Tile Vaults: a Tradition with Future

BTU Cottbus - Senftenberg (Germany)

11-15 Junio 2018

Organization: Dr Paula Fuentes, Chair for Construction History and Structural Preservation

Guest lecturers: Dr Ignacio Javier Gil Crespo, Carlos Martín and Dr David Wendland.

The aim of the workshop was to get familiar with the traditional technique of tile vaulting, which was born and specially employed in the Mediterranean area.

In the workshop participated 8 students of the Master of Architecture and one student of Civil Engineering. Besides the practical work, some lectures provided the theoretical frame to understand the importance of this technique, the history of tile vaults and the structural behaviour of arches and vaults.

Participants started with the construction of three small arches with different forms (1 m span 5 cm thick) in order to get familiar with materials and technique. The following days two big vaults were built without centering: a semi-spherical dome and a gothic vault with three pointed arches. They had 2 meters of diameter and were supported by six pillars, without mortar nor foundation. The vaults were completed in three days and a half by the students. They were able to organize themselves in all the activities of the work: carrying the material, preparation of the mortar, taking decisions for the building problems, setting the tiles with the order dictated by the bonding and even cleaning the work area each afternoon.


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