When Inigo Jones introduced Italian architectural ideas into Britain, he also brought a new kind of roof structure that facilitated the construction of large scale spaces. The unsupported ceilings of the Banqueting House and St Paul’s, Covent Garden, were both over 50 ft and although similar spans had been built before, they had relied upon quite different structural methods which created a distinct architecture. The roofs of Westminster Hall and those of many lesser halls, like those at the Oxford and Cambridge colleges, used either arch or hammer-beam forms whose open structures dominated the rooms. These structures were quite unsuited to providing flat ceilings or roofs which, when required, had relied upon massive tie beams. Instead of this rather crude structural method, Inigo Jones supported his flat ceilings and roofs by using the much more efficient trussed roofs which were in use in Italy at the time and were shown in the drawings of Palladio and Serlio. These structures allowed large spans to be constructed with timbers of smaller scantling, particularly for the tie beam which no longer needed to carry the full weight of the roof and which no longer needed to be built in a single length. It might be argued that the use of this new structural form was essential to the development of the new classical style of architecture in England but, although he was the first architect to use it on any scale in Britain, the influence of Inigo Jones on its subsequent use and development is questionable because of the interruption to building by the Civil War and the re-discovery of the form by others thereafter.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.