St Peters Basilica
The Basilica Papale di San Pietro in the Vatican City, commonly known as St. Peter's Basilica, is an Italian Renaissance church located in the papal enclave within Rome, Italy. It is one of the holiest sites in Christendom, is the Pope’s principal church and is a famous site for pilgrimage and liturgical functions.
One of the largest churches in the world, it is thought to have been built on the burial site of St. Peter, one of Christ’s Apostles and the first Pope. Continuing this Catholic tradition, Popes are still buried within the basilica.
The original church dated back to around 320 CE, but construction began on the basilica in 1506 and it was only completed in 1626. Its design involved the greatest ‘Old Masters’ of the Renaissance, including Alberti, Raphael, Bramante, Michelangelo, and Bernini.
 Design and construction
Having fallen into disrepair at the end of the 15th century, the Old St. Peter’s Basilica took a typical basilical form – a wide nave, two aisles on each side and an apsidal end. Originally it was only intended to modify the building, but successive Popes decided it should be demolished and replaced with a more monumental structure. A design competition was held by Pope Julius II, and the design of Donato Bramante selected.
Bramante’s design gave the basilica the form of a Greek Cross with a dome inspired by the Pantheon, but rather than being supported by a continuous circular wall, the new basilica’s dome was designed to be supported on four large piers.
With the death of Bramante in 1514, several others were commissioned, each of whom made alterations to the original design. The iconic dome was designed largely by Michelangelo and built around 1585-1590. It was Michelangelo’s intention to realise the central unity of Bramante’s original design while ensuring the stability of the load-bearing structure through the use of four pendentives and massive piers, 60 ft thick.
The top of the dome reaches 136.6 m (448.1 ft) high, making it one of the tallest buildings of the Old World, and it still remains the tallest dome in the world. However, it no longer holds the distinction of being the largest dome by diameter.
St. Peter’s is approached via St. Peter’s Square, a forecourt encircled by a Doric colonnade derived from Greek architecture. The forecourt is split into two sections, the first oval and the second trapezoid. The basilica’s façade stretches across the end of the square, measuring 51 m (167 ft) high and 114 m (375 ft) wide. The façade was designed by Carlo Maderno and features giant Corinthian columns topped by 13 statues.
The basilica is cruciform in shape, with an elongated nave in the form of a Latin cross, adapted from the original Greek cross by successive architects. The nave is framed by a wide aisle giving access to a number of smaller chapels. The interior is lavishly decorated with marble, reliefs, architectural sculpture and gilding.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Angkor Wat.
- Building of the week series.
- Cathedral of Brasilia.
- Dome of the Rock.
- Florence Cathedral.
- Hagia Sophia.
- Mahabat Maqbara, India.
- Pendentive dome.
- Roman Colosseum.
- St. Basil’s Cathedral.
- St Marks Basilica.
- St. Paul’s Cathedral.
- Taj Mahal.
- Types of dome.
The joint-institute document aims to help maintain cultural heritage by providing a consistent framework across different sectors & geographies
IHBC’s Gus Astley Student Awards 2021: Win £500 and a place on IHBC’s 2022 Aberdeen School with your built environment/heritage coursework, closes 31/07!
The last remaining buildings on the site of the Harris meat factory family’s historic mansion are being restored to their former glory and converted into new homes.
The Construction Industry Coronavirus Forum (CICV Forum) has unveiled a new guide to the crucial and increasingly complex issue of professional indemnity insurance (PII).
ICOMOS has advised that the new football stadium proposal, if implemented, would have a completely unacceptable major adverse impact its authenticity and integrity.
Responding to the changing working patterns of a post-Covid Scotland, the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) has revealed new plans to help retrofit public spaces into out-of-town alternatives to city centre offices.
The free-to-access online issue mixes the topical and practical to explore how the sector can best adapt to digital innovation.
IHBC’s 2021 virtual conference examines how we can best change and sustain places for the benefit of people, led by expert practitioners boasting international, national and local profiles and experiences.
The 2021 winners of the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards have been announced.
England’s Housing Minister has announced a £1.1 million fund to test the use of digital tools and data standards across 10 local areas.