiak
Sources
  • Taylor, R., 2003, Roman builders: a study in architectural process, Cambridge, University Press, 32-36.

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