The Colosseum is a huge building, measuring 188m by 156m and reaching a height of 48 meters.The people who built the Colosseum used many new techniques to make the building more safe, sturdy, and enjoyable. One technique that increased saftey was creating a lot of entrances/exits. Since the Colosseum could hold 50,000 to 80,000 people, the architects created the Colosseum to have eighty entrances/exits so that if there was some sort of problem such as a riot, people could get out of the building easily. In fact, it was estimated that the whole Colosseum could be evacuated in less than ten minutes!
Cement was a new engineering technique that was used a lot in the Colosseum. Cement was created by combining sand, soil, and water, and was used in many parts of the Colosseum. It was first used to create the foundation. A forty foot trench was made so that the posts that supported the Colosseum could bear all the weight. Cement was also used a lot at the higher levels because it was lighter than tufa stone, which was used on the lower levels.
Standardized parts was a new building technique that the Romans used for the Colosseum. This means that parts such as chairs and steps were built at workshops and later inserted into the Colosseum. This helped the building process go more quickly.
Building arches was another new technique used by the Romans. The halls were barrel vaulted, meaning the roof was curved in a semicircle like an extended arch. Arches were useful because the weight pushes down on the top of the arch and is channeled down the sides so that it is sturdy and safe. This was a very important architectural feature in the Colosseum, as it was used throughout the entire building.
One final technique to make the Colosseum more comfortable for spectators was the Velarium. This was an awning that covered one-third of the arena that provided shade. It was able to be moved around to cover different areas based on where the sun was. There were two hundred and forty supports for it around the top of the Colosseum. Often times sailors worked the Velarium because it was similar to the pulley system on a ship.
The Velarium is similar to the roof of the Cowboy's stadium. Both of them were retractable and provide shade for spectators. They also both were made from fabric, although the roof of Cowboy stadium has more durable fabric. But the roof of Cowboy Stadium covers the entire stadium while the Colosseum only covered a third of it. Also, the Cowboys Stadium retractable roof is operated mechanically, while the Velarium needed a pulley system and people.
Many different workmen were necessary to create the Colosseum. Architects were necessary to design the massive building. Stone masons were also needed, as the Colosseum used stone in many places. The construction foremen helped pour the cement for the foundation. Quarriers were also needed to obtain stone from Tivoli. Artists, painters, and decoraters also helped design the Colosseum by making it look more elegant. Tile mason and marble masons were also used for the design. Finally, brick masons were also used in places such as the foundation.
Plan of the Colosseum
Top view of Colosseum showing what the Velarium would have looked like