Majolica tiled spires in Sicily. Shape, structure and problems

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOtherpeer-review

Abstract

From the Classical era, the architecture of the Mediterranean were characterized by strong polychrome obtained with various decorative forms by elements of poor workmanship in the building smaller. This decorative forms were more ornate on the monumental architecture; among these the tiles are very present in the border regions.According to the architecture of the Islamic world and the local building culture, the tiles were reworked from surface decorations in brick and shingle, to less frequent three-dimensional elements that can be found in large numbers in the Sicilian area.The spires in majolica wedges, placed at the top of bell towers of urban centers Sicilian, represent striking architectural objects and catch the eye thanks to the shape and color to the vibrant character, until it assumed a role formally conditioning not only for the factory to which they are attached, but for the entire surrounding urban area.Today, the existing spires were reduced because of the collapse of the intrinsic frailty. The research on more than a hundred of these artifacts has allowed us to preliminarily decide on the actual geometrical-formal, from cusps conical or pyramidal, conformations in domed or bulboidi, referring to different systems decorative and constructive and cuneiform brick tiled used to many different forms and sizes. The constructive and decorative characterization was analyzed on the existing spires, that, consequently, has allowed us to recognize and appreciate the ways 'poor' build in small urban centers, highly variable but always original in their simplicity and so different from the rich of religious sites in major cities .From the structural point of view have been identified in which the cusps of the bearing function is entrusted entirely and exclusively to the brick cuneiform conveniently arranged, as an alternative to those in which they have a mere function of coating or only partially assume a primary role static. It has also deepened the complex issue that concerns the arrangement of the wedges had to fulfill the dual function static and decorative.A further distinction is relative to whether they are present or not within the spire same other elements (wood or iron) can provide a contribution of resistance to external stress.The inaccurate results of the consolidation and/or restoration works of these spires show that the peculiar characteristic constructed requires a deep and detailed knowledge to support the operators on the intervention.In fact, the operators are forced to improvise interventions of consolidation, preservation and restoration of these spires and domes ignoring both structural and decorative aspects, underlying forms of damage and decay.
Original languageEnglish
Pages188-196
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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