More important than these isolated decorative uses of unveneered and unadorned structures was the creation of a new utilitarian aesthetic parallel to developments in concrete technology under the empire. Key to the understanding of this approach to decoration and ornament are the brick-covered-concrete functional buildings in Rome and Ostia, such as high-rise tenements (insula), commercial buildings, warehouses, and markets (A7, A8, A9). In these structures, such as the Markets of Trajan in Rome (c. A.D. 110), designed by Apollodorus of Damascus, two-toned bricks surfaces, red and yellow, are highlightes by discrete decorative touches in white travertine, all visible without the veneer of stucco or marble. In the great curved facade of the hemicycle of Trajan's Markets classicism itself receives a new interpretation as its stock elements -- pediments, broken-pediments, pilasters and pilaster capitals -- are translated into subtle surface elements of molded brick.





(A10) Ostia's position and steady growth as the burgeoning port city of Rome are underlined by the great variety of utilitarian and semi-utilitarian buildings in the city. For its speed of construction, structural strength (which allowed multi-level buildings), and flexibility, the prefered method of construction in imperial Ostia was brick-faced concrete. These structures, especially the multi-story apartments built for the needs of a growing working-class population, and great commericial buildings, adopted a utilitarian aesthetic (A11, A12, A13). Among the best preserved representatives of this approach in Ostia are the multi-story apartment house called the House of Diana (Casa di Diana) and the warehouse structure known as Horrea Epegathiana (the busy warehouse and business headquarters of the Epegathian brothers) (A14, A15, A16). Both display red-brick surfaces unadorned except for the modest use of a travertive keystone, a balcony console, a string course, a coping trim terminating a parapet wall (A17). The distinctive gateway of Horrea Epegathiana, complete with a brick pediment and specially molded brick Corinthian capitals, illustrates the effortless and creative fusing of practical charm and classical elegance of which the Romans, at their best, were complete masters.





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