Domus Aurea
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Architect Severus and Celer
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Location Rome, Italy   map
Date 64   timeline
Building Type palace, villa, large house
 Construction System bearing masonry
Climate mediterranean
Context urban
Style Ancient Roman
Notes Palace of the Emperor Nero.







Axonometric Drawing

Plan Drawing

Plan Drawing

Discussion Domus Aurea Commentary

"The Domus Aurea (Golden House), Rome (A.D. 64-68 and possibly later), was built or begun by Nero after the great fire in A.D. 64. It was less a palace than a series of pavilions and a long wing comprising living and reception rooms, all set in a vast landscaped park with an artificial lake in its centre where the Colosseum now stands. Most of it has largely disappeared. The main architectural interest lies in the wing just referred to, known as the Esquiline wing, which stood a little to the north of the lake and was subsequently built over to form part of the enclosure of the Baths of Trajan. It most resembled the country and seaside portico villas of Campagna, and was open to the views of and beyond the lake. The more westerly part, which was certainly of Nero's time, also had a peristyle behind the faŤade. In the centre, the faŤade was set back, following three sides and two half-sides of an octagon. To the right of this was the less conventionally planned eastern part, which contained the feature of greatest importance and originality. This was an octagonal hall roofed by a concrete dome, 14.7 m (50 ft) across the corners, and open on all sides to the garden or to surrounding smaller rooms—as far as is known the first appearance in a building of this kind of a new concept of interior space which was to come increasingly to the fore over the next half-century."

—Sir Banister Fletcher. A History of Architecture. p246.


On Appian Hill, northeast of the Colluseum.

Sources on Domus Aurea

Roger H. Clark and Michael Pause. Precedents in Architecture. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1985. balance diagram, p180. — Updated edition available at

Sir Banister Fletcher. A History of Architecture. Boston: Butterworths, 1987. ISBN 0-408-01587-X. NA200.F63 1987. discussion, p246. — The classic text of architectural history. Expanded 1996 edition available at

William L. MacDonald. The Architecture of the Roman Empire I. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1982. ISBN 0-300-02818-0. LC 81-16513. NA310.M2. analytical drawing of the octagon, plate 31. plan drawing of octagon, plate 30.

Ernest Nash. Pictorial Dictionary of Rome. 2nd Ed, rev. V.1. New York: Frederick A. Praeger, Publishers, 1961. Photo of rooms at the south-west corner of the peristyle, plate 408, p340. Photo showing construction of the cupola and openings for lighting of the octagonal hall, plate 416, p346. Photo of the octagonal domed room in the east wing, plate 417, p346. Photo of remains of walls in front of the facade of the main palace with the southern exedra of the Baths of Trajan, plate 418, p347.

Henri Stierlin. Comprendre l'Architecture Universelle 1. Paris: Office du Livre S.A. Fribourg (Suisse), 1977. axonometric drawing, p79. no image credit.

Kevin Matthews. The Great Buildings Collection on CD-ROM. Artifice, 2001. ISBN 0-9667098-4-5.— Available at  Find books about Domus Aurea


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