OC: The History and Future of Domes

This course reviews the essential principles in designing a dome. It uses the Romans’ Pantheon Dome to introduce the structural elements of domes: meridians, parallels and materials such as concrete. It outlines how modern domes are engineered and what loads must be considered in the design, emphasizing how to calculate the loads on a dome from wind using the ASCE Standard, and how to size I-beams for a modern dome. It also shares the stories behind the building of Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia – a cathedral built 14 centuries ago that can still astonish a modern-day engineer – as well as one of the most revolutionary domes in the history of building: The Duomo (Dome) of the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence. Its double-masonry dome and unique structure allowed its designer to span a greater distance than the Pantheon.