I could still see the marble hanging from the structure and the statues soaking in the sun in the roughly 200 arches encircling the pit within. The smell of baked sand and the roar of a blood-thirsty crowd was heavy in my senses, I was there. I stood side by side my predestined enemy as we both breathed in the fumes cascading into the maze from exotic beasts, tigers, lions, wolves and the torches that lit up a world that had no night or day. It was erotic, to feel the adrenaline bursting through my veins as the secret doors opened us to the light and we were let out to die.
Twelve years old and on top of the ancient world, the memory of my virgin voyage to the Colosseum continues to produce vivid images that have cemented into the deepest routes of my body. Looking upon this mammoth construction transpires a range of emotions and thoughts regarding architecture from a simple wonder to the utterly extraordinary! Today, human beings possess every tool and skill imaginable to make this job an achievable one, yet when was the last time a constructor has built a venue of such beauty and magnificence? I could not tell you.
The tools, the ingenuity, the processes and the willpower needed to erect a building of such proportion, before a time of bulldozers, powered tools and sky-high cranes, would not be in consideration with the people of today. Imagine drafting the structure before computers, or marking the foundation line without a surveyor., Iimpossible? Not to the Empire who had conquered the civilized world with sharp metal and wooden sticks. This was a challenge, and boy did they conquer it well. As the great emperor Julius Caesar said, after the Battle of Zela in modern day Turkey, “Veni Vidi Vici.”
The architects of today have a huge degree of inspiration available to them, stemming from the ancient empire. Think BC Place and its circular structure that sits 55,000 strong, or the Vancouver Public Library with its tiers of windows separated by columns. The adaptations and interpretations of not only the Colosseum, but of the everlasting wonderings of all Roman architecture.