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Shell Structures

Theory and Application

Shell Structures


Abstract Shells, and in particular domes, have a symbolic meaning in many of the world’s civilizations. Some of the most iconic structures incorporate domes as their architectural center piece. Interestingly, most of these structures are religious gathering places, shrines, or temples and are found in cathedrals, stupas, mausoleums,

and mosques. The symbolism of domes is of ancient origin and is associated with deity and the celestial expanse of the heavens. The home of the ancients appeared to be under a heavenly dome, and the circle of the dome, a never ending line, is a symbol of eternity. This symbolism continues to this day, but has evolved over the centuries to include other closely associated meanings. Alexander the Great, and early Persian rulers, adopted domes in their architecture to symbolize their divine authority and power (Smith, The dome: study in the history of ideas. Princeton University Press, New Jersey, 1950; Hiscock, The symbol at your door. s.l.:SP Birkhauser Verlag Basel, 2010).

This practice has endured to modern times, and domes are seen in some of the most famed Architectures, such as the US Capitol Building, the Vatican, and many other religious and governmental buildings around the world. The intent is to portray strength, influence, legitimacy of power, and piety.For these reasons, religious and centers of government will always include domes in their architecture.

Shells, and in particular domes, have a symbolic meaning in many of the world’s civilizations. Some of the most iconic structures incorporate domes as their architectural center piece. Interestingly, most of these structures are religious gathering places, shrines, or temples and are found in cathedrals, stupas, mausoleums, and mosques. The symbolism of domes is of ancient origin and is associated with deity and the celestial expanse of the heavens. The home of the ancients appeared to be under a heavenly dome, and the circle of the dome, a never ending line, is a symbol of eternity. This symbolism continues to this day, but has evolved over the centuries to include other closely associated meanings. Alexander the Great, and early Persian rulers, adopted domes in their architecture to symbolize their divine authority and power (Smith 1950; Hiscock 2010). This practice has endured to modern times, and domes are seen in some of the most famed architectures, such as the US Capitol Building, the Vatican, and many other religious and governmental buildings around the world. The intent is to portray strength, influence, legitimacy of power, and piety.
For these reasons, religious and centers of government will always include domes in their architecture.

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