What Is The Most Important Building For Rome Architecture


Rome’s impressive architectural legacy surpasses even the most remarkable buildings in any city across the world. From grand religious edifices like St. Peter’s Basilica to the iconic Colosseum, the city is home to some of the world’s most remarkable architectural feats. But, of the many incredible structures in Rome, which one holds the title of being the most important building for Roman Architecture?

The Pantheon

The Pantheon claims the title of being the most influential building for Roman architecture as it stands as one of the most intact, and impressive, ancient monuments of its kind in the world. The Pantheon is a temple built by the Roman emperor Hadrian, and first opened in 126 A.D. For thousands of years, this circular, domed building has overlooked the city while amassing a compelling legacy that has left its mark on some of the world’s most iconic structures.
Built in the traditional Roman style, the Pantheon consists of a large, centrally placed oculus that allows light to pour into the building. This design has become synonymous with the way many great cathedrals in the Western world are now constructed, as the modern idea of light entering from the ceiling could be first seen within the Pantheon. Moreover, the size of the Pantheon has been celebrated for thousands of years, and no building in the world prior to this was ever built in such a way.

The Colosseum

It would be a crime to talk about the most important buildings for Roman Architecture without discussing the iconic Colosseum. Built by the Ancient Romans between 72-80 A.D, the Colosseum is one of the most recognized pieces of architecture in the world and has become a symbol of Imperial Rome. Although it was initially built to bring public entertainment to the masses in the form of gladiator battles, the Colosseum has become a symbol of Roman strength and power as it remains standing to this day.
The Colosseum is constructed of strong, concrete and volcanic rock and stands as a classic example of architectural excellence. It is estimated that the Colosseum’s ground floor is enough to house over 420,000 standing people, while 209statues of gods and godesses adorn the upper levels. This monumental structure is an impeccable example of the sheer size and grandeur of the powerful Roman Empire, and its iconic status ensures it will remain as such for many more years to come.

The Roman Forum

The Roman Forum is another key component of Rome’s architectural landscape, and for centuries perhaps the most important. This public space is a collection of political, religious and commercial buildings, ruins and ruins of ruins. Although it can be hard to imagine, the Forum was the bustling centre of a rapidly developing city-state.
Sources suggest that, throughout the Roman Republic, this sophisticated space was a hub for day-to-day activities such as debates, quarrels and auctions taking place; not to mention the newly built structures which significantly improved the city’s infrastructure. Among the many buildings in the Forum, the Senate house and Rostra stand out due to the importance these structures had in the running of the state.

Rome’s Impact on Architecture

Rome’s influence on architecture can be found far beyond the city’s walls. Over the centuries, architects, academics and lovers of art alike have studied Ancient Rome’s buildings and aspects of their design in order to implement them in their own work.
One of the most iconic structures that has been influenced by Roman architecture is the Renaissance founder of the United States Capitol Building in Washington. This neoclassical building mirrors the Pantheon in the shape of the building and its interior while the Senate House and Rostra in the Forum can be seen as influencing the exterior design. The same applies to many cathedrals throughout Europe that mimic the Pantheon’s oculus and take a much richer and more direct nod to Roman architecture.

Technological Advances

It’s also interesting to note that Rome has achieved much of its innovation and grandeur from the use of existing technologies. As one of the earliest cities in the world, Rome needed to make use of the limited understanding of engineering and architecture it had access to.
The use of the Arch and the corinthian order is testament to the innovative ability of The Roman’s to use what knowledge they had in order to create buildings with durability and aesthetic appeal. Furthermore, the implementation of the rotunda and dome allowed the Roman’s to build ceilings such as the Pantheon’s and to transport the same principles to cathedrals across the world.

Preservation Efforts

Another aspect worth considering when discussing Roman Architecture is the efforts taken to preserve these buildings, many of which are 2,000 years old. Buildings like the Colosseum and Pantheon have been structurally restored, but not renovated, thereby allowing for each to preserve its purpose and add the feel of antiquity.
Many experts suggest that the preservation of these buildings has been a key factor in their longevity, as the lack of destruction, modernization and relocation has given thebuildings the time to stand their own test of time. Moreover, the maintenance and restoration efforts of many organizations have proven invaluable as some of these structures are, quite literally, irreplaceable.

Changing Nature of Roman Architecture

Throughout the centuries, Roman architecture has changed both in structure and purpose and this is worth considering when discussing its continued importance in the modern world. Whereas initially the purpose of these buildings may have been to emphasise the power and grandeur of the Roman Empire, many of them now take on a new form, that of tourist attractions and monuments.
This shift has been due in large part to the efforts to ensure the legacy of these buildings are preserved and appreciated. Whereas previously visitors to Rome would come to experience the power of the Roman Empire, visitors now come to marvel at the beauty and artistry of the Colosseum, the Pantheon and more.
The changing nature of these buildings highlights their importance and cultural influence, as the need to maintain and appreciate these structures demonstrates the current appreciation for them.

Interpretations of Roman Architecture

The influence that Roman architecture has had on the international world of construction, monuments and more has been undeniable; and this influence can today be seen in unique and new interpretations of the same structures.
One example of this is seen in the designer label Moschino, who’s founder Franco Moschino was heavily inspired by the art, architecture and culture of Ancient Rome. His designs often imitate the statues and architecture synonymous with Roman traditions while engaging with the past in a new and innovative way.
Furthermore, one classic example is Jean-Paul Gaultier’s “toga” dress which was featured in one of his couture collections of the 1980’s. The dress is in the form of a toga and is meant to honor the traditional garments of Ancient Rome. These interpretations of Roman architecture highlight its importance as fashion pieces of its time and beyond, and demonstrates the ongoing influence of Roman Architecture.

Analysis of Roman Architecture

When looking at the architectural landscape within Rome, it is clear that many of the buildings have stood the test of time and have become of the most well known monuments in the world. What must be remembered however, is that these buildings have grown and shaped their purpose to fit the time.
The Pantheon, for example, is no longer a temple that was used in Ancient Rome to pray to their gods, but sacred nonetheless in a different, modern form. Additionally, the Colosseum is no longer the place of bloodshed and violence, but instead a reminder of profound heritage and everlasting architecture.
These two buildings and more, showcase the importance of Roman Architecture like no other as they have been able to withstand the test of time; an iconic reminder of how influential and important Roman Architecture was, and still is, to Rome and the world.


When people today look to Roman architecture, they are not merely admiring the structures and their beauty; they are gazing upon a legacy that hundreds of years ago, changed the construction and architecture of the Western world for generations to come. The impressive collection of monuments, edifices and archaeological sites work in tandem to create an astonishing array of architecture that any city would be proud to have.
But, upon looking into the importance of Roman architecture, it is clear that the Pantheon, the Colosseum and the Roman Forum rank amongst the most impressive and influential of these. The impact these three buildings have had, and continue to have, on the world is simply undeniable.

Anita Johnson is an award-winning author and editor with over 15 years of experience in the fields of architecture, design, and urbanism. She has contributed articles and reviews to a variety of print and online publications on topics related to culture, art, architecture, and design from the late 19th century to the present day. Johnson's deep interest in these topics has informed both her writing and curatorial practice as she seeks to connect readers to the built environment around them.

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