Functionalism and caprice in stonecutting. The case of the Nativity Chapel in Burgos Cathedral
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AuthorAlonso Rodríguez, Miguel Ángel; López Mozo, Ana; Palacios Gonzalo, José Carlos; Rabasa Díaz, Enrique; Calvo López, José; [et al.]
Knowledge AreaExpresión Gráfica Arquitectónica
SponsorsThis paper is part of a research project funded by the Ministry of Science and Innovation of Spain (BIA 2006-13649).
PublisherBrandenburgische Technische Universität Cottbus. Faculty of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Urban Planning
Bibliographic CitationALONSO RODRÍGUEZ, Miguel Ángel, LÓPEZ MOZO, Ana, PALACIOS GONZALO, José Carlos, RABASA DÍAZ, Enrique, CALVO LÓPEZ, José, SANJURJO ÁLVAREZ, Alberto. Functionalism and caprice in stonecutting. The case of the Nativity Chapel in Burgos Cathedral. En: International Congress on Construction History (3º: 2009: Cottbus, Germany). Proceedings of the Third International Congress on Construction History, 20-24 May 2009, Cottbus, Germany. Cottbus: Brandenburgische Technische Universität. Faculty of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Urban Planning. 2009. 31-38 p. ISBN 978-3-936033-31-1
Capilla de la Natividad de la Catedrál de Burgos
Nativity Chapel in Burgos Cathedral
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 ...
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