Functionalism and Caprice in Stonecutting. The Case of the Nativity Chapel in Burgos Cathedral

Alonso Rodríguez, Miguel Angel and López Mozo, Ana and Palacios Gonzalo, Jose Carlos and Rabasa Díaz, Enrique and Calvo López, José and Sanjurjo Álvarez, Alberto (2009). Functionalism and Caprice in Stonecutting. The Case of the Nativity Chapel in Burgos Cathedral. In: "Third International Congress on Construction History", 20/05/2009 - 24/05/2009, Cottbus, Alemania. ISBN 978-3-936033-31-1 (v.1).

Description

Title: Functionalism and Caprice in Stonecutting. The Case of the Nativity Chapel in Burgos Cathedral
Author/s:
  • Alonso Rodríguez, Miguel Angel
  • López Mozo, Ana
  • Palacios Gonzalo, Jose Carlos
  • Rabasa Díaz, Enrique
  • Calvo López, José
  • Sanjurjo Álvarez, Alberto
Item Type: Presentation at Congress or Conference (Article)
Event Title: Third International Congress on Construction History
Event Dates: 20/05/2009 - 24/05/2009
Event Location: Cottbus, Alemania
Title of Book: Proceedings of the Third International Congress on Construction History
Date: 2009
ISBN: 978-3-936033-31-1 (v.1)
Volume: 1
Subjects:
Freetext Keywords: Stereotomy, Oval vaults
Faculty: E.T.S. Arquitectura (UPM)
Department: Ideación Gráfica Arquitectónica
Creative Commons Licenses: Recognition - No derivative works - Non commercial

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Abstract

Starting from the inaugural text of Philibert de L'Orme, stereotomic treatises and manuscripts are subject to the opposing forces of reason and fancy. The Nativity Chapel in Burgos Cathedral provides an outstanding case study on this subject. It was built in 1571-1582 by Martín de Bérriz and Martín de la Haya, using an oval vault resting on trumpet squinches to span a rectangular bay. Bed joints and rib axes are not planar curves, as usual in oval vaults. This warping is not capricious; we shall argue that it is the outcome of a systematic tracing method. As a result of this process, the slope of the bed joints increases slightly in the first courses, but stays fairly constant after the third course; this solution prevents the upper courses from slipping. Thus, in the Nativity Chapel of Burgos Cathedral, the constraints of masonry construction fostered a singular solution verging on capriccio. It is also worthwhile to remark that the warping of the joints is not easily appreciable to the eye and that the tracing process does not seem to start from a previous conception of the resulting form. All this suggests that we should be quite careful when talking about the whimsical character of Late Gothic and Early Renaissance; in some occasions, apparent caprice is the offspring of practical thinking.

More information

Item ID: 11017
DC Identifier: http://oa.upm.es/11017/
OAI Identifier: oai:oa.upm.es:11017
Official URL: http://www.ch2009.de/home/index.html
Deposited by: Catedrático de Univ. Enrique Rabasa Díaz
Deposited on: 11 Jun 2012 07:42
Last Modified: 20 Apr 2016 19:12
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