The oldest wooden building still standing, the oldest standing building still in regular use and a magnificently iconic building very close to our hearts. Here are some of our favourite examples of architectural gems that have withstood the arduous test of time.
Located in the Kansai region of Japan, near the city of Nara, stands a complex of temples called Horyuji (meaning Temple of the Flourishing Law). Whilst the majority of buildings in the complex were built some time before 800AD, the original pagoda structure was built approximately around the year 600AD, making it one of the oldest wooden structure still standing. At 122 feet in height, the wood used in the central pillar of the five-storey pagoda is estimated to have been felled in the year 594AD and it is believed that the main timber used is cypress. Below the surface of the huge foundation stone, the central pillar stretches three metres into the ground.
The Pantheon as we know it today was built by Emperor Hadrian in 120AD. It is the most well preserved ancient Roman monument and the only structure of its age and size that has survived the damage of time still intact and still in regular use. Hadrian was passionate about architecture, he and Apollodorus of Damascus (a famous Greek architect of his time) designed it together. Originally a pagan temple, it was turned into a church in 609AD which historians believe is what saved it from being destroyed during the Middle Ages. It has been said that the structure itself is very much ahead of its time, the composition of the material used is unknown, but it appears to be similar in its form to modern day concrete. The dome at the top is known to be the largest unsupported dome in the world. There are 16 Corinthian columns supporting the Portico, each weighing a colossal 60 tonnes and standing at 39 feet tall, 5 feet in diameter; they are said to have come all the way from Egypt.
St Paul’s Cathedral
Atop the highest point of the City of London sits St Paul’s Cathedral, mother church of the Diocese of London. This Grade 1 listed building dates back to the 17th century, although the original church on the site (destroyed in the Great Fire of London) was founded in 604AD. This magnificent stone structure in our capital city was designed by the late architect Sir Christopher Wren; it took 10 years to design and a further 40 years to build, thus making it the most extensive building project of the age. From 1710 to 1967 it was the tallest building in London, standing at an extraordinary 365 feet, to this day it is still one of the largest churches in the world. The dome which has dominated the London skyline since its creation is the second largest in the world and can be accessed only after climbing 259 steps!
Here at Green Structural Engineering we create structures that last the test of time. If you’re thinking about making an alteration to your property be it an extension, basement conversion or any other structural change then talk to our experts here.