Tag Archives: vaults

Symposium: Modelling Medieval Vaults

cropped-Pixel-bw-1The use of digital surveying and analysis techniques, such as laser scanning, photogrammetry, 3D reconstructions or reverse engineering offers the opportunity to re-examine historic architecture.

Digital analysis has enabled new research into design processes, construction methods, structural engineering, building archaeology and relationships between buildings. Recent research on Continental European and Central American architecture has established the significance of these techniques, however, as yet there has been little exploitation of digital technologies in the context of medieval architecture in the British Isles. This is despite international recognition of the importance of thirteenth and fourteenth-century English vault design to the history of Gothic architecture in an international context.

The aims of the present symposium are to present new research in this emerging field to establish appropriate methodologies using digital tools and identify significant questions for future research in the area.

The symposium will be relevant to anyone with an interest in:

  • Medieval architecture
  • Three-dimensional digital methodologies
  • Digital techniques used for the analysis of historic works of architecture


09:00   Welcome (tea and coffee)

09:30   Introduction
09:40   Keynote: Norbert Nussbaum, Thomas Bauer and Jörg Lauterbach: Benedikt Ried’s Deconstructive Vaults in Prague Castle – Design, Construction and Meaning
10:30   Tea and coffee break

Digital processes 1
10:50   Carmen Pérez de los Ríos: Researching tas-de-charge Design and Construction Methods: an Approach Supported by Digital Techniques
11:10   Danilo Di Mascio: Morphological and geometric complexities of built heritage
11:30   Marco Carpiceci and Fabio Colonnese: Medieval vaults for Renaissance architecture. Modelling the vaults on sheet 10 of Leonardo da Vinci’s Code B
11:50   Enrique Rabasa-Díaz, Ana López-Mozo, Miguel Ángel Alonso-Rodríguez and Rafael Martín-Talaverano: Technical knowledge transfer in European Late Gothic: multi-star vaults
12:10   Questions
12:20   Keynote: Santiago Huerta: Cracks and distortions in masonry arches and vaults
13:10 Lunch break (lunch provided)

New questions in 14th-century vaulting
13:50   Nick Webb: Wells cathedral choir aisle vaults: digital documentation and analysis
14:05   Alex Buchanan: Wells cathedral choir aisle vaults: issues of interpretion
14:20   Andrew Budge: Design changes: the macro- and micro-architectural vaults of fourteenth-century collegiate churches
14:40   Sophie Dentzer-Niklasson: From Two to Three Dimensions: Drawings and Design Processes in Medieval Vaulting
15:00   Questions
15:10   Tea and coffee break

Digital processes 2
15:30   Rosana Guerra and Paula Fuentes: The construction of the vaults of Mallorca cathedral
15:50   Weiyi Pei and Lui Tam: Comparison of Digital Documentation Methodologies of Neo-gothic Vaulting System: A Case Study of Dominican Church, Ghent, Belgium
16:10   Balázs Szőke, Balázs Szakonyi and Gergely Buzás: Role of the “Horizontal ribs” in late gothic vault constructions in Hungary.
16:30   Questions
16:40   Keynote: Benjamin Ibarra-Sevilla Mixtec Stonecutting Artistry; Documentation and Visualization of Late Gothic Ribbed Vaults in Southern Mexico

Book here.

Conference: Robert Willis: Science, Technology and Architecture in the 19th Century

report16-17 September 2016

This two-day conference explores the extraordinary life and work of the Cambridge academic Robert Willis (1800-1875). Willis was a famous Cambridge polymath. A Fellow of Gonville and Caius, he was Jacksonian Professor of Natural and Experimental Philosophy and taught engineering in the early years of that subject.

His research and teaching was spread over a wide range of interests. He was in particular a pioneer of the study of Medieval vaulting and did extensive research on Gothic Cathedrals and Medieval architectural nomenclature. In Cambridge, he is best known as the originator and author of The Architectural History of the University and Colleges of Cambridge which was put together from his papers and additional material by his nephew John Willis

This conference, set in the beautiful surroundings of Willis’s own college, will look at the whole range of his interests, with lectures on the first day and tours of the buildings he discussed on the

Further details and booking:

From the local to the global

James Campbell Willis and Cambridge architecture
Alex Buchanan Willis and his networks of knowledge

Willis and science

Jacques Heymann The teaching of engineering in Cambridge
Ben Marsden Willis and science
Robin Maconie Willis, speech, sound and music

Willis and archaeology

Chris Elliott Willis and Egyptian architecture
Martin Biddle Willis and the Holy Sepulchre Church in Jerusalem
Toby Huitson Circular stairs, Norman galleries and polychrome stonemasonry: Willis’s work on Worcester Cathedral
Tim Tatton‐Brown Willis and Chichester Cathedral

Willis, vaults and drawing

Santiago Huerta Willis and gothic vault studies before 1850
Antonio Becchi Drawing proofs: The tangible worlds of Robert Willis and Oliver Byrne
Javier Girón Willis and the constructive drawing in architecture
Nick Webb Digital re‐presentation of Willis’s work on medieval vaults

Willis’s influence

David Wendland Robert Willis and Germany: Gothic Revival and research on mediaeval architecture
Simone Talenti Willis’s influence in 19th-century Italy
Martin Bressani Willis and Viollet‐le‐Duc
Adrian Forty Willis and the Modernists

The programme will conclude with a celebratory dinner at Caius College. Day 2 will comprise a walking tour of sites with Willis interest in Cambridge and a coach trip to Ely.

CFP: Modelling Medieval Vaults symposium at the University of Liverpool in London, 14 July 2016.

Chester-capture1-672x372Call for Papers: Modelling Medieval Vaults symposium
University of Liverpool in London, Finsbury Square,  July 14, 2016.
Deadline: 30 April 2016

The use of digital surveying and analysis techniques, such as laser scanning, photogrammetry, 3D reconstructions or reverse engineering offers the opportunity to re-examine historic works of architecture. In the context of medieval vaults, this has enabled new research into three-dimensional design processes, construction methods, structural engineering, building archaeology and relationships between buildings.

Recent research on Continental European and Central American vaults has established the significance of these techniques, however, as yet there has been little exploitation of digital technologies in the context of medieval vaults in the British Isles. This is despite international recognition of the importance of thirteenth and fourteenth-century English vault design to the history of Gothic architecture in an international context.

The aims of the present symposium are to present new research in this emerging field in order to establish appropriate methodologies using digital tools and identify significant questions for future research in the area.

Conference organisers: Dr Alex Buchanan and Dr Nick Webb.

Abstracts (500 words maximum) are invited for 20 minute papers on the following subjects:

  • Representation and analysis of medieval vaults using digital technologies.
  • Investigations of British tierceron, lierne or fan vaults.
  • Digital techniques used for the analysis of historic works of architecture applicable to gothic vaulted buildings.

Submission: Abstracts (500 words maximum) to be addressed to Nick Webb by email.

Our intention is that proceedings will be published in a suitable journal.

Symposium cost: £40 for listeners and £25 for students/speakers.