Construction 14: Cross vault support

06/02/12 | ۩ |

From the beginning, the construction of cross vaults was one of the main problems to solve in the building of the Domus. Compared to round arches and barrel vaults it presents a further level of difficulty.
While I used a simple paper roll as a support for the barrel vaults, the structure where I need to place the bricks for the cross vault it's quite more elaborated.


The cross vault is formed by the intersection of two barrel vaults, and it's built over provisional wooden structures called centering. In my case I could join two paper rolls cutting them in slices to obtain the wanted shape. But... besides the difficulty of the operation, I need a support strong enough to be used at least 11 times (that's the number of vaults in the basement).
So I start to conceive an alternate method.

The working hypothesis are the use of silicon (which needs first the construction of a mould) or carving a negative shape of the vault in some workable material...
This second choice is perhaps slower than the other, but more direct.
After some unsatisfying cutting test on foam (cold and hot-working), I triy with chalk. I have a big bag of chalk left on my terrace by the masons and I decide to take advantage of it.


I make a chalk square brick using a wooden mould, then I carve it with a cutter (holding it as I was peeling potatoes) until I reach the wanted shape.

That's it, here is my centering. Now I can start placing bricks to build my first cross vault!



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