SHAPE AND CONSTRUCTION OF BRICK VAULTS. CRITERIA, METHODS AND TOOLS FOR A POSSIBLE CATALOGUE
Keywords: Built heritage, cloister vaults, laser scanning, photogrammetry, thermographic investigations
Abstract. The use of cloister vaults in the construction of noble buildings, as covering elements for square or rectangular rooms, is widespread and well-known. The geometric continuity at the intrados makes generally possible the execution all over the span of frescoes, stucco and decorations. The construction of brick vaults, from the late Middle Age, was sped up by limiting the centering to the wooden planks arches that were instrumental in the profile determination. Nowadays, the availability of several procedures, phases and tools for carrying out a survey allows to draw reliable assumptions about the construction methods and the execution time. It is mandatory to determine the properties of the binders, the shape and dimensions of the bricks, and to carry out a comparison between the geometry of the intrados surface and the evidences emerging at the extrados. The support of the laser scanner technique allows to accurately identify the surface profile and thickness. All these indications, in turn, are useful, in view of an interpretation of the structural behavior, to identify weaknesses, and to highlight contributing factors of instability (if any).
The paper focuses on a well-documented case, the Magio Grasselli palace in Cremona in which the cloister vaults of two main rooms show different construction systems, although they were built almost at the same time. The thermographic recordings and laser-scanner surveys highlight the various arrangements used for the cloister vaults.