Against Gravity

Ulrike Wulf-Rheidt

Creating 'Hanging Gardens’
The ability and audaciousness of the architects and engineers to artificially create what nature refused, which blames Tacitus for the construction of the Domus Aurea of Nero, are among the most important features of Roman architecture. To exploit the natural conditions and even to strengthen and to exaggerate it with the construction of high substructures has not only influenced the Roman villas, but also the Roman palace. The main floor of the Domus Aurea and subsequently also of the palaces on the Palatine stood on a high basement and so dominated not only the surrounding city, but also offered a privileged view of the city. By integrating a variety of water installations in these large platforms the aspect of creating an artificial landscape in form of a 'hanging garden' was increased. The paper aims to show how the construction and design of this 'hanging gardens' were developed as elements from the villa architecture in the palace architecture.