Monday, November 07, 2011

The Other Place


I was invited to a graduation ceremony at The Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford on Saturday which was great fun. The Sheldonian is so-called because it was funded, in 1664, by Gilbert Sheldon, Archbishop of Canterbury and a former Warden of All Souls. It was designed by a young Christopher Wren, then Professor of Astronomy at Oxford and with little practical experience of building. He wanted to base the design on that of a Roman theatre. Roman theatres were, of course, open air and so the problem was how build the same structure in Oxford with a roof but without any load-bearing columns in the central space. Wren designed a roof truss spanning seventy feet, a technical achievement which gained him enormous credit in scientific and architectural circles.
The truss is concealed by a ceiling painted by Robert Streater. The theme is the triumph of the Arts and Sciences over Envy, Rapine and "brutish scoffing ignorance".

3 Comments:

Anonymous Portinari said...

The only problem with the Sheldonian is that it was built for 17th century people. I sat through the whole St Matthew Passion (JS Bach) and I was almost unable to stand at the end. Talk of Ryan Air leg space!
Portinari

10:13 am  
Blogger Tom said...

This is a very nice piece of architecture.

roof trusses adelaide

8:13 am  
Blogger Winchester whisperer said...

Greetings, Portinari - poor you! I am also told it's wise to take a cushion to sit on.

8:20 am  

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