The ‘false vaults’ in the architecture of Sicily

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Abstract

Between the end of the 17th century and the first decades of the 18th, Sicily was struck byseveral violent earthquakes. The total and partial collapse of monumentalbuildings produced a global debate involving various aspects of construction practice. Oneof the central topics of discussion was the construction of domes and large vaultedstructures. Some architects studied the possibility of using so-called ‘false vaults’, a kindof lightweight structure created with a wooden frame, reed mats, and plaster. The techniquewas probably known by the 16th century and was used in a few major monuments, such as thedome of the Palermo Cathedral, in the mid-17th century. It was only after the Earthquake of1726 in Palermo that large vaulted structures were extensively built with thistechnique in important churches. One of the most significant examples, documented bytechnical drawings as well as archival records, is the church of Santa Chiara in Noto, designedby the architect Rosario Gagliardi. The use of ‘false vaults’ as a preventative measure againstseismic damage is well documented in many other monuments. The direct analysis of builtstructures and new documentary evidence allows for the verification of recent theories. Thepaper focus on the construction techniques used in a few selected cases and takes intoconsideration the influences of widely available texts on architectural theory and practice aswell as local building experiences on the genesis of the building process.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)53-70
Numero di pagine18
RivistaConstruction History
Volume30.1
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2015

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Religious buildings
Earthquakes
Plaster
Domes
Earthquake
Sicily
Vault
Palermo
Cathedrals
Architectural Practice
Genesis
Damage
Architectural Theory
Construction Technique
Documentary Evidence
Dome

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title = "The ‘false vaults’ in the architecture of Sicily",
abstract = "Between the end of the 17th century and the first decades of the 18th, Sicily was struck byseveral violent earthquakes. The total and partial collapse of monumentalbuildings produced a global debate involving various aspects of construction practice. Oneof the central topics of discussion was the construction of domes and large vaultedstructures. Some architects studied the possibility of using so-called ‘false vaults’, a kindof lightweight structure created with a wooden frame, reed mats, and plaster. The techniquewas probably known by the 16th century and was used in a few major monuments, such as thedome of the Palermo Cathedral, in the mid-17th century. It was only after the Earthquake of1726 in Palermo that large vaulted structures were extensively built with thistechnique in important churches. One of the most significant examples, documented bytechnical drawings as well as archival records, is the church of Santa Chiara in Noto, designedby the architect Rosario Gagliardi. The use of ‘false vaults’ as a preventative measure againstseismic damage is well documented in many other monuments. The direct analysis of builtstructures and new documentary evidence allows for the verification of recent theories. Thepaper focus on the construction techniques used in a few selected cases and takes intoconsideration the influences of widely available texts on architectural theory and practice aswell as local building experiences on the genesis of the building process.",
author = "Bares, {Maria Mercedes} and Rosario Nobile",
year = "2015",
language = "English",
volume = "30.1",
pages = "53--70",
journal = "Construction History",
issn = "0267-7768",
publisher = "Chartered Institute of Building",

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TY - JOUR

T1 - The ‘false vaults’ in the architecture of Sicily

AU - Bares, Maria Mercedes

AU - Nobile, Rosario

PY - 2015

Y1 - 2015

N2 - Between the end of the 17th century and the first decades of the 18th, Sicily was struck byseveral violent earthquakes. The total and partial collapse of monumentalbuildings produced a global debate involving various aspects of construction practice. Oneof the central topics of discussion was the construction of domes and large vaultedstructures. Some architects studied the possibility of using so-called ‘false vaults’, a kindof lightweight structure created with a wooden frame, reed mats, and plaster. The techniquewas probably known by the 16th century and was used in a few major monuments, such as thedome of the Palermo Cathedral, in the mid-17th century. It was only after the Earthquake of1726 in Palermo that large vaulted structures were extensively built with thistechnique in important churches. One of the most significant examples, documented bytechnical drawings as well as archival records, is the church of Santa Chiara in Noto, designedby the architect Rosario Gagliardi. The use of ‘false vaults’ as a preventative measure againstseismic damage is well documented in many other monuments. The direct analysis of builtstructures and new documentary evidence allows for the verification of recent theories. Thepaper focus on the construction techniques used in a few selected cases and takes intoconsideration the influences of widely available texts on architectural theory and practice aswell as local building experiences on the genesis of the building process.

AB - Between the end of the 17th century and the first decades of the 18th, Sicily was struck byseveral violent earthquakes. The total and partial collapse of monumentalbuildings produced a global debate involving various aspects of construction practice. Oneof the central topics of discussion was the construction of domes and large vaultedstructures. Some architects studied the possibility of using so-called ‘false vaults’, a kindof lightweight structure created with a wooden frame, reed mats, and plaster. The techniquewas probably known by the 16th century and was used in a few major monuments, such as thedome of the Palermo Cathedral, in the mid-17th century. It was only after the Earthquake of1726 in Palermo that large vaulted structures were extensively built with thistechnique in important churches. One of the most significant examples, documented bytechnical drawings as well as archival records, is the church of Santa Chiara in Noto, designedby the architect Rosario Gagliardi. The use of ‘false vaults’ as a preventative measure againstseismic damage is well documented in many other monuments. The direct analysis of builtstructures and new documentary evidence allows for the verification of recent theories. Thepaper focus on the construction techniques used in a few selected cases and takes intoconsideration the influences of widely available texts on architectural theory and practice aswell as local building experiences on the genesis of the building process.

UR - http://hdl.handle.net/10447/153543

M3 - Article

VL - 30.1

SP - 53

EP - 70

JO - Construction History

JF - Construction History

SN - 0267-7768

ER -