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Outstanding Domes

Celebrated examples are Brunelleschi's octagonal ribbed dome for the Cathedral of Florence (1420–36); St. Peter's, Rome, designed by Michelangelo, with two masonry shells (completed 1590), internal diameter 137 ft (42 m); the church of the Invalides, Paris, by J. H. Mansart (1706), 90 ft (27 m); St. Paul's Cathedral, London, by Sir Christopher Wren (1675–1710), 112 ft (34 m); and the Panthéon, Paris, by J. G. Soufflot (1775–81), 69 ft (21 m). The last three domes are built with triple shells, the middle shells serving to support the crowning lanterns.

In the United States the dome of the Massachusetts state capitol, designed (1795) by Charles Bulfinch, established the dome as a distinctive feature for numerous later state capitols as well as for the national Capitol at Washington, D. C. The dome of the latter, however, is of cast iron instead of masonry. The design, by T. U. Walter, has an inner diameter of 90 ft (27 m) and possesses great external impressiveness.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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