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Diocletian’s Palace: Design and Construction

October 11, 2017 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Diocletian's Palace-Peristyle

Speaker: Goran Nikšić is the City Archaeologist and Architect for City of Split in Croatia (Service for the Old City Core), and the Senior Lecturer on architectural conservation at the University of Split.  He holds his degrees from the University of Zagreb (Ph.D.), the University of York, and the University of Belgrade.  His areas of specialization are architectural conservation and the history of architecture, particularly Roman, Medieval, and Renaissance architecture.  From 2004 on he has served as an expert for ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites).  Dr. Nikšić is an AIA Norton Lecturer for 2017-2018.

Abstract: Although Diocletian’s Palace in Split has been a topic of scientific interest for a long time, there has been no full consensus about some of its basic elements, from the typological definition to the original purpose of the building, from the original appearance of the whole down to the reliable reconstruction of the architectural parts. Traditionally, Diocletian’s Palace has been described as a unique combination of an imperial villa and a typical Roman military camp. Recent research has established the probable original purpose of the complex in Split as the imperial manufacture of textiles. It was later, most likely already during the construction, adapted for the residence of the retired Emperor. Detailed architectural analysis shows that the mistakes in the design and execution, and the unfinished decoration can be explained by the change of architectural concept which occurred probably during the first phase of construction, and by the very short deadline given to the builders by the Emperor who probably retired to his palace in Split earlier than originally planned. Finally, a new interpretation is given of this complex building, in terms of design and construction process.


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