Upside-down ship’s kel-shaped vaults as a contemporary design criteria. The case of the Palace of the Dukes of Braganza in Guimarães (Portugal)

Risultato della ricerca: Conference contribution


A contemporary worldwide trend is exposing the structural elements of abuilding to create an articulate and complex architecture whose lines of force giverobustness, stability and, at the same time, a sort of lightness and frivolity to theentire construction. However, the combination between the visual conception ofarchitecture and the principles of statics is not new to the world of construction.Exposed structure as a design approach may be observed in many historicalbuildings, either public, religious or private, and in several cultural and geographicalareas where exposed structures communicate power, solidity, and rigour along withan instance of economy and lightness.In this work, we will focus on the wooden upside-down ship’s keel -shapedvaults with particular reference to the European area. Such a structure may beconsidered real constructive typology. Generally speaking, keel-shaped roofs,union of structural paradigms and architectural instances, spread during the MiddleAge and combined deep structural studies with formal architectural valences tocreate shocking inner spaces where architectural partitions and the entire buildingempirical static are called into question. Many churches or civic palaces show sucha wooden vaults that, combined with other structural elements, in sight or hidden,generate a high and articulate roof that, despite its huge dimensions, looks lighterand entangling in its ascent upwards.We hardly believe that such a structure, even in a simplified form, may be usednowadays to solve in a brilliant and unusual way the structural supports of articulateroofs of large buildings of monumental valence, as churches or representative halls.In such a vision, we will analyse the Palace of the Dukes of Braganza in Guimarãeswhich is a Portuguese National Palace completely restored, and partially rebuilt,between 1937-1959. In such a reconstruction, large wooden ship’s keel -shapedvaults were built to support the roofs of the banqueting hall, honour hall andchapel. Those structures will be contextualized into the main typology and we willtry to explain, and demonstrate, why about 60 years ago a contemporary architectdesigned a so complex construction which is a reminiscence of the old times.Furthermore, by means of some structural modelling, we will illustrate a realpossible use of such a structure using various modern materials and in respect ofcurrent standards and regulations, in a contemporary architectural design.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteCurrent trends and methodologies on Architectural Design
Numero di pagine13
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2015


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