Pantheon and Cathedral of Brasilia, both tries to design something unique that was never done before to gain power. Rome used every knowledge that they have to build Pantheon. They incorporated post and lintel, arches, and dome. Although arches had been invented by Sumerians, Rome was credited more because they perfected it. So, they emphasized their invention of dome through their perfected of arches. Before Pantheon was built, there hadn’t been a perfect dome with a sphere shape. According to the article “Pantheon in Rome: The History Behind Its Perfect Ancient Architecture”, Pantheon was the largest dome in the world until Brunelleschi’s dome on the Duomo of Florence was completed in 1436. On the other hand, for the Cathedral of Brasilia, Niemeyer tried to achieve a domelike building in a different way. His inspiration of the building was the shape of Jesus Christ’s crown of thorn and hands of people reaching out the sky. He incorporated the shape of the crown of thorn to make a dome by taking advantage of the steel and concrete property. Steel and concrete are mutually helping each other and work together very well. “Reinforced concrete is the yin-yang composite of building materials. An ancient Chinese science and philosophy, yin and yang are complementary, interacting forces that form a whole greater than their separate parts. Likewise, concrete and steel are totally different materials, but when combined, they create reinforced concrete, the best composite construction material in the world.” (McCraven 2013). Steel is a tensile, elastic and strong material, but it has no resistance to fire, water and very vulnerable to corrosion; while concrete has many compressive strength, concrete’s weakness is being not tensile. According to the website National Precast Concrete Association, if concrete and steel are combined, the results would have the advantages of both concrete and steel while losing the weaknesses of both materials. The strengths would be the combination of absolute strength, ductility, fire resistance, water resistance, have low maintenance, long service life, recyclability, design flexibility, thermal efficiency. This was the reason why the Cathedral of Brasilia can create such structure and shape without having thick walls like Pantheon’s walls. Thus, Pantheon and Cathedral of Brasilia, both tries to invent a new architecture or a new symbol to gain people’s interest in their designs.
Pantheon and Cathedral of Brasilia, both uses their center system of the dome to create a spiritual feeling. Pantheon’s oculus works as a symbol of God. Since Pantheon’s oculus is fully open, sunlight and rains could easily come into the building. Every season of the year, the sunlight would shine different part of the interior of Pantheon. So, people would have different experience when they visit Pantheon on different seasons. Also, the rains would get inside building, right on the center of the building. Thus, the rain would symbolize the gift of God. Pantheon creates that spiritual feeling through connecting humans to the nature which is meant to be God’s gift. On the other hand, the Cathedral of Brasilia, uses the center system of the dome to create a different spiritual feeling. Even though, the center roof is still the main viewing focus of the church, it offers protection from the sun and rain rather than exposing the interior to the nature like what Pantheon has. By offering protection, the center of the dome feels like the safest spot of the building that God provides to us. In the end, Pantheon and Cathedral of Brasilia, both uses their center system differently than one another.